Public Speaking 101: Find a Toastmasters Group

These local Toastmasters groups will help you put an end to the jitters when it comes to speaking in front of groups.
The Tonka Talkers gather at one of their monthly meetings in Wayzata.

It’s no secret that, for most people, public speaking is excruciating. In fact, many fear getting up in front of a group to speak more than they do of dying. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld, who made a fortune pointing out the absurdity and profundity of our everyday lives, often talked to this notion in his standup routine:

“According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

And for a lot of people, that’s just about right. So who better to turn to with your sweaty palms, palpitating heart and knocking knees than the folks who have made it their mission to put the fun, confidence and ease back into public speaking and communicating: the Toastmasters.

This group boasts more than 280,000 members worldwide who range from stay-at-home-moms and college students to executives and retirees, and they all hone their formal and extemporaneous speaking skills through feedback and critique. Lucky for us, many of their groups are close to home, and they encourage guests to drop in and see what they’re all about. So check out these three Lake Minnetonka groups that will have you up and orating in no time flat.


Tonka Talkers Toastmasters

What makes your club unique?

“Our club is the oldest in the area,” says Jim Lindsey, vice president of public relations for the Tonka Talkers Toastmasters. “We originally started in 1978 meeting in Excelsior, and later moved our club meeting place to the Wells Fargo building in Wayzata.”


What are the benefits of joining Tonka Talkers Toastmasters?

“Toastmaster meeting participants hone their speaking and leadership skills, and members evaluate one another’s presentations,” says Lindsey. “Meeting participants also give impromptu talks on assigned topics, conduct meetings and develop skills related to timekeeping, grammar and parliamentary procedure.”


Dates: Every Tuesday September–May; every other Tuesday June–August

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Place: Wells Fargo, 900 Wayzata Blvd E., Wayzata

Dues: $20 new member fee; $44 every six months

Number of members: 17

Accepting new members: Yes

Contact: Jim Lindsey, 952.451.5900




What makes your club unique?

“We have a great mix of highly experienced members and new members in our club,” says Carlsonics club president Steve Bujarski. “That makes our meetings exciting for the members who have been Toastmasters for many years, and allows the new members to learn from the experiences of others.”


What are the benefits of joining Carlsonics?

“There are so many benefits to be received through participation in Toastmasters. All of our members are interested in improving their oral communication skills,” Bujarski says. “What they don’t realize until they start actively working through the program is how much improving their communication and leadership skills will also increase their self-confidence. I think that gives people the opportunity to become something more than they thought they could be. It could be life changing.”


Dates: Every Wednesday year-round

Time: Noon

Place: 601 Tower at the Carlson Towers; 701 Carlson Parkway, Minnetonka

Dues: $26 new membership fee; $48 every six months

Number of members: 18

Accepting new members: Yes

Contact: Steve Bujarski, 763.212.2902 or 612.207.3703


Talking Meds Toastmasters Club


What makes your club unique?

“Talking Meds Toastmasters Club is really fun. Club meetings are non-intimidating, with a friendly and fun atmosphere,” says president Deb Taylor.


What are the benefits of joining Talking Meds Toastmasters Club?

“Participation in a unique and proven program for developing communication and leadership skills,” says Deb. “A positive and supportive atmosphere in a community of learners, and the opportunity to find your voice while learning to tell your story with confidence.”


Dates: Every Wednesday year-round

Time: 11:45 a.m.

Place: Stilts Building, 6700 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park

Dues: $20 new membership fee; $42 every six months

Number of members: 15

Accepting new members: Yes

Contact: Deb Taylor, 952.541.1019 x317



Find more local Toastmasters clubs