Imagine if you would a room full of people, all there for a common cause to support each other in self development - public speaking.
Some people are there to overcome Glossophobia, speach anxiety or the fear of public speaking, whilst others aim to reduce the amount of verbal diarrhea that they spout.
Toastmasters, and in particular the West Herts Speakers group (http://www.west-herts-speakers.org.uk/) is a structured meeting that provides a great learning environment, a highly supportive and motivational atmosphere and a fantastic place to make friends. All of which is achieved in a fun and relaxed manner.
Last night's meeting was no disappointment and we had fabulous speakers with a range of topics:
- Andrew's speach, "A Beautiful Game" was so articulate with gorgeous phrasings and wonderful use of language to describe the game of Rugby. I have to say that this was an inspirational talk and it's the only time I've been able to understand what it's all about, apart from the beauty of the physical male form!
- following Andrew was Barbara with a speech entitled "Arachnophobia". Yes you've guessed it, the speech was about an incident with a spider. Barbara's language was visionary and I was there with her in the room, curled on the chair with the 'creature' in the corner.
- the last speech of the evening was Stuart with "Sunday Lunch". Of course this wasn't just your usual once a week spread but a special gathering with many friends. His movements were fluid, his manner engaging and his language inviting. It was so interesting hearing the reasons for people not being able to make his supper as well as the special event itself.
I didn't speak myself last night as I had the important role of 'Madam Timekeeper'.
At toastmasters, speeches are timed so that speakers learn to be concise. The aim is to talk within a set period and within that time to get your point across in an interesting and informative way. This prevents any wandering off the subject and focuses the mind.
There are also Toastmasters competitions and if you go over your time you would be disqualified.
At the next meeting, in January 2010, I am going to be speaking. The skill I have to display, at level 6, is Vocal Variety as my voice is a link between me and my listeners.
A good speaking voice is pleasant, natural, forceful, expressive and easily heard.
I'll let you know how I get on and what comments I receive.
For now, this was the last Toastmasters meeting for 2009 (boo!) so until next year I'd like to wish all of my fellow speakers a very happy Christmas.
Ho, Ho, Ho,
tel: 07841 519802