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'Give a speech? I'd rather die!' - Anonymous student

by Amy Gowans, Polyglot Toastmasters at HPU

Most people would rather die than give a speech. According to a survey reported in The Book of Lists, fear of public speaking outranked fear of death by a two-to-one margin!

Given this astonishing fact, it is amazing that Toastmasters International—a group that helps people become better public speakers, has been able to attract more than 190,000 members in approximately 70 different countries around the world.

Polyglot Toastmasters at HPU is one of 9,300 very prestigious Toastmasters clubs that meet on a regular basis do death-defying acts of public speaking. Members practice giving prepared speeches as well as impromptu talks on assigned topics. Then they evaluate each other’s oral presentations.

Native and non-native English speakers are welcome, and they support each other in their quest to enhance their communication skills. Jasmine Hwang is a good example. An international student at HPU, she says that Toastmasters is very challenging for her, but she persists with it because of the great rewards it offers: “When I speak English, I feel I am struggling at every moment.” Despite this, she explains, and despite the fact that Toastmasters is “difficult, and often embarrassing,” it is essential because it helps us confront and overcome the small, but very limiting insecurities that we all must deal with. And it does so in a fun and friendly atmosphere.

Linda Lingle, the current governor of Hawai‘i, is a former Toastmaster. She says that Toastmasters is the least expensive personal improvement class you can go to, because it does build confidence.”

The effectiveness of toastmaster’s simple learning formula is evidenced by thousands of corporations and organizations that sponsor in-house Toastmasters clubs, including the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as well as a variety of community organizations, prisons, universities, hospitals, military bases and churches.

To learn more about Toastmasters, visit our district website:, or stop by one of our Polyglot Toastmasters meetings here at HPU, every Wednesday from 3 to 4 p.m. in the conference room at the International center.

Everyone who has the courage to face the world’s number-one-rated fear is welcome to join in.




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