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What is Toastmasters?
Toastmasters.... Toastmasters....What is Toastmasters?
Is it a bunch of guys in stuffed shirts & suits standing around and pontificating about people. Is it a secret society where everyone looks furtively from side to side before giving the secret handshake? Is it a cooking class where everyone brings in their breadmaker and makes the latest recipe and then toasts it to see how it tastes? Or is it a bunch of guys drinking in a bar?. - "Here's to Joe, what a schmoe, so grab your beer, let's give a cheer -- to Joe".
Toastmasters is an international, not-for-profit organization designed to help people become more confident in public speaking.
Why would anyone want to go to Toastmasters? What do you do there? What kind of things do you learn? Do you have to talk all the time? Why would I go? I'm afraid to go there - what if someone asks me to get up and speak? I can't do that - what would I say?
The most common reason given for joining Toastmasters is to conquer shyness, stage fright or fear of public speaking. Some members have said they couldn't enter a room without worrying about talking to people.
There are many courses designed to help people develop their speaking skills. Most of which cost hundreds or thousands of dollars and may require you to travel long distances to the training location. Toastmasters cost is less than $100. per year and training takes place in a supportive atmosphere at local club meetings.
People progress at their own pace through a professionally prepared program. There are manuals which offer a step-by-step approach to speech organization and presentation, covering topics such as: Speaking With Sincerity, Organizing Your Speech, Vocal Variety, Working With Words and Using Props to Add Impact.
Did you know that success in your occupation is directly related to how well you can speak? Research shows that people who can express themselves effectively advance further and faster in their careers than those who have difficulty speaking. Toastmasters provides the tools you can use to improve your performance in a variety of situations.
Club meetings include opportunities to practice spontaneous thinking and speaking with an activity known as Table Topics. It is fun and participants are often very creative in their responses to their topic. But Toastmasters is not just about speaking. It is also about listening.
At the end of each meeting the person who is appointed Quiz Master quizzes the group about things that have been said during the meeting. As the "Ah" counter, you will listen for filler words such as um, and, er, or lengthy pauses during a speech. The Evaluator listens carefully for strengths and weaknesses of the speeches or the meeting. Listening is a large part of Toastmasters.
Observing also plays a part in Toastmasters. If you are not the person speaking, you have the opportunity to observe how a speech is given, how props might be used, or the effective use of gestures. You can observe the audience reaction to the speaker and the connection between them. All these observations will help you when it is time for you to give your first speech.
Toastmasters membership offers:
* Unlimited opportunities for personal and occupational advancement based on improved abilities and expanded experience.
* Experience in leadership development through training and club involvement.
* Increased confidence, the ability to organize thoughts logically and present self-assuredly,
* The opportunity to develop a better understanding of human relations.
* Opportunity to assist others to develop their communication and leadership abilities as you develop your own
* The chance to share your Toastmasters experience by telling others about the program and inviting them to join.
Over the past few years I heard a lot about Toastmasters. I went to the website to check it out and contacted the local club. I decided that it was something I needed to do. Recognizing that to learn is to risk, I joined and started right away on my first speech -my Icebreaker. My goal was to achieve my CTM - Competent Toastmaster within the year and I did my final speech in June 2003. Although I had experience presenting in workshops, giving a speech was a frightening task for me.
I was able to make it through with the support and encouragement of my mentor and the other members of the Pembroke Club. They listened as I spoke and made suggestions on how to improve, not only what I was saying, but how I was saying it. I gained confidence with each speech. Recognizing how much I have benefited over the past year, I can only wonder what my life would have been like if I had started sooner.
I would like to leave you with this thought..."If you wish to grow and achieve...to feel confident in public communication or leadership roles...to interact with other individuals who have the same objectives - Toastmasters is your answer.
Fran Watson is a Career Counsellor and a Toastmaster (ATM-B). For more information on Toastmasters you can go to her webpage http://www.franwatson.ca
The Ten Ps of Dealing with Questions
Presenters and those making speeches will frequently be faced with having to answer questions. Sometimes these will be simple questions asked at the end of your talk and lasting only a minute or two. At other times you may be involved in lengthy panel discussions that take place after a series of presentations. In any situation, though, you will want to answer questions well. Here is a ten point plan for dealing with questions and answers when you speak. I call it the Ten Ps of Question Handling.
