Prepared speeches are at the heart of the Toastmasters educational program. They hone skills that give a competitive edge in the workplace, key being à communicate effectively and with confidence.
To understand how prepared speeches can enable career advancement, an event called Using Prepared Speeches for Career Success – Panel Discussion was hosted by Toastmasters District 60 on September 26, 2022, in which three topics were discussed. Below are some of the key takeaways from each of the three topics discussed:
Benefits of giving prepared speeches to career success:
The skills-set learned through prepared speeches helps you to differentiate yourself in the eyes of senior management. People receive promotions and land jobs due to their superior communication skills.
- Effective Communication is a skills-set that includes multiple aspects such as structure, use of vocal variety and audience engagement. While several opportunities to speak exist at a Toastmasters meeting, ‘prepared speeches’ is the only component through which you will learn the complete skills-set of effective communication.
- Like all skills, this skills-set takes time to develop and maintain for which practice and ongoing practice is key. Hence, it is important to keep giving prepared speeches i.e. use it or lose it.
- Practice builds confidence. The more you give, the less self-conscious you become.
- Practice a job-related presentation in front of a Toastmasters audience and receive feedback that will help you create a positive impression on the workplace audience.
- Pathways, the Toastmasters educational program, is a career-focused program, with a plethora of paths focused on skill sets applicable in the workplace. Some examples are Innovative Planning, Strategic Relations and Dynamic Leadership.
- Each path is rich in its offering of core competencies through its numerous electives for a deep dive as one proceeds through the higher levels.
- The educational program allows you to discover your strengths as a speaker – the kind of speaker you are or would like to be – and pursue the program to your personal advantage.
- Importantly, a Toastmasters club is a supportive environment that helps you overcome the fear of speaking in front of an audience. It’s a safe place to practice.
How to make speeches less effort and more fun
Writing speeches can seem like too much effort, but if approached with the right attitude, can be less effort while being more fun.
- Give speeches that are meaningful to your career while developing skills that you can apply to your career.
- Give speeches at a frequency that you can maintain consistently.
- Where possible, use ‘no extra time’ (NET) on your speeches by combining activities that do not conflict, such as thinking of a topic while you are engaged in swimming or rehearsing your speech on your morning walk.
- Give speeches on topics that have personal meaning for you, one that you are excited to share with others.
- Have a basic structure you can use repeatedly like a template. An example would be: 1) Tell them what you are going to tell them, 2) Tell them, and then 3) Tell them what you just told them.
- Leverage technology such as voice recording and transcribing by dictating ideas as they come to you and then fleshing out what you want to keep.
- Consider repeating speeches at other clubs or repurposing the same speech with different objectives and audiences in mind.
- Before giving a speech, put yourself in a positive frame of mind through positive self-talk and self prophecy, e.g., “That was fun! I really enjoyed that!”
- If you have doubts about giving speeches, always remember WHY you signed up for Toastmasters in the first place.
How to make Pathways works for you
Technology in its introductory phase can be daunting, as was Pathways, which is digitalized compared to the legacy program with paper manuals to browse through.
- After getting past the user interface related learning curve, navigating the program does get easier. One discovers that Pathways is truly an opportunity and not an obligation.
- Pathways is specifically designed to hone skill-sets relevant to one’s career. The program offers a wide array of paths dedicated to different skill sets from which to choose.
- There are many hidden gems to be found with instructions on how to complete a project correctly. For instance, there are embedded videos that show exactly how to successfully achieve the assignment, complete with mannerisms and etiquettes to follow. Some examples are how to deliver a speech evaluation or conduct a panel discussion.
- Pathways offers many core competencies to practice through a rich selection of elective projects, which allows the opportunity to explore and develop a skill with greater depth and gain true mastery over it.
- Through its several paths, Pathways is an opportunity to grow in new and different ways and shape oneself into a specific kind of speaker of one’s liking.
- Pathways is especially relevant in the current environment which is a mix of digitalized and in-person audiences where versatility in communication is an advantage that sets you apart.