• John McGary, Woodford Sun News Editor

Toastmasters receive multiple honors

HAL McCOIG, a member of the Midway Toastmasters Club, gave what the group calls a “toast-amonial” at the group’s annual end-of-year banquet Monday night at the Versailles Brewing Company. Monday was declared “Midway Toastmasters Day” by Woodford Judge-Executive John Coyle. (Photo by John McGary)

When the Midway Toastmasters Club gathered at the Versailles Brewing Company Monday evening for their annual banquet, they had several things to celebrate.

Monday had already been declared Midway Toastmasters Day by Woodford Judge-Executive John Coyle, whose proclamation praised the club for developing leadership, communication and other skills. Another was their recent Toastmasters International Presidents

Distinguished award, which member Sheri Wood said was the only one given to clubs in the Bluegrass region. The Midway group also recently finished second among 200 Toastmasters clubs in Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and West Virginia for achieving educational goals.

Wood, a member for about four years, said her favorite thing about the club is the other members.

“I really love the people. They’re very inspirational to me. There are people from all different walks of life, and just seeing people that are facing their fears and trying to overcome learning how to speak in public – that’s one of the biggest fears that most people have in their life,” Wood said. “Every time I see somebody reach a goal, it really inspires me to try to reach my goals, too.”

Wood said the Midway Toastmasters Club currently has 20 members and has almost doubled in size since beginning in 2011. The group meets eachMonday at 6 p.m. at Midway University. The meetings last about an hour and 20 minutes, with two to three people speaking.

While Toastmasters is best known for helping people become better speakers, Wood said the organization can also help a person’s career.

The organization is touting a new online program called Pathways that offers training in four “core competencies,” including strategic leadership, management and confidence. Among 10 “specialized learning paths,” are effective coaching, motivational strategies and persuasive influence.

Wood said the Pathways program and weekly club meetings are designed to help members bring new and enhanced skills to their workplaces.

“More than anything, I’d like people to understand that Toastmasters can provide training that will benefit their careers. For instance, I heard someone complaining the other day that they keep getting passed over for leadership training in their company,” she said.

The cost to join the Midway Toastmasters Club is $56 for a six-month membership. People who’d like to join must fill out an application, and their membership is subject to a vote, but Wood said she doesn’t know of anyone who’s been turned down. Wood said the price and value of a membership in the Midway Toastmasters Club compared favorably with the $2,500-plus she used to pay to belong to a networking group.

“ … I wish I discovered this when I was much younger, because you can get all kinds of career-type training that’s going to help you. You don’t have to wait to be trained in your own office or by your own people. You can go and get these things for yourself,” she said.

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