Presenting to an audience is a skill and it can be learnt…

….so Simon Bucknall, who took 2nd place at the 2017 World Championship in Vancouver, wrote on his website.

I was reflecting on this on Tuesday at the last meeting of the Tunbridge Wells Speakers Club as we had 4 speakers which spanned the range of things possible with attendance at the club.

We had Rachel completing her ice breaker speech, the first speech you do as part of the training programme. It is designed, through guidance on structure and deliver, to introduce you, a topic we are often all quite good at talking about! We learnt about how her wardrobe does not seemingly mirror that in the famous CS Lewis book, how the grass is not always greener and how we should marry for love, especially if Colin Firth is asking.

We then heard from Charlie who was completing the 7th speech in the manual and this brought a different tone, his informative speech explored the current housing market and its future, especially for first time buyers, a sobering message but with some light at the end of the tunnel.

We then had Simon and myself practising our competition speeches for an area contest this weekend.

The evening was then topped off by Table Topics, which is the impromptu 1-2 min speech section where guests and members are invited to speak on a topic they have just been given. The Table Topics master was Richard P and he dished out the topic of cliques and brave as lions, a number of people came up to the front at the speed of light and waxed lyrical. It was the charisma and linguistic talents of Richard G who won and he spoke on ‘giving it 110%’ in his words, actions and vocal range.

As such I thought reflecting on that meeting was an excellent example of how anyone could engage with Toastmasters, from the very start or working through the training materials. There are the contests if you are competitive or simply the Table Topics for having a go and not having to prepare.

Hopefully there is something in here that helps encourage you to find a meeting wherever that is and learn the fun that can be had in public speaking rather than the usual words preceding the phrase public speaking which is ‘the fear of!

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