There is no quick or easy way to become good at public speaking. Sure, you can read books on the subject. Yes, the internet means that it’s never been easier to find footage of some of the great speakers or to check out the latest TEDx talks. And of course practicing speaking in front of a mirror brings many benefits – you get used to hearing the sound of your own voice out loud (something that can feel strange and unfamiliar when you start public speaking) and you can observe your facial expressions as you speak.
But ultimately, learning to speak in public is a bit like learning to drive – there is no substitute for real live practice. And to practice public speaking, you need an audience. In Eblana Toastmasters, we are happy to be that audience.
So, what kind of an audience are we?
Encouraging – everyone in the club is here for the same reason; all of us are trying to improve our public speaking. You will hear lots of clapping at our meetings – each speaker gets a round of applause because we recognise that it takes guts to get up and speak when you are nervous or when you fear that you’ll forget what you want to say. We’ve all been in the same boat.
Easily entertained – Eblana, like almost all Toastmasters clubs, is a diverse group of people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities. It’s a pleasure for us to hear new stories, ideas, insights and opinions from our members and guests. Don’t worry about what you are going to say – everyone has something different to contribute and we are always entertained and often inspired or amused by these contributions. You will hear a lot of laughter at Toastmasters meeting; there is something about giving a person an audience and some speaking time that often brings out the inner stand-up comedian. The laughter of the audience also helps dispel any nervous tension in the speaker.
Supportive – in Toastmasters, we learn by doing. Nobody fails a project and you can learn at your own pace. Each speech you deliver is evaluated by an experienced member of the club who gives you feedback on what you did well and helpful tips on where you can improve. When you take your place in the audience and watch and listen to other speakers in the club, you get to see a variety of different speaking styles. This is a great learning resource; these are ordinary people often speaking extraordinarily well. When you chat to these club members at the interval or after the meeting and they openly tell you of their nerves or feeling of inadequacy when they first started coming to Toastmasters, you start to believe that with time and practice, you too can become a confident public speaker.
We’re your audience-in-waiting. Come try us out!