I was supposed to deliver a speech at the last Toastmasters meeting, but due to the flu and house move of both the Toastmaster and President, as VPE I had to go into emergency mode and make the agenda work out. Part of that process included me stepping in as Toastmaster.
However, I am pleased to say, everything went great as far as what I thought of my performance was concerned, especially in contrast to all efforts to date.
So, you’ve got to introduce an act or maybe even host an event, and you’ve got up to 15 minutes to warm up the audience, what do you do? Well, there are many ways to do a warm up. I’m going to discuss a recent warm up I did that was very successful.
If you’re going to speak in public to different types of audience, especially audiences involving people of more authority, influence, or in some other way different from the norm and you’re a bit concerned about it, then it helps to get practice of being in that scenario. This is one area that Toastmasters can really help with.
Last week, and perhaps a bit foolhardily of me, I decided I would step in at the last minute to cover the speech slot of someone that had just pulled out of the speaker schedule for what was our upcoming Toastmasters meeting. I ended up with 24 hours to prepare the speech that I would deliver the following day.
Recently at a Toastmasters Table Topics contest, I observed a single thing that one person did who went on to win the contest. (Generally speaking, if you’re not familiar with table topics, a table topic is a question or topic given to a club member to give an impromptu response to in a time-frame of between 1 and 1:30-2 minutes.)
One of the thigs I really enjoy is when I can help someone to do something they have held back from or perhaps had never recognised themselves as being capable of doing. Such opportunities are present in abundance in Toastmasters. As discussed earlier in part two, every time you are an Evaluator you have an opportunity to help someone imagine how much greater they can become through constructive feedback. However, you don’t have to be performing as an evaluator to achieve this.
One of the most useful things that you get from Toastmasters that you rarely get from a live speech is constructive criticism. If you do get this after a live speech it’s likely that the person offering it has forgot about the “constructive” part. In Toastmasters, we like to call this process an evaluation, and everyone that performs a role or speech at each Toastmasters Meeting bar one person will receive an evaluation. Why is it useful? It offers us the opportunity to learn what we are doing well at, and to consider areas which we may wish to improve.
In my last performance of the Toastmaster role, I received a fair bit of “evaluation.”
I had a very interesting session at my last Toastmasters club meeting. I was the Toastmaster (or host if you’re not familiar with Toastmasters) for the night. It was my third time performing that role. I believe it was my best performance yet. I didn’t rely on notes, and I was much less nervous than the previous two times performing the role. This allowed me to focus on the audience more.