One of the things that literally terrifies many people is being asked to make some impromptu remarks.
There is a saying – “ Failure to plan is planning to fail.”
So for many people being asked to speak having made no preparation is a disaster waiting to happen.
That’s why at Toastmasters International clubs we spend part of our meetings working on impromptu speaking.
We call it Table Topics. Someone has the job of selecting the subjects to speak on and then members are selected at random and asked to speak on them for up to two minutes.
At our last Voice of Wales meeting David Sands had the job of selecting the subjects.
He chose a selection of events in and around Wales – some of which had already taken place and some of which were still to come.
Examples included a classical music concert and astronomy weekend; a seaside seafood festival; a stone skimming championship and the world bog snorkling championships.
Speakers had to describe what they enjoyed or what they were looking forward to.
There are tips and tricks that help speakers deal with such unexpected and testing subjects and it is always a fun part of the meeting undertaken in an environment that is friendly and supportive.
Marcus Grodentz did one of the evening’s prepared speeches on the topic of self-limiting beliefs. He is undertaking a course entitled “Presentation Mastery” and this talk had to demonstrate appropriate and effective use of body language – given that a substantial part of our communication is non-verbal.
The final speech of the evening came from Rick Cooper, one of the club’s most senior members.
Toastmasters International provides a guided learning programme to help people refine and develop their speaking and leadership skills.
The on-line course is called Pathways and members can choose from one of a number of options that will help them tailor their speaking skills to achieve personal outcomes.
Rick gave an educational presentation to update members on how to obtain the best use of the online programme and finished off with an enthusiastic question and answer session.
Members never know what to expect at a club meeting – but they know it will be fun, interesting and varied.