Are you petrified of giving presentations, or do you harbour secret aspirations as a stand-up comedian? A new club is being formed in Rome to help people improve their public-speaking abilities. The toastmasters club recently had its first meeting in central Rome with about ten members, and aims to get together twice a month from September onwards. Every member speaks in the one- to two-hour sessions, with other participants evaluating the discourse on the basis of length, clarity, gesticulation, hesitation and other criteria. A final score is given so that participants can track their improvement over time.

Established in the United States in the 1920s, the organisation has chapters around the world, but in Italy it has only been present in Milan until now. Most of the participants at the first meeting were English speakers, and the organiser hopes the club will eventually work in English and Italian. Members will be asked to contribute an annual membership fee of 30-40.

For information contact Marco Lupo, tel. 349/3322095, www.toastmasters.org.

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