About Brinker Toastmasters

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Brinker Toastmasters is a member of Toastmasters International, the world’s largest nonprofit educational organization dedicated to helping men and women become more effective listeners, leaders, and speakers. We have been active in Vienna, Virginia, since 1998. Please use the links on this page to learn more about us and local Toastmasters organizations.

We meet at Navy Federal Credit Union, 820 Follin Lane, in Vienna, VA on the second and fourth Saturday of every month. (For exact directions to our meeting room see We’re Moving Again.) Our meetings begin at 9:30 am and end around 11:00 am. Guests are always welcome.

Take a look at this video to see how Toastmasters works; then use the form below to contact us to ask for more information about our club.

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An updated guide to attending conferences

You can make good use of this guide if you’re headed to the District 29 conference (or any other conference for that matter). I wish that last tip (Follow up in a memorable way) also stressed the importance of sharing and acting on what you take away from the conference. Not everyone in the club will be able to attend.

A little off-topic, perhaps

I don’t claim to attach the label consistent to mayself. I’ve given a few respectable speeches, and I’ve unleashed more than a few that never should have made it past my desktop. In these pages you’re just as likely to find posts about digital literacy as posts about unplugging. At first I thought digital literacy was the more important, and I was extremely skeptical of the need to unplug (I didn’t even like to admit that it was possible). But there’s more and more evidence that supports the claim that unplugging is essential and that boredom is a good thing.

Why not take a few minutes to listen to this segment from last week’s Science Friday. After you do, consider how a state of boredom might help you change your speech preparation and speech rehearsal time for the better and how you might make room in your life to let your mind wander.


I forgot. If you want to see and hear Manoush Zomorodi in a more formal setting—

Great Thanksgiving Listen

It’s just turned October, but here’s a reminder that a great way to put your speaking and listening skills to work is to take part in the Great Thanksgiving Listen.

Words

Today’s Writer’s Almanac notes that it’s the day William the Conqueror arrived in England on the way to the Battle of Hastings on 1066. Why pause for such old news? Because it helped English become such a rich language—

The British back then were speaking a combination of Saxon and Old Norse. The Normans spoke French. Over time, the languages blended, and as a result English became a language incredibly rich in synonyms. Because the French speakers were aristocrats, the French words often became the fancy words for things. The Normans gave us “mansion”; the Saxons gave us “house.” The Normans gave us “beef”; the Saxons gave us, “cow.”

The English language has gone on accepting additions to its vocabulary ever since, and it now contains more than a million words, making it one of the most diverse languages on Earth. Writers have been arguing for hundreds of years about whether this is a good thing.

The critic Cyril Connolly wrote, “The English language is like a broad river … being polluted by a string of refuse-barges tipping out their muck.” But Walt Whitman said, “The English language is the accretion and growth of every dialect, race, and range of time, and is both the free and compacted composition of all.” And the poet Derek Walcott said, “The English language is nobody’s special property. It is the property of the imagination: it is the property of the language itself.”

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