Toastmasters not just for speeches

Lakin Adams


Toastmasters International, one of the many clubs at Missouri Southern, strives to instill life-long skills in its members. 

Working to improve the public speaking abilities of its members, Toastmasters goes beyond teaching people how to talk.

“Toastmasters is not just speaking, it’s listening. So if you practice with people who have accents, you’re prepared for that situation in life after school. 

“You can understand them,”  Jeff Meredith said, president of the Joplin chapter of Toastmasters.  

Meredith joined Toastmasters in September 2010 and became president in May. 

He recommends students to join to get better communication skills and gain confidence saying simply, “We want everyone to succeed.” 

The MSSU club has been active at for four years. Director of International English Program Kimberly Kester is its newest faculty adviser. 

The club prepares the students by issuing a topic every week that two to three students will speak on. Students who are not speaking will take on different responsibilities that include the toastmaster, who directs the meeting, a grammarian, who corrects grammatical errors, an evaluator and finally, an “ah”counter. 

Even though Kester directs IEP, she said the club is open to anyone on campus. 

“I would hope younger people simply join,” says Meredith, “It’s much more than giving a speech in class and receiving a grade from your teacher, you’re getting direct feedback.”

Toastmasters helps those IEP students improve their English speaking skills, and non-IEP students get more comfortable in their own skin. “I just want them to have the experience and practice,” said Kester. 

“I think my favorite part is that the members get to interact with people from all over, even America, and get to practice skills learned in class,” said Kester.