Raise a toast to your confidence with Toastmasters

Immanuel Adriana Rakshana
Wednesday, April 18, 2012

So there you are standing in front of a packed audience…Ready to deliver your speech….adrenaline pumping, heart beating against your chest…wobbling knees, sweaty palms…We all have our own share of stage fright. Even the best speakers of today were once terrified newbies, feeling the same symptoms as you when facing an audience. But with proper training and practice you become a good speaker. And that’s exactly what the Toastmaster Program does… The first time when you come face to face with the disaster you always dreaded you feel a pang of nervousness, but when the audience actually begins to listen to you, you get a rush of confidence. Speech by speech, step by step, you move forward towards the imaginary speaker you saw in the mirror but never thought would be possible in reality! Toastmaster Gavel clubs are those clubs that cater to all the avid public speakers under the age of 18 who wish to polish their skills and gain confidence.

So here are 10 reasons why I believe you should join Toastmasters…

1.Education – Develop valuable communications skills. People generally value, seek out, hire, and promote people who communicate effectively. A lot of people are not bad at public speaking. But “are not bad” is not good enough, especially not if we are living in such a competitive world where every other person is almost a master at the art of Public Speaking. But fortunately public speaking is a skill that can be studied, polished, more or less perfected. Toastmasters does a fabulous job at helping people shape up their communication skills and helping them reach the pinnacle of success. Toastmasters does wonders to our self-confidence and our self-esteem. You will come to appreciate yourself more, to have greater confidence in yourself.

2.Fun – It’s fun, too! Toastmasters is a great outlet to share your creative side, a neat way to learn more about others, and not a single meeting goes by that we don’t all share a laugh together. Our main motto is to make Learning Fun.

3.Evaluation - Gain valuable personal feedback: Toastmasters will help you become aware of how others perceive your public speaking skills. Each speaker gets evaluation from each and every member of what they felt were the strong points and some constructive feedback. Specific evaluators are also assigned to evaluate your speeches, who give you a detailed analysis of your speech including your strong points and the points you should improve too.

4.Awesome mentors – Each Club is assigned specific advanced toastmasters from the Adult clubs to mentor the students and help them in their endeavour to enhance their Communication skills, along with many other facets of speaking like imagination, creativity, etc.

5.Socialise and acquire some new friends! - Through Toastmasters, you will have a chance to meet people from various walks of life – people you probably wouldn’t have had the chance to meet otherwise. We get to learn different techniques from the various other speakers. The main essence of Toastmasters is to improve and help others improve. The students partaking in this endeavour are from various schools in Kuwait and each club is catered to different age groups, thus making it a fun learning experience for all.

6.Leadership - Toastmasters provides an opportunity to sharpen leadership skills. Members in Toastmasters are often asked to run meetings and other activities that would sharpen leadership skills.

7.Teamwork Skills – As a part of the Executive Committee, you are entitled to work with other elected members to help improve the club in various contexts.

8.Opportunities – Club contests are held every once in a while to select the candidates who shall represent their club for the various events, like the International Speech, Table topics and Tall Tales in the Inter-gavel Contest. The Inter-gavel contest is a great platform where the selected candidates from the various clubs compete against each other to showcase oratory talents.

9.Various clubs to choose from all over Kuwait – There are numerous Gavel in Kuwait catering to various kinds of people located all over Kuwait. These clubs are located in Salmiya, Rumaithiya, Abu Halifa, Abbasiya, etc.

10.For Adults – And for all the parents and adults reading this article, who believe that their Communication Skills too need a bit of polishing, the adult toastmaster clubs can cater to your needs.

A Typical Toastmaster Session

• The meeting is usually a two hour session and it begins with the president welcoming all the members and guests, followed by the Introduction session, where everyone introduces themselves, followed by the Toastmaster reading out the Agenda and calling upon the Table topics Master who will anchor the next session of the meeting - The Table topics session.

• The Table topics session is where members are asked to give an impromptu speech about the topic presented to them in accordance with the theme for the meeting. Participation in this segment of the meeting enhances our ability to think on the spot and develops our creativity and imagination. After which there is a short break where members and guests have opportunity to socialize and some refreshments are usually supplied.

• After this, the second session begins, which is the Prepared Speeches, where two to four speeches typically of 5 - 7 minutes duration are given by the members. In this section, assigned members practice their public speaking skills by giving a prepared presentation from one of the Communication and Leadership Program manuals. Each project in a manual has specific objectives in areas that help members practice different speaking techniques. The objectives are designed as guidelines to help you think about the various qualities that comprise a good speech. Some members may be just beginners, while others may be more advanced. Remember, as you learn from each project, you will be able to reach and exceed the various goals you may have set for yourself.

•The last and most important session is the Evaluation Session, during this session; members practice their listening and evaluation skills. Assigned members will give evaluations of the prepared speeches and of the meeting as a whole. These evaluations provide feedback of how the evaluators saw the presenters and will point out the positive aspects of the speech and some possible areas for improvement. Good evaluation is the hallmark of a good Toastmaster. The meeting usually ends with the VP Education setting the Agenda for the next meeting and mentor’s feedback and remarks on the meeting followed by the President’s message.

The club that I currently go to is the Brainiax Gavel Club located in Salmiya and is catered to students Grade 9 and above. It is ideally located within Better Books and Café which is a treasure trove of learning having books to quench the immense thirst of knowledge. It is mentored by Mr. Anil Lobo.
Anyone interested in joining this program can contact Mr. Anil Lobo, our extremely charismatic mentor for further details. Come check out a meeting as a Guest! If you see how you can benefit from being a part of our club, join us as a Member.

Mr. Anil Lobo –99283020

Pic taken from http://www.toastmasters.org/logos

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Immanuel Adriana Rakshana
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