Top trio: Alison Cleaver (right) pictured at the District 69 Toastmasters international speech competition in Caloundra with Jock Elliot who came third, and the winner, Pushpa Vida.
Top trio: Alison Cleaver (right) pictured at the District 69 Toastmasters international speech competition in Caloundra with Jock Elliot who came third, and the winner, Pushpa Vida.

Toastmaster the talk of the town

A GOONELLABAH woman has perfected the art of speaking to become one of the best Toastmaster speakers in the country.

Distance education teacher Alison Cleaver joined the public speaking development group, Toastmasters, in Lismore nine years ago in the hope of forming friendships in a town that was new to her after moving up from Sydney.

Recently, she finished second in the District 69 Toastmasters International Speech Competition in Caloundra, which covers Queensland, Northern NSW and the Northern Territory.

The 54-year-old used her appreciation of beauty to secure her place.

“I was feeling a little down one day and was pulled out of it by the appreciation of something that was lovely,” she said.

“Toastmasters has given me opportunities to feel more confident about myself.

“It has helped me in my confidence at work as it is different from working in front of children to working in front of adults.”

Mrs Cleaver previously competed at club level and the Northern Rivers area level of the Toastmasters competition, before progressing to the district competition, where she just missed out on a place to compete in the international competition in America.

Entrants were judged on the structure of the message they were conveying and the delivery.

Although the judges did not critique the actual content of the speeches, they were allowed to mark down for poor grammar or for a message that was of ‘bad taste.’

However, this achievement was not the only thing she gained from joining Toastmasters.

Mrs Cleaver also found her husband, Garry Euston, who she married four years ago.

“I was a guest speaker and he was member of the Ballina Toastmasters,” she said. “We enjoyed chatting and both took on leadership roles in the club, so that created an opportunity for us to get to know each other.”



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