OTTUMWA — Not many organizations can say they have been in existence for 65 years.
To celebrate not crumbling to the hands of Father Time, Ottumwa Toastmasters #663 is having an open house Monday at the Indian Hills Community College Advanced Technology Center. The open house begins at 7 p.m. and will last until about 8:30 p.m.
The organization prides itself on showing guests how to become better communicators and leaders, which can help strengthen self-confidence. Members help to provide a very supportive learning environment for those who are new to speaking in front of large groups. According to Ben Trachsel, vice president of education for the Ottumwa Toastmasters, they do everything they can to help guests succeed.
“We try to create a situation at the open houses where different people get to speak about something they know about,” Trachsel said.
Members will be going through impromptu sessions, showing new guests how to better use communication skills while in front of a group in an improvisational setting. They will also be going over table topics with guests who want to get involved.
“It shouldn’t be boring at all for anyone,” Trachsel said.
Each person will write down something they have done that they are proud of, like running a marathon or receiving an award, and the group will ask questions and guess whose topic is whose. Talking about topics that each guest is proud of is a way to help them get more comfortable speaking, and it eases them into being in front of the group by giving them a topic they already know a lot about. That way, once the group identifies whose topic is whose, the guests will be more than capable of going more in depth about their topic.
“By that time, they are comfortable talking about it already, and they can be more successful,” Trachsel said.