How It Works
We use the tried and tested programme from Toastmasters International. This works both for the most nervous beginner as well as those more experienced. On joining, you will receive two key manuals:
Competent Communicator manual: This manual walks you through 10 short speech projects that you can take at your own pace. You will learn how to organise a speech, how to use gestures, how to speak with conviction and sincerity and how to motivate your audience.
Competent Leader manual: This manual provides 10 different projects that test your ability to listen, to provide feedback, to facilitate, to motivate and mentor. Again this can be taken at a pace that makes sense for you.
Together these form the basis for conquering your main fears and learning the key skills. Later on, there are fifteen more advanced manuals that you may want to think about to develop your skills even further.
The quality of comments that you get from other members is of utmost importance. We have all seen people’s confidence destroyed by insensitive criticism. At Toastmasters we use a system that encourages only the most helpful feedback.
Our meetings typically last just over two hours. The opportunities to speak fall into 4 main categories:
An experienced member poses prepared questions and calls on members of the audience, who volunteered just before the meeting, to give a one to two minute response. The questions aren’t difficult. They are intended to give the speakers a chance to practice impromptu speeches. We call these Table Topics.
Three or four members deliver speeches that they have prepared in advance. The speeches can be about any subject, but the structure and style of the speech is defined by the Toastmasters Competent Communicator programme. Most speeches are between five and seven minutes long.
Experienced members, chosen in advance, provide comments on each prepared speech. These comments will be supportive and describe what the speaker did well and how the speaker could improve. Each evaluation is two to three minutes long. This tests our listening skills, our ability to assimilate information within a short period, provide comments in a helpful way and our ability to speak.
There are several roles to help the meeting run smoothly. These form part of the Competent Leader programme and test our ability to listen, to motivate, to provide feedback and to facilitate.