Tips To Help Make The Most Of Your Next Presentation

July and August often are the perfect time for businesses and organizations around Johnston and Wake counties to schedule annual meetings and training sessions. Chances are that you may be planning to attend such an event at a local venue around the Triangle area in the near future. You might even be called on to speak before an audience of your peers.

Meeting at The Clayton Center, NC.

The Clayton Center hosts numerous civic and business meetings throughout the year.

If the thought of making a presentation to a roomful of people makes you nervous, take note! There are plenty of resources available to help ease your concerns. In fact, Toastmasters International features a number of how-to articles on its website to help you hone your public speaking skills. The Toastmasters organization is committed to helping its members become more effective communicators and leaders.

According to Toastmasters, preparing for a speech is one of the best ways to ensure you give an effective presentation. Try these tips to help you properly prepare:

  • Organize your speech in a logical sequence: opening, main points, summary.
  • Practice and rehearse a speech frequently prior to delivering it. Ask friends to be your audience, or practice in front of a mirror. Be sure to use a timer to help you pace your speech.
  • Become familiar with the stage or the setting where the speech will take place. Get a sense of the size of the stage, where any steps or obstacles might be, and where to enter and exit.
  • Choose comfortable clothes to wear, but always maintain a professional appearance.
  • Visual aids should fit a speech, whether they are funny, serious or technical. The main goal of visual aids is to help the audience understand what is being said, and reinforce the points of a speech in unique and interesting ways.

The Toastmasters website also offers quick and easy tips for how to prepare and present an award, use visual aids and props, incorporate body language into your presentations, and more.

Toastmasters of North Carolina District 37 will host its annual training meeting this Saturday at The Clayton Center. If you are coordinating an upcoming business event and need a place to host the meeting, contact Martha Vandergriff at

Town Square Concert Series Heats Up

The 2015 Clayton Town Square Concert Series heats up this Thursday, June 18, with the country sound of Southern Grace. Local vocalist, 12-year old Abby Stephens, will open the concert at 6:00Southern_GraceBandShot315X200 PM.  

Bring lawn chairs and blankets for this free public concert, but please leave your coolers at home!  Additional concert details are available here.


Clayton Youth Theater Begins Summer Rehearsals

The cast of Clayton Youth Theater’s summer 2015 musical Thoroughly Modern Millie began daytime rehearsals today for the late July show. The students began their day working on choreography for the opening number.theclaytoncentercytrehearse2

CYT will present Millie on July 24-25, 30-31, & August 1 at 7:30 PM. The show, which is set in 1922 New York City, tells the story of Millie Dillmount, a young woman who has just moved to the city in search of a new life for herself. Filled with frisky flappers, dashing leading men, and a dragon-lady of a villainess, Thoroughly Modern Millie will have all of Johnston County dancing the Charleston.

Tickets for the show go on sale June 24 at 10 AM online and through The Clayton Center Box Office. All seats for this show are reserved. Tickets are $10 for Adults and $5 for Students 18 & under. (Ticket price does not include taxes or fees.)

Don’t Let Weather Dampen Your Plans

Bring The Outdoors IN FoFresh flowers add to the outdoor feel of your indoor summer party.r Summer Fun

If you would like to host a summer party but are afraid that hot, humid weather and the lingering chance of afternoon and evening thunderstorms might put a damper on the fun, consider bringing the outdoors “in” by hosting the event at a local venue. With these simple tips, an indoor party can be just as much fun for your family and friends as a backyard bash.

In keeping with the theme, decorations will be an important part of the planning. Your decorations should showcase the summer party theme. Think floral motif, and use brightly colored decorative pots and table settings, even items associated with gardening – mini fences, butterflies and dragonflies. And don’t forget the fresh flowers.

Much of the focus of your event will be the food. The perfect summer snacks highlight fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables. For the main course, think BBQ – hotdogs and burgers, pulled pork, and plenty of salads. You can set up a buffet or use summery table settings that your guests can take to the serving tables.

As for beverages, citrusy punch, fresh lemonade and ice tea make wonderful non-alcoholic options. You may also opt to serve your favorite refreshing cocktails.

A few things you won’t have to worry about if you book your summer party – or any other type of party – at an indoor venue such as The Clayton Center is set up and clean up. As part of your event rental agreement, our staff will work with you to design a party layout and have all of your tables and chairs in place before you arrive. We’ll even clean up and break down tables at the end of your event, leaving you more time to enjoy a relaxing time with your guests.

