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One Trick Pony – A Toastmaster Area Director’s Diary

I joined Toastmasters in 2008, to learn to talk on an ad hoc basis without stumbling over my words or the content; that’ll be mastering Table Topics then!  Seven years on and if I’m honest, I still struggle to structure the content and finish with power.  I am a lot better than I was and I have managed to nail my Umms to the Mast.


As a trained teacher and commercial trainer I thought I’d whiz through the Competent Communicator Manual within a year.  (Ha!) What I found instead was that the Competent Leadership Manual gave me many more opportunities to hone my skills as a versatile speaker.  I finished this one first!

In some ways the title of the CL manual is a little misleading as it evaluates the management of meeting roles rather than leadership skills.  The thing is; no matter how good your communication skills, if you don’t get the management right, the leadership/communication get lost.  We’ve all know from personal experience what happens when we don’t plan and prepare – don’t we?

However, back to the point.  Every role within a Toastmaster’s meeting gives you an opportunity to not only practice your speaking skills but build your confidence in speaking up and trying out different styles of presenting.

For example during the course of any meeting you can be the:

    Toastmaster – to practice your introduction and facilitation skills

    Sargeant at Arms – to practice your assertive skills

    Time Keeper – to practice your entertaining skills

    President – to practice your Inspirational and motivational speaking skills

    Evaluator –  to practice giving effective feedback skills with little preparation time

    Topic Master – to practice storytelling skills

    Grammarian – to practice technical reporting skills

These are all advanced communication skills that as an Advanced Speaker you may choose to specialise in. In the meantime, when you get your role evaluated in your Competent Leadership Manual why don’t you ask the evaluator to specifically give you feedback on your style of presentation as well as any hints and tips to improve the task management.

A well run meeting is a pleasure to attend because you don’t notice the management – you notice the speeches!

TTM – Tiny Things Matter


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