Toastmasters

Snoopy gives a speech

I joined Toastmasters International, mainly because I wanted to be able to improve my ability to express myself verbally. Several years and many speeches later, I'm not sure I've wholly achieved that aim, but I'm not so self-conscious on those occasions when I still stammer or my face blooms. Toastmasters will certainly make you more confident, though to be honest that's never been a problem of mine. I've also learned to speak off-the-cuff, evaluate effectively, and I have vastly improved my leadership skills (I have been both club Vice President Education and President). I can't recommend Toastmasters highly enough. Click here to find a club near you.

In addition to giving prepared speeches, toastmasters also hone their improvisation skills with Table Topics. Toastmasters are also encouraged to take on the rotating roles of Toastmaster, Timekeeper, Grammarian, Table Topics Master. I've had a bash at each one of them more than once.

I've posted my speeches online, not (solely) for ego, but because I enjoy listening to and reading other peoples' speeches, and there are very few on the web; this is my small contribution to changing that. If you read the speeches in the order I delivered them you might notice that the main lesson I've learned is to recognise the difference between writing an essay and a speech. So, here are links to most of my speeches. I hope you enjoy them.

No 1 Speech: The Icebreaker: The Gift

No 2 Speech: Speaking with Sincerity: Dyslexia Lures

No 3 Speech: Organise Your Speech: Tied up in Knots

No 4 Speech: Show What You Mean: Hold the Toast

No 5 Speech: Vocal Variety: Raising the Fair Lady Rhiannon

No 6 Speech: Work With Words: Tall Poppies

No 7 Speech: Apply Your Skills: Close Encounter

No 8 Speech: Add Impact to Your Speech: Something Else to Worry About

No 9 Speech: Persuade With Power: Rocking the Boat

No 10 Speech: Inspire Your Audience: On Target

Advanced Speech: The Entertaining Speech A Real Imp

Advanced Speech: Speaking to Inform: Judging a Book by Its Cover

Advanced Speech: The Entertaining Speaker: A Dish Best Served Cold

Advanced Speech: Speaking to Inform: FGM

Advanced Speech: The Entertaining Speaker: Life's a Gas

Advanced Speech: The Entertaining Speaker: The Room

Advanced Speech: Speaking to Inform: Where Is the Motivation?

Advanced Speech: Speaking to Inform: It's a Fact

Advanced Speech: Speaking to Inform: The God Spot

Advanced Speech: The Entertaining Speaker: The View From the Crowd

Advanced Speech: Storytelling: Lake Illawarra and the Five Islands

Advanced Speech: Storytelling: The Frog and the Scorpion

Advanced Speech: Interpretive Reading Story : The Followers,  Dylan Thomas ― There isn't a script for this speech as it would breach copyright. I did enjoy this one. I read it in a Welsh accent (of course), and there were those among the audience who thought I was Welsh.

Advanced Speech: Interpretive Reading Poem: Wild Grapes,  Robert Frost ― There isn't a script for this speech in case it would breach copyright, though it can be read here. Now this one I read in an English accent, as I didn't want to be "the one who always does the accents", though it would have been much better read with an American accent.

Advanced Speech: Interpretive Reading Monodrama: Alice Fisher,  Willis Hall ― There isn't a script for this speech in case as it would breach copyright. Oh, I did make a hack of this! My mind went utterly blank at the second paragraph. Once I got over that, for the first time (and I hope the last) my mouth and throat dried up utterly and totally so that my lips stuck to my teeth, my tongue felt like a rasp. You'd never think I'd performed the role of Alice Fisher on stage to a paying public. Ah well, my Yorkshire accent was fairly faultless.

Demonstration Speech: Life's A Gas. This was a reworking of a speech I originally did for The Entertaining Speaker. This version worked much better. I delivered it at Holborn Speakers Club as a demonstration speech for their annual Evaluation Contest. It went down very well, though some said I was sailing close to the wind!

Humorous Speech: Midlife Crisis― I wrote this speech a year or so earlier for a Toastmasters competition, but didn't attend the competition for some long-forgotten reason. However, it came in useful when I delivered it at a social evening at Parkside Players.

Well, did you enjoy them? I'd love to hear your comments (I think)