Click here for information about renting event space at The Clayton Center.

Palladian Series Sponsors Take The Stage


Clayton Cultural Arts Foundation President Lyn Austin chats with Mayor Jody McLeod and long-time Secretary’s Club sponsors Bob and Mary Ahlert.

The Clayton Center’s Palladian Series could not go on without the generous support of our business and individual partners. The Board of Directors of the Clayton Cultural Arts Foundation and the staff of The Clayton Center showed their appreciation for our current 2014-15 Palladian Series  partners with a Sponsor Appreciation Luncheon yesterday on the auditorium stage.

A wonderful lunch was prepared by Oak City Catering, and enjoyed by the group. Sponsors were also treated to a sneak peek of the upcoming 2015-16 Palladian Series (shhh — more about that soon…..).

2014-15 Sponsors

Agri Supply, Grifols, Novo Nordisk; Caterpillar, Inc., Clayton Steakhouse, First Citizens Bank, Johnston County Visitor’s Bureau, Morning Glory Inn; The Clayton News-Star, Comfort Suites Clayton, Four Oaks Bank; Bob & Mary Ahlert, Annie V’s Florist, Jesse & Lyn Austin, Brick & Mortar Events, Shayne C. & Novie Beth Gad, Mike & Pam Marvel, Northeast Foods, Parrish, Pulleyn & Young Wealth Management, Laverne & Kathy Pope, The Tina Barletta Team at HomeTowne Realty, Clayton East



Millstock Art & Music Festival Is Saturday, June 6


A popular Clayton event returns this Saturday, June 6. The Millstock Art & Music Festival will be held in and around Horne Square at the corner of Main and Lombard Streets in downtown Clayton.

The festival will attract vendors and attendees from around the Triangle, with artists and shoppers alike hailing from all over Johnston County as well as from Raleigh, other parts of Wake County and beyond.

The summer arts festival, which celebrates its 15th year in 2015, is sponsored by Clayton Visual Arts, Inc. The event will be held rain or shine and runs from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Millstock will host nearly 50 different artists, displaying their art and conducting demonstrations showcasing candle making, pottery, wood and jewelry making. The event also will feature musical performances throughout the day on the Square and at The Flipside restaurant on Lombard Street. “Chalk It Up,” a free sidewalk-chalk-drawing contest, is a popular activity, and the Woman’s Club of Clayton will offer a free children’s tent called “Pint-Sized Picassos” where youngsters can create their own paintings.

More details about Millstock are available from the Town of Clayton and Clayton Visual Arts websites.

Your Wedding Day Has Arrived!

Plan Ahead So You Can Enjoy Your Special Day

You have spent the better part of a year or more planning a summer 2015 wedding. Now that the big day is almost here, you will want to be sure that everything goes as close to “exactly-as-planned” as possible. The following are a few reminders Clayton Center Wedding Aug 18 A.J. Dunlap Photography 13of last-minute things to consider. Having a plan in place to deal with these details will allow you to enjoy your day as much as your guests will.

The bride and groom will begin the day early, and you will each need to go over the following details. Is everyone’s clothing in place and ready? Are the flowers for boutonnieres and bouquets in place? Did someone in the wedding party (the best man, the maid or matron of honor) remember the rings? Is transportation arranged and ready to go? If the ceremony and reception are in different locations, does everyone have directions?

Many couples find that having a designated person, even if he or she is not a “wedding planner,” is a good idea to handle any last minute decisions, emergencies and/or contingencies that may crop up once the day begins. It’s a good idea for this point person to know who the primary contact is for the church or chapel, reception venue, florist, caterer and photographer/videographer.

Couples should pick someone they trust, and give them clear directions on how to resolve any conflicts. This might include having access to some cash or credit cards in case last minute, un-contracted or unexpected expenses pop up. The bride and groom will have extra peace of mind knowing that someone’s handling things, as they focus on having a fun and memorable wedding.

You also should consider how to end your day – your reception will not go on forever! You will want to be sure that your designated person or event planner has clear directions on how and when to bring the event to the end. You may want to have information available for rides for people who might have had too much to drink. You also want to have a ride at the ready to get bride and groom home safely. And don’t forget the gifts. Someone will need to make sure that the gift box/gift table is cleared, secured and ready to go home with the happy couple.

Click here for information about renting event space at The Clayton Center.