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Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is the fear of long words



by Jock Mackenzie

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is the fear of long words. It’s number 26 on an Internet list of the world’s greatest fears. At Number 13 is Glossophobia, the fear of public speaking. The top five on this particular list are fear of: spiders, snakes, heights, open and/or crowded spaces and, a surprise to this canine fan, dogs.

Most of us can avoid the worst fears, but it’s almost impossible to avoid communicating with others. One answer: Toastmasters International

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Sally Towers-Sybblis

Toastmasters, a non-profit educational organization, has been in the communication business since 1924. Red Deer’s Sunrise Toastmasters (Tuesday mornings at 7:00 a.m.) was founded in 1986. Kitowin Toastmasters (1st and 3rd Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. and a dinner meeting on the fourth Thursday) began even earlier – 1974. The need for communication and leadership has seen more Central Alberta clubs form; there are clubs in Innisfail, Sylvan Lake and Stettler

Who attends? Adults over eighteen. Most Toastmasters are trying to improve their ability to speak, to get their ideas out in a logical, understandable fashion. Some first come because they have an upcoming event where a speech is required:  business presentation, class, wedding, or funeral. Others attend because they know that speaking is not their strong point and have decided to do something about it. 

How long do they stay? It’s an interesting mix. Some men and women stay only as long as it takes them to improve to the point where they feel more comfortable with their communication skills. Others stay a medium term; some are “lifers.” Once in a Toastmaster club, it’s soon evident that the mutual fear of public speaking creates a bond. Toastmasters are amazingly supportive of fellow members – and a strong relationship is created. Personal experience has shown there is no better place to find encouragement, empathy and assistance. 

What happens at a meeting? Everybody has a chance to speak! An overview of a typical meeting includes two speeches from a manual of 10 general topics (an Icebreaker about yourself, getting to the point, vocal variety, research, etc.), evaluations of the speeches, a toast, a joke, table topics (members are given a topic – no time to prepare – and a two-minute time to speak), reports from the meeting’s grammarian (who notes ums, ahs and grammatical errors), the timer (who uses a green, amber and red light to keep speakers on time) and the general evaluator (who gives an overall assessment the meeting). There’s even a short coffee and treat break.  

Is Toastmasters for you? It is for over 350,000 people in 141 countries around the world. Is a degree of structure important? Two manuals, Competent Communicator and Competent Leader, provide a path through a carefully time-tested series of speeches and leadership opportunities. The basic structure is provided but there’s ample room for making all of the interactions specific and personal. Gradually being unveiled across the Toastmasters world is a new program called Pathways that promises an even more member-centred approach. 

Guests are always welcome.  Click on the individual links to get more information.

Kitowan Toastmaster, Sunrise Rotary ClubInnisfail, Sylvan Lake and Stettler.


february, 2018

wed14feb - 4aprfeb 146:00 pmapr 4TRIPLE T -Act/Dance/SingYouth 6 Create Your Own Play!6:00 pm - (april 4) 7:45 pm

thu15feb - 5aprfeb 155:30 pmapr 5Art of Friendship5:30 pm - (april 5) 7:30 pm

mon19feb9:00 am- 5:00 pmServus Family Day Fun9:00 am - 5:00 pm

mon19feb11:00 am- 4:00 pmFamily Day11:00 am - 4:00 pm

tue20feb6:00 pm- 8:00 pmCaregiver Connections6:00 pm - 8:00 pm MST CMHA Learning Annex, First Red Deer Place 4911 - 51 Street, Suite 400 Red Deer, AB T4N 6V4

wed21feb - 25All DayThe 2018 Red Deer Gem & Mineral Show(All Day)

thu22feb7:00 pm- 10:00 pmPaint Night7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

fri23feb - 25All Day2018 Central Alberta Film Festival(All Day)

sat24feb11:00 am- 2:00 pmInternational Mother Language Day Event11:00 am - 2:00 pm

sun25feb8:30 am- 3:00 pmRBC Training Ground QualifierCOULD IT BE YOU?8:30 am - 3:00 pm