Scripps Teasers Toastmasters plan open house

Members of the Scripps Teasers Toastmasters Club practice their public speaking skills in a friendly environment. (courtesy of Scripps Ranch Teasers Toastmasters)

Scripps Teasers Toastmasters plan open house

By Terry L. Wilson

For 38 years the Scripps Teasers Toastmasters Club has been curing stage fright one speaker at
a time by turning novice orators into polished professionals.

Toastmasters is a national organization that was established in 1924 with a current membership that exceeds 357,000 in more than 16,600 clubs in 143 countries.

“Since its inception, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators and leaders,” said Koshi Matsusita, former Scripps Teasers Toastmasters president. “Our Scripps Ranch chapter has been active since 1982, and in 2018 we earned the President’s Distinguished Club Award in recognition of our achievements.”

“I joined Toastmasters because I was uncomfortable speaking in front of groups. I have a very strong Hungarian accent that overpowers my English. The coaching and advice I get from speaking in front of our group has helped me very much,” said Zita Felfoldi, the Scripps Ranch club’s VP of public relations. “But mainly, I joined to meet people; it’s a very social environment. I moved to Scripps Ranch two years ago and I didn’t know anyone, and was looking for a way to connect with the community. I found the Toastmasters Club and it has been a wonderful way to not only improve my public speaking skills, but it has improved my ability to communicate in English.”

Scripps Toastmasters Club is akin to a gym where you go to learn public speaking. There is a specific sequence of instruction that prompts members on how to use their voice, gestures, timing and body language – all part of the tools needed to become an effective speaker.

Janet Mebane has been with Scripps Teasers Toastmasters Club since the late 1990s when a promotion took her out of the office and put her behind a podium.

“I joined because I was working for Hewlett Packard as an engineer and was promoted into a management position and had to do presentations at work. I wasn’t used to doing that, so I wanted to develop better public speaking skills for the work environment,” Mebane said. “I don’t particularly like being in the spotlight or the center of attention, and Toastmasters helped with that, including dealing with difficult questions and how to think on your feet. That’s especially important in a work environment because sometimes the audience will go off-track and you learn how to bring things back to point, and to stay on a specific time limit.”

In today’s workplace, more and more meetings are using Zoom. Toastmasters will give members the tools to become camera friendly in this new cyber environment.

So, Toastmasters may have the cure for stage-fright for those individuals who get a deer-in-the-headlights look in their eyes whenever asked to give a speech, lecture or business presentation.

The Scripps Ranch Teasers Toastmasters Club will soon hold a live online event in which those interested may learn more about the organization.

“Our Open House is on Thursday, March 11, from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.,” Felfoldi said. “Guests are invited to join the meeting from 6:50 a.m. to connect with other participants. Our Toastmasters website is:”

The ID for the Zoom meeting is: 6012388221 (password: 221442). For further information, email