‘Take the moment in your hand and make it your moment’.
Today our Speechcrafters made their very first speech.
First they all had to show up. And everyone did.
Our Speechcraft Coordinator started off with a great warm up question
‘What was your key learning point from last week’s session?’
This gave everyone a chance to settle their nerves by briefly addressing the group. A few points shared were
‘Organise your speech clearly’.
‘Connect with your audience’.
and very important – ‘if you feel nervous just keep going’.
Yes! We, your audience, want you to succeed. That’s why we are all here. To learn how to present confidently and to encourage each other.
Someone suggested that everyone should take as much as they can from listening to other speakers. And take Toastmasters seriously.
I think this is an excellent point. It’s easy to regard Toastmasters as a twice monthly meeting, an investment of a couple of hours each time. However the people that get the most out of their membership are the ones that put time aside regularly to work on Pathways speeches and projects. These members regard Toastmasters holistically. They treat the club as a speaking college rather than just an occasional turn up.
A little learning needs to be done every day. After all we only get out what we put in.
I was very impressed by the standard of the six speakers. They resembled sponges who’d absorbed everything they’d mopped up the previous week.
We heard a short story about identity from someone who had come to the UK as a twelve-year-old refugee.
Resilience was a popular theme, one man talked about the capacity to beat adversity and another told of how he dealt with being bullied as a child.
One lady humorously described her Nan – clearly a wise, much loved family character.
Then we pondered on the innate confidence of children and how we often lose this as adults.
Our first speaker related the tale of an unfortunate presentation she had stumbled over in the past. Tonight you would not have recognised this lady as she spoke with clarity and confidence.
Each speaker was evaluated by their Speechcraft Guide. The Guides are experienced members who have volunteered to help a newcomer. They accompany each student throughout the four-week course.
Evaluations are pitched to commend a couple of points that the speaker did well, and to point out one or two that that they could improve on. There is an emphasis on positivity and providing examples. Ideas are shared on how to try things differently.
This week we were able to include two educational presentations in the session. Seasoned Toastmasters spoke on the importance of Speech Purpose, and how to provide an Engaging Introduction for a guest speaker.
The Speechcrafters will get a chance to put these skills into practise next week.
Both educational speeches were evaluated so their presenters also obtained useful feedback. Ken Blanchard said that feedback is the breakfast of champions. It’s an ongoing process. No-one is exempt from being able to improve.
We were fortunate to have several guests and visiting Toastmasters. One Zoomed in from Monserrat and another from Chicago. Truly a global audience.
Our General Evaluator was impressed by what she saw;
‘a very well-run meeting. Like an orchestra with everyone playing different parts”.
It seems we were all in tune.
Trudy Kuhn VPE 14/01/2022