Greek philosopher Plato had said, ‘Rhetoric is the art of ruling the minds of men’ and the Jorhat Toastmasters Club in eastern Assam does just that.
The Club, a unit of the Toastmasters International based at Englewood, USA, has been chartered recently to help members learn the art of public speaking, develop leadership skills and master the finesse of rhetoric.
Toastmasters International, which has 16400 branches in 141 countries, is a non profit educational organization established in 1924 which introduces one to the art of public speaking with the aim of making one better communicators and leaders.
President of the Jorhat Toastmasters Club Kritika Gaggar said that the Jorhat Toastmasters Club was chartered on May 3 and its last meeting on the theme was on Independence Day.
“We are 15 odd members including the president and six executive committee members here. The topic under discussion in our eighth meeting was related to Independence Day,” Kritika said.
“The youths discussed about national heroes, the freedom struggle, our rich culture and heritage and without which no country can progress,” she said.
She further said that peers from the Gauhati and the Kolkata Toastmasters Clubs usually attended the meetings in Jorhat, giving their valuable feedback and guidance to those who delivered a presentation on any given topic.
In a meeting there is a person who keeps the time, another who counts the pauses long and short, notes down whether the speaker has any block or handicap and another monitors the grammar and vocabulary.
The senior does the evaluation and gives the feedback.
“This friendly feedback is the USP of the Toastmasters Club,” Kritika further informed.
“The speaker learns time management and also parliamentary procedure along with the art of speaking clearly and coherently to attract the attention of the listener,” Kritika said.
There are prepared speeches as well as impromptu ones on assigned topics, and as the speaker progresses he or she is motivated to improve further.
The meetings are usually held on the second and fourth Sundays in a month at Jora Palace in Jorhat.
In Upper Assam, Toastmasters Clubs exist in Dibrugarh, Tinsukia and Digboi.
In the Northeast, Meghalaya also has a few Toastmasters Clubs.