Speech Writing Tips: The 14 Speech Writing Secrets of President Bill Clinton
Speaking in public can be a powerful way to build a business. It can help raise the profile of your business, generate new leads and create greater profits. But speaking in public can be nerve wracking and seriously stressful for first timers. Writing a speech can be a major challenge, especially for technical writers.
Are You Talking the Talk?
"More learning occurs through emotion than through intellect" C.S. Lewis
How Well Do You Speak?
The ability to speak well can enhance your career, clinch a sale, sell a point of view and increase your business productivity.
Using Your Natural Style On Stage
We were both speakers at the same convention presenting on the same day-but what a difference. I am tall, while she's short. I am a magnetic speaker-I draw people in with stories and examples. She's a dynamic speaker- humorous and vivacious. We both were hits-the audience loved us.
"Would you like to say a few words?" How many of us dread that request? The thought of speaking off the cuff can terrify even veteran speakers. But what about the ability to give a prepared speech and sound natural?
Be a Guest Speaker and Attract Business
Being a guest speaker in front of the right audience can be an excellent way to attract new business. Many clubs, organizations, conventions, and trade shows seek guest speakers who can provide useful information to their audience. The opportunity to speak in front of an attentive group can certainly boost your business, whether you are a service or product provider.
Speak Up or Sit Down
Last night the phone rang; my wife said, "I hope it's for you". When I answered, the caller asked, "Ray, would you speak to the Lions Club next month?" First my gut said, "No"; however, my head said, "Do it". So, one month from next Tuesday, I stand in front of 20 men and women as their evening speaker. They will have just enjoyed dinner with before and after dinner drinks. What a group: stomachs full and heads mellow. Just how will I do it?
15 Tips For Making A Great Speech
1. Listen to your internal dialog.
Five Tired, Worn Out Speaking Cliches
The subject of public speaking is riddled with tired, worn out cliches we ought to throw out. Here are a few to let go of:
How To Handle Audience Questions Effectively
For some reason, the prospect of having to answer audience questions fills many presenters with dread and fear. Looking at it in a positive way however, it's an ideal opportunity for you to satisfy the audience further, and you can continue to drive your main points home adding emphasis to your talk.
Public Speaking: Getting the Room Set-up Right
I don't know why it is, but no matter how carefully I brief a hotel on the room set-up I want for my seminars, workshops and training meetings, more often than not when I arrive, they have provided a standard hotel room set up. What I find even more alarming is the number of times that I attend a meeting either as a guest speaker or audience member to find that the meeting planner or speaker has not bothered to think beyond this standard room set-up which is often quite hostile to the audience.
Trust in Training: Societys Effect on an Audience
It is important to be continually aware that a person usually will not be consciously aware of how and why they are reacting, yet even if they knew, they wouldn't tell you. Society conditions people to hide their true inner drives and motives especially from those close to them (or even to themselves). Only when they are assured - both intellectually and emotionally - that it is safe to do so, will they reveal what they really need, want, feel, or think. A trainer's job is to make a person feel as safe as possible in accepting, believing or doing whatever you want them to do.
How to Use your Inner Circle
Who do you know that knows that you speak?
What is Toastmasters?
Toastmasters.... Toastmasters....What is Toastmasters?
Top 7 Steps to Better Public Speaking
Whether you want to be a part time, full time or BIG time speaker you must speak, speak, speak. At first, deliver 25-30 minute free talks to service clubs and community organizations. Consider it to be your off-Broadway tryout. A great opportunity to fine-tune your program?and maybe get some future paid business!
20 Tips to Becoming a Professional Speaker: How to be a Rising Star
Entering the speaking industry can be both daunting and exciting. It is an excellent environment where you can make a real difference in the lives of your audience. It is a rewarding and challenging industry to be part of. If you are keen to become a professional speaker, try these tips: Find a buddy ? make a friend with another speaker who is at a similar stage to you in their speaking career to be able to share ideas, questions, frustrations and wins with them.
Shortcuts to Eloquence
You have probably had the experience of listening to a speaker who, even if you did not agree with that person's message, caused you to think, "this is an outstanding speaker." That speaker was probably using certain rhetorical devices that touched an internal chord, that made him or her sound eloquent.
13 Publicity Tips for Professional Speakers
In a funk because other speakers seem to be snagging all the media attention? It's time to start claiming your share. Here are a baker's dozen of tips that will boost your publicity efforts and help you finally get noticed.
10 Worst Tips To Give A Speaker
1. Learn the speech by heart or read it from a script.
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