Tonight is the night for pupils of Davis College, St. Mary’s Secondary School and The Partician Acadamy of Mallow and Schoil Mhuire of Kanturk as they compete for the Mallow Credit Union Perpetual Trophy (overall school winner) and Hibernian Hotel Perpetual Trophy (individual winner) in the Speak Easy Toastmasters Inter Schools Public Speaking Contest.
The pupils have been busy preparing for this contest for the past number of weeks and finally, tonight, they will present their speeches before the judges in The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8pm sharp.
This promises, once again, to be a great evening so why not come along, give your support and listen what these young people have to say.
Continuing on with our series of articles on the skills of public speaking or making a presentation, this week we look at body language and the correct way to use it.
Firstly, facial expression. Together with your voice and stance, tells the audience whether you are being serious or funny, happy or sad, friendly or angry.
Next, eye contact. Speak to the audience looking directly at them; you should strive to look into the eyes of as many people as possible in your audience. You are connecting with your audience and they will know that you sincere in what you are saying.
Thirdly, guestures. Hands are wonderful tools but they can also be distracting if you are fiddling with the podium or lectern, pens, glasses or papers and can make the audience feel uncomfortable and annoyed. Equally, hands jammed in pockets give the wrong vibes. Using ones hands to enhance a presentation needs to be learned and practiced but it is a skill well worth learning.
And lastly, whole body movement. Be careful when you are speaking that you are not a rocker or a sawyer or a pacer as these movements can make you look nervous and can make the audience uncomfortable. Try to stand straight but not stiff, balance your body, feet slightly apart, relax your shoulders, chest up and stomach in, head straight and arms hanging naturally. Learn to work the room so do not stand in only one position. Move from spot to spot purposefully.
The above is only a very brief outline of using your body to enhance a speech or presentation and is just one more of the skills that are learned and practiced at toastmasters meetings. Remember, toastmasters meetings are workshops not classrooms and where the emphasis is on members enjoying themselves and of course we all know that if you enjoy yourself then learning is a pleasure.
So why not find out for yourself, come along to any of our meetings in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow. We meet on alternate Thursdays at 7.50pm for an 8pm sharp start and finish at 10pm. We would be delighted to meet you and be assured that guests are never asked to speak at any toastmaster meeting.
So don’t forget to come along tonight 15th and support the Inter Schools Public Speaking Contest. It starts at 8pm sharp and will be a fantastic evening.
Toastmasters from all over Ireland and the UK are this week getting back to normal after a wonderful conference in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, last weekend.
We had a weekend of workshops, contests, a tour of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales and of plenty of retail therapy for those so inclined.
The Irish success story of the weekend was John Doyle from Thurles Toastmasters who won the Table Topics Contest.
The next District 71 Conference (Ireland and UK) will take place in the Gleneagle Hotel, Killarney, on the 9-11th of May 2008
Speak Easy Toastmasters next regular meeting is on November 29th.
Further information on Speak Easy Toastmasters can be had from our website, www.speakeasytoastmasters.com