Look for lots of laughs at the best of the best of area speakers at the Area 60 Toastmasters International Speech & Evaluation Contest - Humorous Speaking event.
The event will be held Thursday, Sept. 20, from 7 to 9 p.m. and is open to the public. It is a local competition from clubs from North Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Bonita Springs, known as Area 60.
It will be hosted by Electric Toasters Club 5701 at Lee County Electric Cooperative Headquarters, and feature winners from the individual clubs which performed the most humorous and informative speeches.
Electric Toasters Toastmasters Lindy Smith and Aaron Warner practicing humor prevention and evaluation. ANDREA GALABINSKI
Aaron Warner, treasurer of Electric Toasters, has been part of the competition for the last 25 years.
"I've competed several times and won several times," he said.
He will be delivering the speech he won at their club level and, for "strategic reasons," it's still a secret.
"The rules are you need to make them laugh at least every 20 seconds, You can't do one-liners, but still need to get that laugh. And you need to tell a story."
Each speech will be five to seven minutes, then a two to three minute evaluation will follow so the presentations will go fast.
"Guests walk away with a belly laugh, a great time, a unique experience and the possibility of joining a group that would help them enhance their leadership and communications skills."
They are an international club, he noted. "You go on from this competition to tougher competitions the higher up you go."
Lindy Smith has been in Toastmasters for eight years in different clubs. You may also know her from Walk With Lindy; she's a popular local Nordic walking instructor and is now the vice president of public relations for the Electric Toasters.
She will be an evaluator that night, something she believes is part of the leadership component that toastmaster clubs offer members.
"Being a toastmaster has two tracks, communications and leadership," she said. "The communications for me is easier than the leadership, and this impromptu judging will be through three different evaluators, who may see things differently."
A business leader in the community, she said being a part of the group has brought her new and valuable skills, and hones ones she already has.
"I do presentations, in classes and in gated communities, and for the county. I recently had a large one for the county on health and wellness using (walking) poles."
"All are welcome, there is no cost and snacks will be provided," she added regarding the event.
It is a welcoming, relaxed group, and Smith said she loves the diversity of members.
"LCEC is a wonderful host for our meetings. People bring their lunch the second and fourth Wednesday of each month."
It is a mixed group of local business leaders and community members, LCEC employees, and non-LCEC employees called "travelers."
Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs.
Founded in October 1924, the organization currently has more than 280,000 members in 13,500 clubs in 116 countries. Each week, Toastmasters helps more than a quarter million people of every ethnicity, education and profession build their competence in communication so they can gain the confidence to lead others.
For information about local Toastmasters clubs, visit toastmasters.org, email email@example.com or call Smith at 738-9084. You can also follow Toastmasters International on Twitter @Toastmasters.
LCEC headquarters are at 4980 Bayline Dr. in North Fort Myers.