Story slam will prove it takes grit to speak in public |

Story slam will prove it takes grit to speak in public

The event kicks off Toastmasters’ conference

Annette Lavoie says Jon Henry had a lot of grit, especially when it came to planning the upcoming story slam.

Henry, who passed away in February when a large piece of ice hit him after falling from an Old Town roof, wasn’t afraid to think out of the box when it came to preparing for a conference hosted by the Park City Toastmasters Club.

“He made it a mission to really raise the bar and do something fun and different with this Toastmasters’ meeting,” Lavoie said about the conference for the organization’s western district, which is comprised of clubs from Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Wyoming. “He wanted to have a fun event, such as this story slam.”

Henry, founder of the Park City Toastmasters Club, came up with the story slam as a way to introduce people to the Mine Your Story three-day conference that starts Friday, May 5.

The story slam, which is free and open to the public, will be at 6:30 p.m. on Friday at O.P. Rockwell on Main Street. Anyone can sign up to participate in the slam that requires people to tell a story about “grit,” which kicks off the conference theme that recognizes Park City’s history as a mining town.

“We ask that people who want to participate prepare a five-minute story about grit in their life,” said Lavoie, who is the conference chair. “Individuals will sign up at O.P Rockwell. We won’t know till we get there who is going to be chosen, because names will be drawn randomly out of a hat.”

Three winners will be selected at the story slam. They will then be interviewed and tell their stories on KPCW’s “The Story Mine,” which airs on Sunday at 8:30 a.m.

The story slam event will also have music by Mike Rogers and a Main Street scavenger hunt. Lavoie said Friday night’s happening, along with the rest of the conference, will be dedicated to Henry.

“We took his plan and vision for the conference and did our best to make it happen,” Lavoie said. “He will be on everybody’s mind.”

Conference events will continue on Saturday and Sunday. It costs $129 to attend the three-day workshop, which is designed to help Toastmasters members tell stories in effective ways.

“It’s about how to use your story to best impact an audience, whether you’re talking at a social function, or you are speaking to a corporation or any kind of venue,” Lavoie said.

Saturday and Sunday’s events include speeches, competitions and banquets.

Lavoie said she hopes to see locals attend and learn more about giving speeches, which is a Toastmasters’ goal.

“Before I joined, I thought Toastmasters was about giving toasts at an event,” Lavoie said. “It’s really not.
It’s more of a speaking club. The point of going to Toastmasters is to learn how to speak more effectively.”

The Park City Toastmasters Club meets at 7 a.m. every Tuesday at the Summit County Library. To learn more about club or the conference’s schedule, visit

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