About Brinker Toastmasters


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.

What People Hear

Denise Graveline opens with an interesting point.

Famed political campaign message maven Frank Luntz says “It’s not what you say that counts. It’s what people hear.” That came to mind recently when I saw that linguists think Donald Trump may be saying “big league” rather than the “bigly” that people keep hearing. But now historian David Gissen has applied that principle to one of the great speeches, Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, with interesting results.

We hold our meetings in a small closed space so we don’t have the problems Lincoln had speaking to a large crowd outdoors, but you may someday find yourself speaking to a larger audience in an open space. Take a look at  to get an idea what happens to you speech in a less controlled situation and think about what you can do to make sure your audience hears what you really said.

StoryCorps provides something to think about

Through November, StoryCorps and Upworthy will release a series of real-life stories told by everyday Americans that speak to our best selves. Stories that amplify love over hate and empathy over fear. Stories that build bridges of understanding between people and help us recognize our shared humanity.

If the election has you wondering #WhoWeAre and where we’re going, it might be time to check out the remarkable videos at StoryCorps and then share the stories and your reaction to them, and maybe use them as the foundation for a Table Topics session. I think it’s worth pointing out that Starbucks has made some pretty good videos of its own available at its Upstanders site where it tells the story “ordinary people doing extraordinary things to create positive change in their communities.”

That makes me wonder how Toastmasters can contribute to the effort.

A speaker’s power

Ursula Le Guin was born this day. This citation reminds me that one of the first presentations I heard as a Toastmaster was “Bringing out the Star in You and Others” by Mary Ellen Drummond.  Mary Ellen said

Our words have power. They can lift people up or they can tear people down.

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