Taking The First Step
For many, public speaking is a challenging and daunting task. The large foreign stage, the piercing gaze of the audience, the lack of faith in yourself makes the stairs leading up to stage seem like the escalator to hell. But you have come to Toastmasters, at least the Toastmasters homepage to change that about yourself. Take a look at the steps below to see what you can do?
What to do...
- Attend meetings regularly - Although it seems like any other promotional pitch, coming to Toastmasters already improves your public speaking skills. Every meeting you attend you will learn something new. Inspiring life stories, detailed evaluations and even a chance to speak to other Toastmasters to learn the tips and tricks that makes them such confident speakers.
- Speak in Table Topics - A short impromptu speech might be one of the last things you want to see on this list but it is an extremely effective tool for learning. It is the ultimate first test. It is also level challenge ground, the only thing that matters in skill and experience. No amount of preparation can easily get you through.
- Remember who is the Master of the Speech, YOU! - You are the master of the speech. You are the knowledge bringer, the guiding light to the ignorant darkness. Only you know what's the speech is about. It doesn't matter if others think they know the knowledge, they have to listen to you. BE CONFIDENT!
- Slow down - a slow and steady presentation takes up time and allow you to present your ideas clearly, so don't forget to try out this trick
- Remember that people want to hear you talk - Remember that wherever you are, you’ve been asked to be there. Whoever is there, wants you to be there. Act like it! You didn’t force anyone to come (and even if you did, act like they want to see you anyways). They want you to be there or they wouldn’t have asked you to come.
- Ask for a mentor, an experienced Toastmaster to help you with meeting roles and speeches.
- Study Project 1 in Competent Communication and the evaluation guide at the end of the project.
- Use stories, examples and anecdotes to craft a speech.
- Don't overwhelm your audience with too much information.
- Practice speaking. Practice often.
- Begin and end every speech strongly.
Last Words: A Quote, a Speech, and an Insane Idea
"Fail Faster. Perhaps it seems like a strange thing to say but remember only in failure do you learn something. Successes are hollow victories. It only makes people feel good for a short period of time and makes them complacent. Only in failure do you learn and only from learning do you improve. Toastmasters is an excellent place to begin. Non Judgemental fellow members, lots of other beginner speakers, highly experienced speakers and evaluators, and best of all lack of pass or fail grades. It is the perfect environment to make mistakes and learn.
So remember, fail faster and learn from your mistakes."