Corona del Mar's Toastmasters Group Aim To Perfect the Art of Public Speaking
It's 7 a.m. in the back room of Coco's in Corona del Mar, and the crowd is all ears, waiting for the speeches to begin at the regular meeting of the Harborlites Toastmasters club.
"It's daunting, it's scary — but don't get scared," President Andy Pais tells the group, which includes some visitors as well as longtime members. "Toastmasters gets you pumped. It's not just public speaking, but leadership, and organization."
The group is part of the international Toastmasters organization, which began in a YMCA in Santa Ana in 1924. Today, the groups have 260,000 members in about 12,500 clubs in 113 countries, according to Toastmasters International's website.
The Corona del Mar group meets for 90 minutes over breakfast every Thursday, following a schedule that includes impromptu speeches by randomly selected members, along with prepared speeches and then evaluations that cover everything from grammar, body language and timing. About two dozen people are full-time members.