Wednesday 13 December 2017

Speaking highly of Toastmasters

David Tucker

ISABEL Barros is the new face of the Toastmasters in Wexford.

'I wish I had known about Toastmasters when I first came to Ireland,' said Isabel, revealing that even making a phone call was something she dreaded when she first landed in this country from her native Portugal.

'I wasn't very confident in my English,' she said.

Not that you would know it now.

Isabel is articulate, engaging and passionate about Toastmasters which she believes can do a lot to reverse some of the less desirable aspects of social media which has led to many people forgetting the skills of face-to-face dialogue, preferring to do their talking digitally.

'Toastmasters helps with self confidence, to develop skills you need to communicate and to give presentations,' she said.

A qualified architect, Isabel moved to Ireland from Lisbon some years ago, working on a project in the Algarve for Irish shareholders.

After working for an architects' practice in Galway for a number of years, she joined Stephen Carr Architects in Wexford only to fall victim to the recession and was made redundant in 2008.

Picking herself after that blow, in 2010 Isabel began her own practice, 'isabel barros architects', which she runs from her home in Kilrane. There are 34 members of the Toastmasters in Wexford, which draws in New Ross.

Enniscorthy and Gorey have their own clubs. Toastmasters' meetings include a warm greeting for aspirant members and a series of brief talks, each from a different person on a variety of chosen topics. Pointers are given on body language and presentation. Feedback is important because it helps people achieve personal goals which can help them in their business and social lives and there's even a little poetry.

'Toastmasters provides a number of benefits that will help both business and personal growth, as well as leadership skills' she said, 'it's not just about public speaking, it's a lot more than that and have so many benefits that anybody can take from them.'

'Toastmasters provides a very good environment, you can get so much from it and go at your own pace, and you can also have a laugh,' she said.

Isabel is married to her draughtsman husband Paolo and has two children, Oscar and Nelson. If you are interested in going along to a meeting, Wexford Toastmasters can be found on facebook at

Wexford People

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