Park City Toastmasters moves into new home at the hospital |

Park City Toastmasters moves into new home at the hospital

The Park City chapter of Toastmasters International is going to the hospital.

It won’t be for an overnight stay, though — the local public speaking workshop’s permanent home is now the Blair Education Center at the Park City Hospital, where its organizers aim to help attendees become better communicators with its weekly sessions.

Gregg Davison, vice president of membership at the Park City chapter, said that the hospital’s classroom-like space provides a number of advantages in setting and multimedia technology over the workshop’s former home in the basement of the Keller Williams building in Prospector.

“It’s got very high ceilings, it’s a state-of-the-art audio room, it has great vocal characteristics and it has communication technology embedded in the room,” he said.

Toastmasters is a multifaceted international nonprofit with the goal of educating members on how to become better public speakers and communicators. It counts about 358,000 members spread across 16,800 clubs in 143 countries, and traces its history back to a series of meetings held by an Illinois YMCA administrator in 1905.

One facet of the group is a program called Pathways, which offers coursework on the subject. Another is its chapters’ weekly meetings — the Park City group meets from 7 to 8:15 a.m. every Tuesday.

Toastmasters’ sessions consist of three distinct periods — a series of short, prepared speeches, followed by an extemporaneous question and answer session. The meetings close out with a presented evaluation of the first series of speeches.

Davison, who is a Park City resident, part-time ski instructor and engineering employee at the Grand Summit Hotel, has been part of the chapter for nearly a year.

Since starting, Davison said, he’s become a more effective communicator in more ways than just in public speaking. He said the organization’s goal isn’t just to mold members into the toast of the town — they could also be the toast of the church service, boardroom meeting or even just family dinner.

“It creates awareness in you as a speaker and communicator,” he said.

Part of the how Davison got there is what he called getting the, uh, “yuck” out.

Davison said clearing out distracting nervous habits and tics make all the difference when communicating — think Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s infamous, harried sip of water, or “South Park” principal Mr. Mackey’s “mmkay.”

“One of the things people, and myself, in particular, do, is we walk and talk and it’s very comfortable for us,” Davison said. “You can’t deliver impact while you’re walking and talking.”

Though anyone can sit in on a session as a non-participating guest for free, a six-month Toastmasters membership costs $16 per month. More than 20 people attend each meeting, Davison said. The group puts on other community events as well, like fundraisers and roasts for outgoing officers.

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