Mt Sheridan Club believes that learning needs to be fun and that skills associated with public speaking develop most easily and naturally when practised in a warm, friendly supportive environment. With the support of Club members the fear of public speaking can be tamed.
Toastmasters meetings follow a prepared programme that includes a variety of segments designed to stretch and enhance your communication skills in different situations.
Members are given various roles or duties to undertake during the course of the meeting to encourage maximum participation and interaction. Some of the roles and activities you may encounter would be:
One person will perform the role of Toastmaster which is really like being a Master of Ceremonies (MC) for the evening. The Toastmaster introduces each segment and speakers of the evening and keeps the programme flowing.
At each meeting a number of people will deliver prepared speeches. Members receive manuals that outline different assignments or speeches they can tackle and they receive awards at the completion of every ten speeches.
A feature of Toastmasters is their use of evaluations. Each speech and indeed every aspect of the meeting is evaluated by other members. Evaluations help us learn and improve through positively acknowledging the efforts of speakers, constructive feedback as to what has worked well and what could be improved and encouragement.
This is a session designed to sharpen peoples’ ability to speak in public without time for preparation. Topics are given to members who attempt to speak for between 1 – 2 minutes. The aim is to present your talk in the format of a speech and respond appropriately to the topic in a manner that is also engaging to the audience.
One person is allocated to listen acutely and monitor whether speakers are using ‘nonsense’ fillers, like ‘um’, ‘ah’, ‘so’, ‘you know’, ‘OK’, ‘really’, … the sorts of words and phrases that we often use to disguise our nervousness or discomfort with pauses or silence, or inability to think of something more appropriate. At the end of the meeting this person will give a tally of how speakers fared.
Another person will be the grammarian for the night and their task is to present and expand upon a word, phrase or point of grammar. Members are encouraged to use this word throughout the evening. The grammarian also notes speakers’ use of grammar throughout the evening and comments upon excellent usage and points for improvement
A timer is appointed to time each segment and speech so assist the programme to keep to schedule.
A Listening critic pays attention to the content of what is spoken about and compiles questions to test how well participants have been listening.