Toastmasters Club begins Tuesday

DALLAS — Dallas resident Ed Dressel knows many people dread public speaking.

It’s something people have to do, not something they look forward to. Dressel used to be one of those people.

“I remember I got nauseated and physically sick in college when I had to give a speech,” he said.

But Dressel has also seen the power that public speaking can bring.

Share a toast

What: Toastmasters Club.

Where: Dallas Church, 450 SE Washington St., Dallas.

When: Tuesdays from 6 to 7 p.m.

Cost: Club dues are $50 for six months/$100 for 12 months. Visitors are welcome to attend meetings for free to decide if the club is right for them.

For more information: Ed Dressel, 503-269-0032 or; or Brent Smith, 503-586-8971 or RunningBrent@gmai....

That’s why he, along with four others, are opening a local Toastmasters Club, beginning Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Dallas Church, 450 SE Washington St., Dallas.

Toastmasters is more than 100 years old. Its club mission is to provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.

What people can accomplish with those new skills never ceases to amaze, Dressel said.

“There was one lady who moved to Seattle,” Dressel said. “She went up, did a quick speech, and cried after she was done. She’s since become a top salesperson for a military company. Toastmasters helped her develop that confidence.”

Meetings will generally include a table topic, when individuals will speak on a subject for two minutes, and an evaluation period.

“Let’s say you give a speech,” Dressel said. “A little more than halfway through the meeting, there’s an evaluation of your speech. Notice how I didn’t say I’m evaluating you. I’m evaluating the speech, which is very different. I don’t need to slap you across your face. I need to appreciate what values you did bring to the table and present some suggestions in a way you can hear it. If you do better, I feel better because I want you to succeed.”

There are a number of topics club members can focus on, from storytelling to learning how to interview better. Those programs can take time, but no matter how deep you want to dive in, you may be surprised about how you’ll change over time.

“We did a youth leadership program,” Dressel said. “There were these two girls who sat in the front row and were pouting. No teenager wants to be a part of a high school speech class. Four weeks into the class, they’re bouncing into the room. I asked one of them what they thought of the class now? She said, ‘I never saw myself as a leader before. Now I think I can enjoy myself being a leader.’ It still puts tears in my eyes. Her world used to be small, but once her confidence increased, her world grew up.”

In addition to personalized programs, there are also competitions that Toastmasters can compete in.

The Toastmasters will meet weekly on Tuesdays. Meetings will last one hour. Membership dues are about $50 for six months and $100 for 12 months, Dressel said, but potential members are welcome to attend a few meetings with no pressure to see if this club is for them.

“When we don’t want to give speeches, we can limit ourselves,” Dressel said. “When we have the confidence to speak publicly, that confidence will play out in other areas of our lives.”

For more information: Ed Dressel, 503-269-0032 or; or Brent Smith, 503-586-8971 or

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