10 Reasons why YOU need to join a Toastmasters club
You are handed on a plate a basic speech plan
The new members work towards achieving a basic qualification in public speaking, known as the Competent Communicator, or CC.
When a new member joins the club, they are given the Competent Communicator Manual, which provides them with the guidelines they need to achieve the CC qualification. The Manual is divided into ten stages, and each Toastmaster needs to deliver ten speeches – one for each stage. How long they take to deliver all ten speeches is always up to them.
- The first speech is the icebreaker speech. The aim of this speech is to introduce the new member to the club. Their mentor should discuss with them what they are going to say and help them to keep the subsections to no more than three parts. It is also a good way to begin to control their nerves in front of a group of people.
- In the second speech they are asked to organise the speech so that it begins, has a middle and leads to a conclusion.
- Next speech is helped if they select a topic that is close to their heart, and to speak on the subject for five minutes or so. Again, the focus of this speech is very much on controlling their nerves.
- The next four speeches are more technical. They concentrate in turn on organising the speech into a logical structure.
- Using body language effectively.
- Using vocal variety by raising and lowering the tone and rate of the voice, and selecting the right words to maximise their impact on the audience.
- The later speeches focus more on the art of speech craft – bringing all the technical skills together. This one is one researching the topic.
- Using props and flip-charts, to enhance the presentation not distract from it.
- Designing a persuasive speech, and finally,
- Delivering a speech that inspires the audience.
This programme can seem daunting, but it is actually quite a lot of fun. It helps to remember is that they are among friends, everybody in the room will at one point during their speech craft done all of the following, forgot their lines, miss an entire section of the speech, frozen, and dried up completely.
In the safe environment of the club nobody will belittle or laugh at them. As they go from speech to speech, their style will improve. The really effective tool that is used in a club is the evaluation of the speech. They will be told about things that are effective in the speaking style, and they will be alerted to unconscious distractions. They will become more confident about their speaking ability and less afraid. It is wonderful at the end of the manual to find that they are speaking coherently, succinctly and confidently in front of a large audience.