Hospitality Toastmasters helps UNLV students with public speaking skills

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UNLV’s Hospitality Toastmasters president speaks to a perspective member at the UNLV Hospitality Involvement Fair. Photo courtesy of @hospitalitytoastmasters on Instagram.

The UNLV Hospitality Toastmasters club hopes to welcome new members into their growing community this semester. The club, which meets every Wednesday at 7 p.m., focuses on strengthening the communication skills of their members through speeches and other public speaking opportunities.   

“Toastmasters is just a great way to be able to have confidence when you do public speaking,” Hospitality Toastmasters Vice President of Public Relations Valerie Nava said. “Not only do you have the chance to express yourself and speak to students, but you also receive feedback towards the end to help strengthen your communication skills.” 

Established at the end 2018, the Hospitality Toastmasters club is a part of a worldwide network of Toastmasters clubs. The Toastmasters organization is an international non-profit that aims to help people develop public speaking, communication and leadership skills using a learn-by-doing model.  

“You gotta be able to speak no matter what field you’re in,” Hospitality Toastmasters Secretary Jerrell Parrish said. “That’s our biggest selling point to people, just communication, making sure you can understand how to be an effective listener and being able to publicly speak.”

During each Toastmasters meeting, members give speeches and take on different member roles. Some of the roles include Toastmaster of the day, Topicsmaster, Timekeeper, Grammarian & Ah-Counter, Quote/Word Master, Humor Master, Speakers and Evaluators. 

There is no formal instructor in the meetings. Members learn from each other by participating.  

“There’s levels to the speaking,” Parrish said. “Every week we have a different topic and we usually have about two speakers speak every night if we can. There is a speaker evaluator that will give them constructive feedback. That’s good because the speaker will understand what they did right and what they could’ve done better. It’s always positive and we make sure we clap after every person speaks because it really builds that comradery, that motivation.”

The board members explained that students who are hesitant about public speaking will not be thrown into the deep end when they first join. Prospective members have the option to sit and watch a few meetings before they start participating within the club.  

“We love the people that cannot speak because that brings us the biggest joy to be able to help them and coach them through,” Parrish said. “That’s the good thing with Hospitality Toastmasters. We don’t have anybody just go directly into a speech.” 

They also stressed that the importance of being able to communicate effectively is one of the reasons more students should consider giving Toastmasters a chance. 

“Public speaking is what you do on a day-to-day life basis,” Nava said. “You’re speaking to strangers sometimes and you have to be able to express yourself without having the fear of judgment or anything like that.” 

For more information about the Hospitality Toastmasters, you can visit their Instagram @hospitalitytoastmasters or contact them by email at hospitalitytoastmasters@unlv.edu.

“I would like to see the club grow more, however ambiguity is always the biggest thing that sometimes holds people or clubs back,” Parrish said. “I think if more students knew about Hospitality Toastmasters they would join. “That’s the biggest thing for me, getting more members and people on the board so that they can see the fruits of what we’re doing here and how it can really help them in life.”

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