Friday, February 22, 2008

Glad you asked!

Here is some info on Toastmasters.

“The mission of Toastmasters International is to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every member has the opportunity to develop communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth.”

A typical Toastmasters meeting at my club goes something like this:
The Toastmaster opens the meeting with an invocation and is responsible for keeping the meeting running smoothly. He or she invites each participant to the podium. The participants are the Reader, Jokemaster, Table Topics Master and one or two speakers. Next, the evaluators take the floor and share their thoughts on each participant’s contribution, pointing out what went well and offering suggestions as to what could be better next time. The whole group votes on the best Table Topics speaker and the best Speaker of the day.

The Reader: offers a reading of 2-4 minutes in length. This can be anything; poetry, humor, contemplative. The “Chicken Soup for the Soul" books are a popular source for this section.

Jokemaster: Tells jokes for 2-4 minutes.

Table Topics Master: The TTM takes the podium and invites three members to practice their extemporaneous speaking skills by calling on them one at a time with a different question for each one. The questions usually are drawn from current events. The respondents speak on the table topic for 1 ½ - 2 ½ minutes.

The speakers: Members work their way through Toastmasters International manuals of speaking assignments. The first book of 10 speeches is formatted to emphasize the development of 10 different aspects of communications skills (research, speaking to inspire, speaking to inform, using visual aids, etc.). After completing Book 1, members can choose from a wide variety of offerings from the Toastmasters International publications. After my first ten, the next ten I worked on were Storytelling and Interpretive Reading. Most of the speeches are from 5-10 minutes; getting longer as you move through the assignments. I am now working my way through a Leadership Manual. Following the completion of every ten projects, members are awarded certificates of achievement.

I’m staying in it in order to disguise the fact that I am actually extremely introverted. Toastmasters gives me a chance to pretend that I’m not!

I hope this answers your questions.


Scarlet said...

Interesting. Now I remember hearing about it from a shy friend once, who was able to overcome her shyness through these meetings. I'm pretty sure it was Toastmasters. You meet in restaurants, right?

nora said...

That sounds like a great program. I'm better at extemporaneous speaking than other types. Plus I really like the word extemporaneous.
Thanks for letting us know how it works.

Janell said...

Scarlet; my club meets in a restaurant, but I know another one that meets at a Library. I think it depends on what's available in the community.

Nora; Extemporaneous is my weakest thing! I greatly admire people who can do it.
And I can't figure out why that oil change/mammogram shop hasn't caught on? Maybe if we added a coffee counter...

Mary Connealy said...

Speeches are my most hated thing.

My daughters were in speech in high school and one of them had a t-shirt that said:
We do for fun what other people fear more than death

I guess on some poll listing people's greatest fears Public Speaking was #1 and Death was #2.
I saw that and just, "OF COURSE!"

Cliff said...

Well you do well in front of a crowd so it must work. I'm also an introvert. But my Mom had me in every speech contest known to man and now being in front of a crowd doesn't bother me.

Flip Flop Momma said...

I wanna be the jokemaster:)

Janell said...

FlipFlop; you'd be good at that job!

Jamie Dawn said...

I read your previous post about your job change.
Toastmasters sounds terrific!
I took a speech class last spring at our local college. It was fun, and it was good for me to do it with my voice disorder which causes me problems all the time. It forced me to speak whether it was a good voice day or a bad one, and we followed a similar structure like the one you outlined in Toastmasters. Each speech got longer and more detailed, and the final speech included the use of visual aids.
It's great that you are expanding your skills and forcing yourself to go outside of your introverted self. I hope your new job is good for you!