FINDING the right words was not a problem for two Bathurst Toastmasters members at a recent competition.
Sheila Riordan finished third in the humorous speech contest and Miao Li was runner-up in the evaluation contest and third in the international speech contest at the Western Division NSW Toastmasters Competition.
Ms Riordan and Ms Li won their way to the Western Division level after winning at the club level and their area level (featuring Dubbo, Orange, Bathurst and Lithgow).
Six areas then took part in the Western Division contest.
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Ms Riordan's humorous speech covered her adventures in rushing water in Sydney's west.
"Ten years or so I got a gift certificate for whitewater rafting down at Penrith," she said.
"And the rafting was fine, but at the end, they wanted to tip the raft over and see what happened and I didn't fancy it.
"So I said I would swim to a nearby beach and then walk from there to the main beach. And the actual speech was about my trials and tribulations once I got into the water."
Ms Riordan joined Toastmasters on the urging of the company she was working for at the time.
"Our CEO said everybody in the company had to go to Toastmasters so we could deal with customers," she said.
"Even though a lot of us didn't deal with customers, at least we would know how if we ever met one.
"I thought I would give it a bash. And then I found the sheer pleasure of making people laugh."
Ms Li, the president of the Bathurst club, is a lecturer with Charles Sturt University Engineering who has been in Bathurst since late 2015.
"I joined the club as soon as I got here," she said. "I was a member previously on the Gold Coast.
"But I have always had a passion for public speaking."
Ms Li said Toastmasters had helped her improve her English and had helped her write and teach her students how to present.
Bathurst Toastmasters meets on the first and third Monday of each month at Bathurst Panthers at 7pm.
"Members come from all walks of life, with numerous members having English as their second language," vice-president, membership, Brad McWilliams said.
Toastmasters focuses on impromptu speaking, conducting meetings, personal review and leadership development, he said.
Bathurst Toastmasters also offers a speechcraft session to community groups and businesses.
Those who want more information can contact Ms Li on 0411 381 037 or Mr McWilliams on 0439 857 957.
Visit toastmasters.org\find or find Bathurst Toastmasters Club on Facebook.