Contributed by Diana Straub
Have you ever been scheduled to speak in public or lead a group, but when you rose to the occasion, you were so nervous that it was less than spectacular? It is much more comfortable to practice your speeches in a safe, supportive learning environment such as a toastmasters club meeting where the response will be encouraging, meaningful suggestions to help you polish your skills and build your confidence.
Perhaps you have heard someone say, “If you have nervous “butterflies” get them flying in formation!” As a toastmaster, you learn how to get your butterflies into formation, then you teach others how to do the same. New members will be provided a seasoned mentor to help them conquer their first three to six speeches; your first speech will range from four to six minutes.
When I am advising a new member on how to get started with the first speech, these are some of my recommendations:
1. Organize your speech by the allotted time
2. Keep the topic narrow
3. Memorize only your opening and closing statements
4. Use notes for body and subtopics of the speech
If your speech is four to six minutes:
• Allot one minute for the introduction
• Three minutes for the body with two or three subtopics
• One minute for the conclusion
A member who has completed the first six speeches may request a mentor to aid them in speech crafting skills. When a speech topic is too broad, subtopics can proliferate into separate ideas, leaving transitions too weak to successfully connect the content together for speech listeners to follow along easily. Mentors will impart their experience and guidance to help you overcome such obstacles that afflict even the most experienced speakers.
Toastmasters is a place where new members won’t feel intimidated, this is where leaders are made, and many employers include toastmasters as part of their employee development plan. We intentionally keep our club environment empowering for the development of communication skills and grow our self-confidence.
The members of Palmer Toastmasters Club invite you to join us each Tuesday for one hour beginning at 6:00 pm. For information, call Diana 907-841-7245.