Practice produces perfect public proclamations

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- One of the top five phobias for the average American is public speaking or glossophobia. The fear is not actually of public speaking, but of doing or saying something which may cause embarrassment.

"Even the most seasoned speaker gets a little choked up and nervous at the prospect of speaking in front of a large group," said Staff Sgt. Blake Enneking, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron avionics intermediate section team leader and president of the Luke chapter of Toastmasters.

The mission of the International Toastmasters Club is to practice speaking in front of groups on a regular basis in a mutually supportive and nonjudgmental environment, according to Sergeant Enneking. "The bottom line is, just like anything, public speaking takes practice to become proficient, and that is where the Luke chapter of Toastmasters comes into play," he said.

Toastmasters was developed by a man named Ralph Smedley in 1924 in the basement of a Young Men's Christian Association in Santa Ana, Calif. It was designed for people to learn the art of public speaking and presiding over meetings, and to promote sociability and good fellowship among its members. Toastmasters took off from there and is now located in more than 90 countries with a membership of 211,000.

"Numbers like that speak volumes about the training you receive through Toastmasters," said Sergeant Enneking.

"The first handbook you receive covers basic communication," he said. "There are 10 speeches members are required to complete that cover various aspects of public speaking to include: organization, vocal variety, body language, research and more.

The speeches can be on any topic, as long as they are appropriate for the type of speech you are giving. The program is selfpaced with no pressure to give a speech until you are ready to do so. It is a supportive environment for members to learn and not be judged."

Meetings are 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursdays in the third floor conference room of Building 1150. For more information, e-mail blake.enneking@luke.af.mil.