Category Archives: Toastmasters


Toastmasters Contest Season

It’s contest season in Toastmasters right now. Toastmasters clubs worldwide are holding 2 different contests, one of which – the International Speech Contest will end up with a single speaker from a Toastmasters club somewhere in the world being crowned 2009’s World Champion of Public Speaking.

On a District level only (a geographical area that can encompass a State, Country or more than one country) Toastmasters clubs will be running a second contest out of a choice of four:

  • Table Topics Contest – impromptu speaking.
  • Evaluation Contest – evaluating a speech.
  • Humorous Speech Contest – delivering a speech that contains humor.
  • Tall Tales Contest – delivering a speech that tells a tall tale.

In my District, we are running the Evaluation Contest.

I entered both of my club’s contests, not for competitive reasons but because we didn’t have too many entries – only two entrants for both the International Speech Contest and the Evaluation Contest.

Despite my intention being to fill out the numbers, on the night itself I was fired up by the fact that it was a contest and that each contestant was expected to put on a good show.

I had a lot of fun, particularly with my speech for the International Speech Contest. I really went for it! While I didn’t know what the judges scored each contestant’s speech, I felt that had I really wanted to win and had I done everything I could to learn and prepare for the contest beforehand, that I could have won it.

Even though I didn’t have a contest win, I grew from my participation in the event. It really is a whole different ball game to go from just speaking to speaking in a contest setting and wanting to meet the expectation of delivering something special.

For this reason I’d certainly recommend that if you are a member of Toastmasters or some other kind of educational organization where you are eligible to enter the contest – and usually avoid doing so, that you enter at the next available opportunity, no matter how new or how advanced a speaker you may be.

You will:

  1. Grow from raising your game and pushing through your comfort zones to new levels
  2. Demonstrate to your fellow members what they can become – especially if you are one of the newer members or least experienced. Inspiring people is a great way to help people challenge themselves to grow.
  3. Improve your confidence. You entered the contest, you put yourself in a position where you will be judged, and you got through it.

All the above make you a winner, regardless of whether you are voted the winner of the contest. Doing so also adds quality to your club/organization. So it really is a win-win situation, but especially a win for you!

So, when will be the next opportunity for you to show what you’ve got???

Public Speaking Courses, Toastmasters or Self Study for Developing Public Speaking Skills?

New article:

Public Speaking Courses, Toastmasters, and Self Study Options for Developing Public Speaking Skills

This is just an article I wrote expressing my opinions on the benefits of attendance based public speaking courses, Toastmasters, and self study. Each has a part to play, but I believe where you are right now plays a role in determining which options are the most suitable at the cuurent point in time.

Mr Toastmaster Addendum

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.

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Mr Toastmaster Revisited

My experience of being Toastmaster (or the host) at my club’s Toastmaster meetings has always been interesting. I’ve now performed the role for the fourth time. Each time I felt slightly different:

  • The first time was about getting through it.
  • The second time was about doing it better than the first time.
  • The third time was about trying to become comfortable.
  • The fourth time felt a little like the third time because a number of challenges came up but I also felt more confident. Continue reading

Public Speaking – Event Warm Ups

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.

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Mr Contest Chair!

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.

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24 Hour Persuasive Speech Challenge!

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.

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How to handle an open-ended question!

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.)

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Mr Toastmaster … (part 3)

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.

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Mr Toastmaster … (part 2)

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.”

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