Your First Speech
The first speech is always the hardest. All sorts of questions, from choosing a topic, to the style of speech, to how to present it, are constantly keeping new members awake. Remember, speakers never look as nervous as they may actually be. Show your confidence and nobody will ever know that your palms were sweating or your heart was beating many times faster than normal. After all, this fear, this anxiety is what we are here to learn to control. There is no better way to release those butterflies from your stomach than to begin speaking in front of a crowd. Your first speech at any Toastmasters club will be the “Icebreaker”. It is a short 4-6 minute speech allowing the speaker introduce themselves to the audience, fellow club members. When you join, the club will order a Competent Communicator manual for you, which will guide you through your first assignment. If you have not yet received your manuals, you can download the electronic file here. Keep in mind that we are all here to help you. Good luck!
There are three Excel-based templates to use as a starting point for a meeting agenda — one for each of 1, 2 or 3 planned speeches. Feel free to add, change or remove rows as you see fit. Just make sure that the formulas for the starting times are updated appropriately so the times make sense. If you have a non-standard speech time or some “special occasion” role to add, just ensure that the leftmost column in the spreadsheet (not visible in the printed agenda) contains the maximum amount of time allocated to that role. The various other start times will be updated automatically whenever the values in those fields are adjusted. Right-click the following links and select “Save Target As…” to download the spreadsheet to your computer.
It is the responsibility of the chairperson for each meeting to prepare the agenda ahead of time, and bring enough copies for the “usual” number of meeting attendees to use. (This is typically around 15 copies)
Speech Evaluation Templates
It is very useful to our speakers to receive feedback from every audience member in addition to the speech evaluator. For this reason, we have created individual speech evaluation forms. These provide a lightweight way for audience members to provide comments about things that worked well, as well as opportunities for improvement for each speaker. We recommend that the chairperson bring sufficient copies of these individual evaluation forms that every audience member can have one form to evaluate every speech. Since there are 4 of these small forms per page, we recommend the following assuming 15 audience members per meeting:
- For meetings with 1 speech, bring 4 pages of individual forms (4 x 4 = 16)
- For meetings with 2 speeches, bring 8 pages of individual forms
- For meetings with 3 speeches, bring 12 pages of individual forms
It may be useful for the chairperson to enlist the help of some early attendees to fold and tear apart the forms before the meeting starts. Right-click the following links and select “Save Target As…” to download the spreadsheet to your computer.
How to Evaluate Speeches, Table Topics, and the Meeting (General Evaluator)
If you have never performed the roles of Speech Evaluator, Table Topics Evaluator or General Evaluator, the prospect of providing these evaluations can be daunting. For this reason, we have prepared an educational article with useful templates for performing each role. Right-click the following link and select “Save Target As…” to download the document to your computer.