Kristen Hamling loves to speak. And taking the time to learn to do it well has paid off with the Whanganui woman heading off to the National Toastmasters Championship next month.

Ms Hamling is in her first year with Toastmasters, an international group which helps people improve their public speaking, and had already won the Whanganui and Manawatu competition before scooping the regional prize.

She joined Toastmasters not because she was lacking confidence but because she spoke too much.

"You join Toastmasters for lots of different reasons," Ms Hamling said. "For me I got excited and talked too much, so it's about being able to control my thoughts. I wanted to learn to be a great speaker.


"Confidence kind of gets you so far, but really effective speech is one that's full of authority and has a story to tell."

She said Toastmasters taught people to be more effective and competent communicators.

"It's on the premise that anyone can learn to be a great speaker. You learn all the tips and tricks. It's an extremely nurturing and supportive environment."

The nationals are in Rotorua on May 22 and Ms Hamling said she was going there to win.

"I would love to go and represent New Zealand at the worlds. I aimed to get this far, but you never know what you're up against. There's been some utterly, utterly extraordinary speeches," she said.

"It's as much what you say as how you deliver it, so I've been really practising my delivery."

Ms Hamling has kept the same speech as she's progressed through the competition. It's called "what do you want to be when you grow up?" and was adapted from a speech she first made to intermediate students and later made into a column in the Chronicle.

"You can change your speech, but I was on to a winner with this speech."

There are 24 members of Toastmasters in Whanganui and Ms Hamling encouraged people to join.

"If you're a bit shy or not so confident talking to people, this is a great platform to build up your confidence."

-The Whanganui branch of Toastmasters meets on the first, third and fifth Wednesday of each month at Room 1 at The Lambie Wing at Whanganui Base Hospital from 6pm. Anyone interested can contact chairman Tony Sisson on 0272 470 147, Shelly Harkness on 0274 440 086 or Kristen Hamling on 0276 817 971.