Less than two years after becoming a founder member of East Midlands Speakers, a local club affiliated to Toastmasters International, I have become a Competent Communicator.
This means that I have made ten speeches in front of my peers following a programme set out by Toastmasters. Each speech had a particular theme, such as Get to the Point, Vocal Variety or Persuade with Power. As I progressed through the programme, each speech became progressively more demanding.
I spoke on topics as diverse as Traditional Chinese Medicine, Dancing on the Dark Side (gothic bellydancing), Information Access and Water Usage in the UK. Although the schedule was interrupted for major hip surgery in February 2009, I managed to finish the programme in good time to contribute to the club’s bid to become a President’s Distinguished Toastmaster Club.
One of my favourite speeches was Number 6, He Who Must Be Obeyed! a humorous take on what it’s like to be a member of a choir.
By the time I reached the tenth speech, which required the speaker to Inspire Your Audience, I had very clear ideas of what was needed to make a meaningful presentation.
- Interaction with the audience
I am more than ever convinced that people wanting to make effective speeches and presentations could learn a very great deal from the skills of acting and performance.
You need to be able both to connect with and care for your audience to get your message across.
What do I mean by caring for your audience? Speak to their needs. Know your subject. Look them in the eye. Make your voice interesting. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
If you would like to know more, please contact me. I aim to write in more detail at a later date about using performance skills in speaking.