Today @ Colorado State has been replaced by SOURCE. This site exists as an archive of Today @ Colorado State stories between January 1, 2009 and September 8, 2014.


Toastmasters Club meeting Jan. 6

December 16, 2009
By Melinda Swenson

Whether you'd like to learn how to converse more easily at a dinner party, join a book club, or present the results of your research at an international conference, Toastmasters can help. The Colorado State University Toastmasters meets weekly on Wednesday nights at 5:15 p.m. The next meeting is Wednesday, Jan. 6.

Colorado State Univerity Toastmasters Club member Keely Sudhoff giving a speech at a club meeting on Dec. 16.

Wednesday, Jan. 6, 5:15 p.m. 
Engineering, Room B 101

Toastmasters: The talisman of good public speaking

Toastmasters wants people to know that they don’t make toasters or small broiler ovens. Instead, they turn everyday Janes and Joes like you and me into accomplished public speakers and inspire us to be leaders.

Bob Sturtevant, vice president of Education for the CSU Toastmasters Club, says he remembers a graduate student in the club who was petrified at the prospect of speaking publicly.

“She would stand up but then go completely still and beet-red. After a few months in Toastmasters, her public speaking became very smooth and engaging. She was making gestures and speaking without as much as a stammer.

"After she received her graduate degree from CSU, she went to California to get her Ph.D. She is just one of many success stories that have come out of the club.”

Pick a topic, any topic

CSU’s club follows a proven path established by Toastmasters International for helping people hone their ability to speak about everything from the serious to the humorous. “We meet on a weekly basis and give one of two types of speeches,” Sturtevant says.

There’s the prepared-and-practiced speech and the impromptu speech. "The latter is called ‘Table Topics.’ The Table Topics Master gets up and says, ‘Here’s your topic… you have a minute and a half to speak about…’ The topic could be ‘What bothers you about Fort Collins drivers,’ or ‘What’s your favorite car and why.’

"It’s all about organizing your thoughts quickly into an outline in your head and presenting it in an interesting way,” Sturtevant says.

“Everyone plays a role in our meetings, and that gives us the opportunity to practice a variety of skills. Someone times the speech; someone evaluates it (focusing on what was done right and what could be improved); and someone else sets up the room and controls the meeting.”

Helping everyone succeed

If you have the idea that Toastmasters is an organization that carefully guards information they share with their members, then you’re mistaken. Toastmasters is about helping everyone who wants to speak in public find a measure of confidence and success in doing so.

Sturtevant shares some quick tips on making a good speech: 

  • Focus on the message
  • Make eye contact
  • Use voice inflection
  • Gesture
  • Use humor
  • Relate to your audience

“Failing is fine,” Sturtevant says. “Success is based on being flexible and trying new things. Most people don’t try something new and get it right the first time!

“Anyone who wants to join the CSU club is welcome,” Sturtevant says. “We have staff, students, and community members from all walks of life.

“There was a man from the Fort Collins community who came to our meetings because he wanted to start a business from scratch. He knew he needed to be able to communicate his vision to others. After practicing his skills with Toastmasters, he found that he had the confidence and ability to engage people and make things happen. He’s now a very successful entrepreneur.” 

Looking for support to become a better speaker?

If you’re interested in joining CSU Toastmasters, you’re more than welcome to come to the next meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 6, at 5:15 p.m.
“You’ll find a lot of support there,” Sturtevant says. “We’ve even had club members accompany a student to his or her thesis defense or dissertation—just to provide the element of moral support we all need.”

Questions? Contact Bob Sturtevant at

Contact: Bob Sturtevant
Phone: (970) 491-7598