Defense Masters provides tools to improve speaking and leadership skills

By Cathy Hopkins DLA Aviation Public Affairs

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One day the boss walks up to you and says he needs you to brief the corporate board … in an hour.  Are you going to get sick to your stomach or embrace the opportunity?

Glossophobia or speech anxiety is the fear of public speaking.  While the fear of public speaking dropped dramatically in Chapman University’s "Survey on American Fears" from the top 5 in 2014 to 52 in 2017, many employees still avoid public speaking whenever possible.

In fact a fear of public speaking and a desire to work on his articulation is why Abdul Deloatch, said he joined Defense Masters five years ago. Defense Masters is a local chapter of Toastmasters International and a Defense Logistics Agency Aviation command-sponsored activity. 

Deloatch is now the club’s secretary.  Club members meet monthly on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia.  Defense Masters President Amber Brister has been a member for more than three years and encourages employees to attend a monthly meeting or event to learn more about the chapter and the supportive, mentoring environment chapter members provide.

The chapter will kick off the New Year with members setting up an informational table in the Center Restaurant in Building 46, during lunchtime Jan 16 to explain what Toastmasters is all about.   

The chapter will also host guest speaker Maggie Geoghegan, Toastmasters Division C director, at their Jan. 17 meeting, which is open to members and visitors. 

Geoghegan oversees nearly 20 local clubs south of the James River including Defense Masters and has earned Advanced Leader Bronze and Advanced Communicator Silver statuses with the organization. 

“We are very excited to have Ms. Geoghegan as our guest speaker,” said Brister. “She is on track to earn the highest honor Toastmasters can award in 2019 that of Distinguished Toastmaster. She will speak about an upcoming makeup Leadership Training session for club officers and non-club members in January.

She will also introduce a special six-week speechcraft class for non –Toastmasters members that is open to the public for a $15 fee and upon completion will earn participants a speechcraft certificate.

Defense Masters’ Sergeant at Arms Mae Lew has been associated with Toastmasters for more than 20 years.  She said, “Toastmasters offers a comfortable environment to practice leadership (leading meetings) and communication skills (listening and speaking), and the cost was low to participate verses hiring a private coach/mentor.”

Anna Paz, one of the club’s newest members, agrees with Lew and Deloatch and said, “Club membership helps me build my confidence.”

According to their website, Defense Masters participants learn to:

-deliver great and memorable presentations,
-easily lead teams and conduct meetings,
-become a better listener,
-walk into any room with confidence and stage presence,
-ace any interview and
-speak, so people will listen and remember. 

The club meets on the first and third Thursdays of every month from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., currently in Bldg 32 L Bay conference room.  As a member, you would have the opportunity to work through projects to practice basic leadership skills of critical thinking, planning, organizing, facilitating and team building.

If you are interested in attending a meeting or wish more club information, visit their website or contact one of the club officers below:

President - Amber Brister
Vice President of Education - Ken McEnaney
Vice President of Public Relations - Anna Paz
Vice President of Membership - Sanjay Gupta
Secretary - Abdul Deloatch
Treasurer - Cynthia Stinchcomb
Sergeant at Arms - Mae Lew