Archive for Public Speaking

Visual Aids

Tips on how to use visual aids


You are asked a question and you have two minutes to answer.

It is the single most hated part of most toastmaster meetings, but like anything else there is a skill to it.

  1. Don’t Panic : Yes you’re on the spot, but take a deep breath and ten seconds to think. There is time.
  2. Take an Angle: Topics are easier if you espouse a viewpoint, it doesn’t have to be what you really feel, it doesn’t have to be true. It’s a two minute answer, tunnel vision is perfectly acceptable.
  3. Try for Structure: Repeat the question with a different wording, try to make two or three specific points, then conclude. It will reduce your fear and panic, while making you sound more coherent.
  4. Speak Slowly: It gives you more time to think

And at the end you get to sit down!

Giving Speeches

Speaking is a skill, and like any skill it improves with practice and gets rusty if you don’t use it. The best way to give better speeches is to speak regularly in any venue you can find, Toastmasters provides a perfect venue. Other things that help are:

  1. Know your material. Pick a topic you are interested in. Know more
    about it than you include in your speech. Use humor, personal stories and conversational language – that way you won’t easily forget what to say.
  2. Practice. Practice. Practice! Rehearse out loud with all equipment you plan on using. Revise as necessary. Work to control filler words; Practice, pause and breathe. Practice with a timer and allow time for the unexpected.
  3. Know the audience. Greet some of the audience members as they arrive. It’s easier to speak to a group of friends than to strangers.
  4. Know the room. Arrive early, walk around the speaking area and practice using the microphone and any visual aids.
  5. Relax. Begin by addressing the audience. It buys you time and calms your nerves. Pause, smile and count to three before saying anything. (“One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand. Pause. Begin.) Transform nervous energy into enthusiasm.
  6. Visualize yourself giving your speech. Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and confident. Visualize the audience clapping – it will boost your confidence.
  7. Realize that people want you to succeed. Audiences want you to be interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining. They’re rooting for you.
  8. Don’t apologize for any nervousness or problem – the audience probably never noticed it.
  9. Concentrate on the message – not the medium. Focus your attention away from your own anxieties and concentrate on your message and your audience.
  10. Gain experience. Mainly, your speech should represent you — as an authority and as a person. Experience builds confidence, which is the key to effective speaking. A Toastmasters club can provide the experience you need in a safe and friendly environment.


Speaking in Public

Public speaking has always been a little terrifying. At Toastmasters we learn to feel the fear and do it anyway.

This section gives you a few tips on how to give better speeches, argue more coherently in debates and speak simply off the cuff. The best advice we have though, that’s to practice, which is why we suggest you try attending a Toastmasters meeting.

Attend a Hellfire Toastmasters Meeting →

About Toastmasters International

Toastmasters International empowers people to achieve their full potential and realize their dreams. Through our member clubs, people throughout the world can improve their communication and leadership skills, and find the courage to change.

Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development. Our membership is 280,000 strong. These members improve their speaking and leadership skills by attending one of the 13,500 clubs in 116 countries that make up our global network of meeting locations.

Established in 1932, Toastmasters International uses time-tested programs that are continually updated to meet participants Communication & Leadership needs.
In Toastmasters, you will learn to:

* Become a better public speaker
* Be a better listener
* Easily lead teams and conduct meetings
* Give and receive constructive evaluations

At Toastmasters you will learn to relax, enjoy, plan and present an excellent speech through a range of education programs.

A Toastmasters meeting is a learn-by-doing workshop in which participants hone their speaking and leadership skills in a no-pressure atmosphere. There is no instructor in a Toastmasters meeting. Instead, members evaluate one another’s presentations. This feedback process is a key part of the program’s success.

Meeting participants also give impromptu talks on assigned topics, conduct meetings and develop skills related to timekeeping, grammar and parliamentary procedure. Members learn communication skills by working in the Competent Communication manual, a series of 10 self-paced speaking assignments designed to instill a basic foundation in public speaking.

The unparalleled success of Toastmasters is testimony to its effectiveness in creating confident public speakers while the existence of so many lifelong members in every club indicates the social and recreational value members’ obtain from their weekly meetings.


Visit the Official Toastmasters International Website →