Since September I have been inviting you into the Speakeasy Toastmasters Club Parlour to view the operations for your self - very altruistic on my part. However for the next few weeks that I have left wearing the P.R. Hat I am planning a different approach. They say give a man a fish and he is fed for a day – show him how and he is fed for life. So for the next few weeks I am serving you up life long food for thought. And a really useful weapon for everyone to have – ‘the gift of the gab’
I will start by telling you how to get your butterflies flying in formation. Call it what you will – nervousness; speech anxiety; stage fright; platform panic. It is known by many names, but it is a problem every speaker - even politicians - must confront. Actually feeling nervous before giving a speech is healthy. It shows that your speech is important to you and that you care about doing it well. But unless you learn how to manage and control nervousness – it can keep you from becoming an effective speaker. So here are a few suggestions to make your butterflies fly in formation.
KNOW YOUR ROOM - become familiar with the place you will speak in. In advance stand at the lectern and speak into the microphone (if you use one)
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE - say ‘hi’ to people as they come in - then some of your audience will be familiar to you
KNOW YOUR MATERIAL – lack of knowledge is the greatest cause of insecurity in all aspects of life. So if you are not familiar with your material – your nervousness will naturally increase. Practice your speech and revise it until you can present it with ease.
RELAX. - You can ease tension by doing breathing exercises or by doing physical exercises.
WORK ON THE ‘AS IF’ PRINCIPLE - when you stand at the lectern. - Look around you and then say to yourself - ‘Yes – I’ve done a great speech’ and believe it. Then begin calmly from the heart and the head - while the poor knees are doing River Dance - no pun intended.
Having dealt with the nerves – now let’s move on to the actual programme. There are Ten Stages in the first Toastmasters Programme. But like climbing a ladder you can only take ONE STEP AT A TIME. The first step is called the ICE BREAKER. This speech should have a clear beginning, body and conclusion. The purpose of this stage is to introduce the speaker to the audience. You do not have to give your life history or the balance of your Anzbaacker Account. Just a few well constructed details of what makes you ‘tick’. The objectives of this speech are 1. To begin speaking before an audience. 2. To discover speaking skills you already have, and skills that need some attention. The Club is known for it’s caring and sharing attitude and members are always ready to mentor any prospective speaker, if he/she so desires.. Watch this spot – next week the hints will be for Stage 2.
On Thursday 30th November we are having our next Club Meeting. We are having an Icebreaker that night and a very full programme which promises to be entertaining. Come along – be brave- don’t leave all your resolutions to the New Year. Start now, and you will be on time for our Christmas Party Meeting which promises mulled wine, etc, etc. Bring your Santa Hat that night – the ‘craic’ will be mighty. See you all on Thursday. The kettle is on the hob. Enquiries to Loretto at 087/4118132 or log on to speakeasytoastmasters.com P.S. I nearly forgot. Speakeasy heads are swelled from all the congratulations and commendations received from The Schools Contest Successes Thank you one and all –it is very nice to get all those good wishes.