Raise A Glass To The Toastmasters

The Al Barsha Toastmasters Club. An awesome night in.

Speaking is an artform. At its most beautiful it becomes poetry and song, at its worst, it’s more like fingernails down a chalk board.

Full respect to anybody who stands up to share their thoughts.

It takes guts and lots of courage and the knowledge about the consequences if it all goes wrong is enough to prevent most people from ever finding their potential.

I recently visited the Al Barsha Toastmasters Club.

Despite the parking ticket I received, it was great to see how many organizations are helping people to find their voice onstage and just how welcome complete strangers can make you feel.

It was a joy.

What a gorgeous bunch of people.

Very talented and generous.

I even won the Best Speaker Award for their innovative Tabletop Improvisation session.

Years of thinking aloud in the spotlight finally paid off.

So I wanted to share some observations which may help you take the first step to speak in public wherever you are. If you are already a seasoned raconteur, you may be able to add to these in the comments section too.

  1. Be fearless. Act as if you know what you are doing and your performance will follow suit. The audience doesn’t know what to expect so you don’t have to share how nervous you feel.
  2. The audience doesn’t care about you. I know it’s harsh, but what they do want is a constructive use of their time. Make sure you respect that and they will applaud you for it.
  3. The audience wants you to do well. It’s logical. If you give a good performance, then they learn something and enjoy the experience. Make sense.
  4. Stop being too tough on yourself. Be firm but remember that as long as you can communicate, you will have other opportunities to improve in the future.
  5. There are plenty of people who can help. Mentors, coaches and more seasoned speakers can all give their advice. Take everything with a pinch of salt, drop it into a bag of constructive criticism and pick out whatever you can actually use to move forward.
  6. Watch You Tube. You don’t have to reinvent the shape of the wheel. It’s round. But there are many wonderfully different ways to show it. Similarly, watch experts speak and choose the style that you’d like to wear. It’s like a coat. You’ll also be surprised how few people will know where you got it from.
  7. Know your audience. Your speech may be aimed at a different set of people. In which case, pre-frame it before you get into the core part of the material. Let them know that this will help them understand their kids, their boss, their staff, their gym coach, their partner, their parents, their overseas Facebook friends better. Then they will get what you mean faster.
  8. Animate. Energy engages. Never overdo it to the point of distraction but remember to give them options that engage their eyes, ears, feelings, thoughts, emotions and imagination.
  9. Treat it like an MTV unplugged performance. Remember when MTV actually played music? Your PowerPoint, your videos, your animations, your colours and presentation style all are there to aid the audience experience. Use them and bake a cake of awesome imagery that they will never forget.
  10. Smile. They are going to go into a trance state an resonate with you. Therefore you owe them the courtesy of letting them enjoy what you share. Painful isn’t fun. Even emotional speeches don’t have to hurt when you can lift them back up after you’ve ,made your point.
  11. Lastly, remember above all, the audience is thinking one thing and one thing only…

‘What’s in it for me?’

Respect that and always deliver a show that leaves them better off than they were before you started speaking.

I wish you the very best of luck in your speaking career.

It will change your life.

There are Toastmasters chapters in about 120+ countries and they make an excellent place to find your feet and grow as a communicator.

You can come to one of my courses too.

Just learn to speak… Want to join me? Dave Crane recently won the He is also an award-winning broadcaster, Connect with Dave directly and watch his online motivational TV show ‘Turbo Charge Your Brand TV’ for business tips and interviews with Jack Canfield, Brian Tracy and Dr John Grey. NLP hypnotherapistspeaker coach. In his career, he’s run radio stations, coached many of the world’s favourite brands and worked alongside some of the biggest names in entertainment and sports. Al Arouwad/ MTV award as the best motivational speaker in the MENA region. His events include 17 years hosting Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens .

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