Feeling nervous before giving a prepared speech is natural and can be beneficial. To create a great performance and deliver you’ll need to get those butterflies under control. Here are some tips to help:
The organisation grew out of a single club, Smedley Chapter One Club, which would become the first Toastmasters club. It was founded by Ralph C. Smedley on October 22, 1924, so it is now over 90 years old. Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience.
Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organisation that operates clubs worldwide for the purpose of helping members improve their communication, public speaking and leadership skills. It teaches public speaking and leadership skills through its worldwide network of clubs.
Pick a topic you are interested in. Research the topic so that you know more about it than you can or want to include in your prepared speech. Use of humour, personal stories and conversational language to tell your story (deliver your speech). This approach will help you to remember your speech.
Practice. Practice. Practice!
There really is no substitute for rehearsing out loud with all equipment you plan on using. I personally use and recommend the use of a video camera to record myself and review my performance (in private of course!).
Amend your speech and performance as needed. It’s amazing how you’ll be able to control those, err, arm, filler words;
Practice pausing at relevant points in your speech and PLEASE remember to breathe. When practicing use a timer and allow time for the unexpected. Speeches are usually allowed a minimum, mid and maximum time, like 5 to 7 minutes. For a 5 to 7 minute speech I aim for just over 6 minutes. The lights usually at the back of the room (Green Amber & Red on 5, 6 & 7 minutes really help)
Greet some of the audience members as they arrive. It’s easier to speak to a group of friends than to strangers.
4. Know the room
Arrive early, walk around the speaking area and practice using the microphone if there is one and any visual aids like flip charts, props and computer presentations.
Begin by addressing the audience. It buys you time and calms your nerves. Pause, smile and count to three before saying anything. (“One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand. Pause. Begin.) Transform nervous energy into enthusiasm.
Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and confident. Visualise the audience clapping – it will boost your confidence.
Audiences want you to be interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining. They’re rooting for you.
For any nervousness or problem – the audience probably never noticed it.
Focus your attention away from your own anxieties and concentrate on your message and your audience.
Experience builds confidence, which is the key to effective speaking. A Toastmasters club can provide the experience you need in a safe and friendly environment.