Difficult made easy

Explain the offside rule in football to a five-year-old.

That was the challenge set to one of our members in the impromptu speaking section of our last meeting.

With only seconds to think the member selected to undertake this task tried to simplify this complicated subject. But in the end had to admit to the ‘youngster’ that he would probably be better served playing rugby.

Speaking without preparation can be fraught with problems and for many it leaves them virtually speechless.

The impromptu speaking section which starts our meetings is one which members all say they enjoy even if it does ‘scare’ them.

There are a variety of tips, tricks and techniques for speaking off the cuff and getting to practice them at every meeting provides great fun.

It’s the way we start every meeting and it gets everybody ready for action as we never know who will be selected to speak.

What we do know is those who are going to present prepared speeches from their online ‘Pathway.’

There are a selection of different educational paths and each one will help develop speaking skills in the way that the member wants them to go.

It also means that on a club night we get to hear talks on a wide variety of topics.

Alistair Driscoll spoke about understanding your communication style. There are several and we all tend to favour and be stronger in one particular area.

Our President. Michael Wheatle, a keen photographer, spoke about the demise of good photography. How the digital age meant people could put in less effort when taking their pictures because there are now so many technical aids that can help enhance the photos.

Rick Cooper, one of our most experienced members, spoke about mentoring and how as a young soldier he had a sergeant who helped him make the transition from training camp into the ‘real world.’

Toastmasters helps develop speaking and leadership skills. It widens our knowledge because of the vast range of topics we get to hear and it plays with our emotions.

Talks can touch on a range of emotions from pathos to laughter as members recount stories and experiences.

But without doubt as we try, watch and learn we find that we are developing our skills.

But we do it in an environment which is not only safe, but great fun.

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