For Members

How to Practice a Speech

Here are some tips and tricks for practicing your speech:

  • Stand up. You get more realistic voice projection.
  • Arrange an audience. Imagine keeping eye contact with the audience in the room. To practice doing this, place random photos of people on the chairs in the room.
  • Consider what you will wear when your speech will be delivered and practice in the clothes.
  • Time yourself. Insert planned pauses, and insert delays when you expect laughter or some other audience response. 
  • Record yourself. Both video and audio. You can even do it it separately to focus specifically on one thing. This is far better than practicing in front of a mirror as you are purely focused on the speech and not distracted by your own appearance in the mirror. You will be offered to record your speech at the Toastmasters meeting. 
  • Don't apologize during the speech for mistakes, using notes,... The fact that you're using notes is nothing unusual. It's also fine to lose trace of what you were going to say next. Never apologize for these two things. Why? As soon as you apologize for losing trace of your thoughts, the listeners will immediately think "I see, something's wrong!"
  • Don´t say: I am not prepared, I had few time only,... just do your best!
  • Send the recording of your speech to your mentor as he may give you some good hints.
  • Repeat. Repeat Again. And Then Again.

Toastmaster Of the Evening

One of the toughest roles, but it's similar to the Icebreaker. You might be afraid of it at first, but once you've done it, it'll be much easier in the future.

You are essentially the leader and coordinator of the evening, which can be a big challenge to overcome, but if you stick with it you can do it.

At home:

  • You can always ask other members!
  • Check the agenda; are the roles filled out? (some clubs ask members who attend the meeting to take a role in advance, this is possible but not usual in our club)
  • Print out at least 20 pieces of the agenda (the treasurer can re-finance your costs if you wish to)
  • Think out "questions of the evening" which everyone can answer with one-two sentences during the introduction round. (Examples from the past: What would you do if you weren´t here right now? What is your favourite drink? Etc.)
  • You may check yourself as the administrator of the evening in easyspeak (we can explain how to do it) and make changes to the agenda

Before the meeting:

  • Arrive a bit earlier if possible and assure that the room is already prepared by the Sergeant of the Arms. If he is not attending, you have the responsibility to make sure that the room is arranged prior to the meeting... Let the arriving members help you!
  • Empty spots on the agenda? Ask members to take roles. In case of need members may have more than one role or ask guests if they would like to take one to run the meeting smoothly.
  • Ask the grammarian about the "word of the evening".
  • Delegate at least one or two members to be responsible for inviting guests.

We start at 7:10 pm 😊

  • Small introduction and explanation what TM is about (international organisation)
  • Introduce the word of the evening
  • We start with an introduction round. Name, "how long have you been a Toastmaster", the question of the evening and they may use the word of the evening. Explain why we are clapping so much as some of the newer guests may wonder.
  • Introducing the speaker. Ask the Evaluator to read the objectives and then ask the speaker to enter the stage. A big applause shall follow the introduction of the speaker. We call the speaker by his or her name and name the speech title as: Name - Speechtitle - Speechtitle - Name (you can see an example in the videos of the Toastmasters World Championships of Public Speaking)
  • Introduce the Table Topics Master.
  • Monitor the time and decide how long the table topics session should last. Adapt the meeting to meet the time frame set up within the agenda.
  • After the Break: invite the General Evaluator to lead the second part of the evening
  • After the General Evaluator: Make a Toast.

You made it!



Evaluator 
Both for prepared and impromptu speeches

One of the most important tasks as a good evaluation helps us to improve. Yet, how do you do it effectively? 

Make sure to structure your speech and include an opening, body and summary.

Report your evaluation in a motivating way while avoiding personal attacks (our immediate reaction to an attack is a defensive regardless of what is said later).

You can replace the word 'mistake' easily by changing it to say 'where you could improve..."

Use the "I perspective" (I think, I feel,..) instead of telling "you" in an negative sentence (I feel it was too short instead of -You were too short).

Try to motivate the speaker by including some positive aspects and do not only critisize only. If there were a lot of mistakes, you may consider focusing on only presenting three.

You may use notes during your speech.


General Evaluator


To get feedback is an important part of the meeting. You are now the leader of the second part and call every evaluator and all other roles on to the stage. Describe every role briefly.

Afterwards, your role is to give feedback on everything else regarding the meeting.

How was the room set up? The first impression?  Were guests taken care of throughout the evening and greeted properly? The start? (Your function begins prior to the start of the meeting) How did the Toastmaster of the Evening and the Table Topics Master perform their tasks? The Evaluators and all other roles? What is your general impression?

Your time limit is 3-5 minutes and after that, you will hand over to the Toastmasters of the Evening who will finish the evening.


Ah Counter

Many of us use them, even though we don´t like them. One of the ways how to avoid the usage of filler words is to know how many we used. Your task is to count the filler words ("ah, eh, so, like" or other (repetitive) words/sounds you notice ) throughout the entire evening. At the end you will present the results within 1-2 min. You can also address tips on how to reduce using these filler words.

You also want to distinguish between a prepared speech or an impromptu speech (f.e. during a prepared speech 0 filler words, but during an impromptu speech 10 filler words).

At the end, you will present the results within 1-2 min.

A useful article concerning this is: 10 Ways to Eliminate Filler Words


Entertainment

Listen carefully! Towards the end of the meeting the entertainer of the night will ask all kinds of questions with regards to anything that may have been said during the meeting.

Find out information which could of made it funny to answer them.

How do you do it? There are several ways. You may simply ask questions; you may combine some information; you can ask the audience to count something (how many ...?); you may provide the answer and ask for the question;.. 


Timekeeper

To be able to stick to a given timeframe and deliver your speech is vital. If you exceed your speech time you may lose your audience. It is your job to keep an eye on our time schedule and time every speaker. Indicate the speech times by operating our speech lights!

What do the colors stand for:

Green - the minimum expected, under the optimum,

Orange - you are approaching the optimum

Red signalises the time limit was reached. During a contest, the contestants are disqualified if they stop speaking before the green light and 30s after the red light is reached.

Therefore it is essential to practice speaking within a certain time frame and help the speaker by indicating through the lights how much time is left.

Also, pay attention during the table topics session and notify the table topic master when the last question should be asked before the break starts. Remind the Toastmaster of the evening when the end of the break is close and help him to inform the attendees.

Write down all times and give a review on how we performed.

There are more ways on how to do it. You may explain why it is important to be on time, to read out loud the speaker's times, to comment (all speakers were within the time limit, the majority of the evaluators exceeded their time frame, table topics of guests were under 1 minute - tell it in a motivating way; ...)