Sussex Toastmasters gear up for humorous speech contest

| 15 Feb 2012 | 08:38

    SPARTA — Public speaking can be quite a daunting prospect for anyone. Most people have some level of anxiety when they are faced with public speaking. Nerves, stress and stage fright are just some of the emotions that can cripple a person at the time when confidence is the key to winning over your audience. Sussex Toastmasters is holding its semi-annual Speech Contest at 7 p.m. at the Sparta United Methodist Church at 71 Sparta Ave. The two contests presented are the Humorous Speech Contest and Table Topics Contest. Five members in each category are slated to speak. “The Table Topics Contest is where members stand up and speak on an impromptu basis,” said Sussex Toastmasters President, Jackie Crosby. “The Humorous Speech contest is a speech a member has already prepared.” Participants in the Humorous Speech category have to sign wavers that state their work is original, whereas the impromptu speeches are speaking on a proposed topic. Sussex Toastmasters was chartered around four years ago and has 30-35 members. A Toastmasters Club can only be started by a member of an existing club who sponsors them. There are dues twice a year at $60 annually. “Once someone has given 10 speeches they get a certificate that can be sent to their employer,” Crosby said. “There really is a sense of accomplishment when you get something that is tangible.” Toastmasters International is a club that helps people deal with the fear and stress of public speaking. Dating back to 1924, Toastmasters has more than 260,000 worldwide from 113 countries with more than 12,500 individual clubs, many sprinkling the United States. Twice a year Toastmasters holds a series of speech contests that begin at the local level and progress through several stages until the winners compete at the World Champion of Public Speaking Contest, commencing at the yearly convention. The convention this year is being held in Las Vegas, NV at Bally’s Hotel and Casino Aug. 17 to 20. For more information about Sussex Toastmasters call 973-534-4421, or