(T-G Photo by Tracy Simmons)
It was a meeting of Toastmasters of Bedford County, one of the 13,000 Toastmasters International clubs in 116 countries around the world.
"The friendships you develop here are unbelievable," said Charlie Williams, who serves as president of the local chapter. "You are growing yourself while being part of a group improving in professional development."
For nearly a century, Toastmasters International has been helping leaders from all walks of life develop the skills they need to become effective and inspired leaders.
First and foremost, leaders are good communicators. Not everyone is born with the ability, sometimes it must be learned.
The local chapter brings together like-minded individuals twice a month to develop communication and leadership skills, in turn fostering self-confidence and personal growth.
A Toastmaster leads the meeting, while members present short prepared speeches and are evaluated by their peers.
Each is moving through a series of achievement levels established by the organization indicating growing proficiency in public speaking.
Toastmasters supporters say it is the most efficient, enjoyable and affordable way to gain great communication skills. Members can gain the skill and confidence to express themselves in any situation.
"I never felt comfortable praying publicly until I joined Toastmasters," said Sylvia Pinson, Director of Shelbyville Parks and Recreation, a long-time member of the organization.
Dues are $30 every six months. A one-time initiation fee of $20 is also required.
The club meets at noon each first and third Wednesday in the community room at Peoples Bank, 1122 N. Main St. It begins promptly at noon and ends at 1 p.m.
For more information, contact Williams at 615-406-4308.