New Toastmasters club forming in Franklin


Brittney Burns – Staff Writer

For individuals who feel uncomfortable in large crowds, or who get nervous meeting new people, a club in Franklin is being revitalized to help overcome those insecurities.

“Reaching more people in our county is imperative in spreading the word about our new club,” said Rhonda Barnes, who is acting president of the newly formed Franklin Community Toastmasters. Barnes has been working to promote the club and generate an interest in the community.

The group is holding a  kickoff party on May 16 that will include a covered dish and comments from leaders of Toastmasters District 37, the regional organization that Franklin’s club would fall under.

“We have been marketing the new club very aggressively and know that Franklin being the town that it is, has many who can and would want to benefit from the training Toastmasters gives,” said Barnes. “Franklin is growing and the business people as well as the employees can benefit. Highlands, Otto also could benefit as the closest club around is in Waynesville where the old club moved, and Asheville. Georgia has one in Gainesville also, but Western North Carolina such as Hayesville, Andrews, Murphy do not have one there.”

Toastmasters was started by YMCA employee, Ralph Smedley in the early 1900s after he saw the difficulty some people had with public speaking, conducting meetings, planning programs, and working within the community. Its membership has grown to more than 345,000 members around the world, from 15,900 clubs, in 142 countries since it officially started (

The club’s goal is to empower individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders.

“By regularly giving speeches, gaining feedback, leading teams and guiding others to achieve their goals in a supportive atmosphere, leaders emerge from the Toastmasters program,” according to Toastmasters International Website. “Every Toastmasters journey begins with a single speech. During their journey, they learn to tell their stories. They listen and answer. They plan and lead. They give feedback—and accept it. Through our community of learners, they find their path to leadership.”

The club plans to meeting regularly at The SECU Hospice House at 272 Maple St., Franklin, on the first and third Tuesday of every month from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. For more information, contact Barnes at 678-333-3622.