You joined Toastmasters International for one major purpose: To improve and develop your speaking abilities. Your assignment as a Speaker in the formal part of the toastmaster meeting is fulfilling the reason you joined the club.
How can you exploit this opportunity, making the most of it so you can obtain the growth and development you desire? Remember, your success and growth reflect the club’s success and growth. Therefore, the manner in which you handle this responsibility as a Speaker is most important to both you and the club. Here are some important points you should consider in your speech assignment:
1. Start preparing early! Two or three weeks are usually required. Good speeches don’t just happen – they take time, effort and thought.
2. Your first step in developing your speech is to read your basic training manual speech assignment thoroughly to make sure you fully understand its objectives.
A. Determine your subject. Choosing the subject for a speech is usually one of the most difficult things a Toastmaster has to do. Toastmastering is an education. Why not use your speech topics as educational topics for you! There are many subjects or areas which you have wanted to learn more about. Put your curiosity to work and develop a speech on something that will add to and satisfy your quest for knowledge. In addition, you can use books, magazines, newspapers, radio and TV programs as sources for ideas for a speech. Look continuously for subject and ideas, and you will find you will always have two or three subjects on which you would like to develop a speech.
B. Next, write down a list of the points and information you know about that subject.
C. Mull over your thoughts and think on your subject in odd moments. Make notes of your random thoughts.
D. Determine what facet of the subject you want to talk about – or what you specifically want to accomplish by the speech.
3. Using your list and knowing the goal of the speech, make an outline. You have 5-7 minutes to achieve your goal. Therefore, limit your field of view; narrow it to your purpose.
a. Ho Hum (audience’s attitude) Build a fire! ATTENTION
b. Why bring that up? Build a bridge! PROBLEM OR NEED
c. For instance…. Get down to cases. SOLUTION
d. So what? Call for action! ACTION
a. Attention arrester
b. Interest arouser
c. Desire creator
d. Action stimulator
4. Develop the introduction, conclusion, illustrations, examples and transitions. Avoid generalities – BE SPECIFIC!
5. Now practice it. Put in gestures, voice modulation and speech pace required for emphasis. Have it down to the time limit. Use a tape recorder to record and listen to your speech.
6. Now, 5-7 days before the meeting, time your speech and make necessary compensation for when you will give it. Then call the Toastmaster and give him the speech title, number and timing requirements.
7. Re-read the speech assignment in the manual. Does your speech meet and accomplish the assignment’s objectives?
8. Now practice the speech just using your outline. Practice in front of a mirror to see how your gestures and facial expressions appear. Imagine you are giving it in front of an audience. If possible, practice in front of someone you know that can give you feedback. Give it your all! Pull out all the stops! Get into your speech! Your enthusiasm and drive determine whether it will be a mediocre speech – or a strong, effective speech.
9. Practice it three or four more times the night before you give it. Revise your outline to a few brief notes. Now you are ready. You should feel confident. You have given adequate time for good preparation.
10. When it’s your turn to speak, be ready for your introduction by standing to the side of the stage. Don’t come up from the audience as you are introduced; it’s not a game show. After your introduction, walk briskly up to the lectern with an air of confidence and sureness. Shake hands with the Toastmaster and take charge. Place notes on the lectern, look over your audience, wait for the applause to die down, take a deep breath, and then begin speaking.
11. After completing your speech stay at the lectern until you return control of the m meeting to the Toastmaster.