Doing a prepared speech for the first time is a big moment for every member. What is the best way to prepare? Whilst there is no single answer, here are a few suggestions to make your first speech as enjoyable and effective as possible.
Read the supporting information from the Pathways educational resources
The Pathways Icebreaker project materials (available online at toastmaster.org) focusses on a small number of high impact tips that will make a big difference to how well your speech will go. Heed the advice well: the information is trusted, tried and tested and to-the-point.
Wise words from the previous educational program
The legacy educational program was replete with great advice. Although that program has been replaced by Pathways, some of the tips are timeless.
Here are some highlights:
A memorized beginning and ending enable you to start and finish your talk with confidence and ease.
In any speech, it’s best to select a few main points (three or four at the most) and emphasize them by using examples, stories, or anecdotes. If you merely state a fact and then continue, most of your audience will miss the point.
If you think you will need notes, write a brief speech outline on note cards, which you can place on the lectern. Refer to them only when you need them. Remember, you’re speaking, not reading.
Present the talk to a family member, a friend, or your Toastmasters mentor. Ask for comments. They may give you some helpful suggestions. If you have an audio recorder, record the talk and listen to it carefully, making any necessary improvements.
Instead of thinking of this presentation as making a speech, think of it as a talk before a group of friends, sharing information of interest.
The best way to begin your speaking experience is to talk about a familiar subject—yourself.
Talk to your mentor
They can help. Alternatively, get in touch with a member of the committee if for whatever reason your mentor is unavailable.
Etching your speech into your brain through lots of practice will go a long way towards controling your nerves. If you know your material inside out, your performance will be more resilient to the disruption caused by the inevitable (and perfectly natural) nervous energy you might feel. Also read this short article on controlling nerves.
Remember – everyone is rooting for you. Good luck!
The best way to find out if it’s for you is to try it! Visit us as a guest, totally free, with no obligation to join, and see if we have something to offer you.
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