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Author malw  Date 13 Apr 09, 14:54  Views 1952
Description Prepared speeches and Table Topics
Category Toastmasters  Type Information

Getting Started with a Toastmaster Club - Earning your CC

What speech projects are there for me to work on?
In the basic ('Communication and Leadership' manual), there are ten speech projects/stages:

    1 - Icebreaker - 4 to 6 minutes - getting over nervousness by introducing yourself to the club.
    2 - Organize Your Speech - 5 to 7 minutes - work on giving a well-organized speech.
    3 - Get To The Point - 5 to 7 minutes - Determine the general purpose and specific purpose of your speech topic. Continue to get over nervousness by speaking about something you believe deeply in. Project sincerity and conviction and control any nervousness you may feel.
    4 – How To Say It - 5 to 7 minutes - work on proper word choice, avoiding jargon and generalisations, etc.
    5 - Your Body Speaks - 5 to 7 minutes - Use stance, movement, gestures, facial expressions and eye contact to express your message and achieve your speech’s purpose.
    6 - Vocal Variety - 5 to 7 minutes - work on rate of delivery, volume, speed, pitch, emphasis, etc.
    7 – Research Your Topic - 5 to 7 minutes - Carefully support your points and opinions with specific facts, examples and illustrations gathered through research
    8 – Get Comfortable with Visual Aids - 5 to 7 minutes - Select visual aids that are appropriate for your message and the audience and use them correctly with ease and confidence
    9 – Persuade With Power - 5 to 7 minutes - Persuade listeners to adopt your viewpoint or ideas or to take some action
    10. Inspire Your Audience - 8 to 10 minutes - The final speech in the manual calls on you to move and inspire your audience in a well-presented and well-prepared speech.

As you can see, all ten projects above are wide-open for you to choose whatever topic you like. Even if you pick a controversial subject, most Toastmasters audiences will evaluate you on how well you presented your subject, not on whether they agreed with you or not.

What is Table Topics?
Table Topics is fun! It's also terrifying. Basically, it calls on you, the guest or member, to present a one to two minute impromptu speech on a subject not known to you until the moment you get up to speak! A member of the club assigned to be Topicsmaster will prepare a few impromptu topics and call on members (or guests, if they've given assent in advance to being called on) to stand up and speak on the topic.
Topics might include current events (e.g. 'What would you do about Haitian boat people if you were President?') or philosophy ('If you had no shoes and met a man who had no feet, how would you feel?') or the wacky ('Reach into this bag. Pull an item out. Tell us about it.').

What is Evaluation?

The Evaluation program is the third of the three main parts to the meeting. All prepared speakers, as noted above, should have their speaking manuals with them and should have passed them on to the evaluators beforehand. During the speech, and after, each person's evaluator should make written notes and furthermore, plan what to say during the two to three minute oral evaluation. Evaluation is tough to do well because it requires an evaluator to do more than say 'here's what you did wrong.' A good evaluator will say 'here's what you did well, and here's why doing that was good, and here are some things you might want to work on for your next speech, and here's how you might work on them.' It's important to remember that the evaluator is just one point of view, although one that has focused in on your speech closely.

What's all this emphasis on time limits?
As noted above, speeches have time limits, Table Topics have time limits (1-2 minutes, usually) and evaluations have time limits (2-3 minutes, usually). This is in order to drive home the point that a good speaker makes effective use of the time allotted and does not keep going and going and going until the audience is bored. In the real world, quite often there are practical limits on how long a meeting can or should go; by setting time limits on speeches and presentations, participants learn brevity and time management and the club meeting itself can be expected to end on schedule.

Time limits are rarely enforced to the letter. In only a few situations will you find yourself cut off if you go too long, and that's up to the individual club.

It is common for clubs to use a set of timing lights to warn the speakers of the advance of time. All speeches and presentations have a time limit expressed as an interval, e.g. 5 to 7 minutes. A green light would be shown at 5 minutes, amber at 6, and red at 7. In Table Topics, the lights would go 1, 1.5, and 2 minutes respectively. When the green light comes on, you've at least spoken enough, though you need not finish right away, and when the yellow light comes on, you should begin wrapping up. If you're not done by the time the red light comes on, you should finish as soon as possible without mangling the ending of your speech.

The only times you're actually *penalised* for going over or under time is in speaking competition; in speech contests (see the 'Contests FAQ') you must remain within the interval or be disqualified.
Some clubs hold an audience vote for 'best speaker,' 'best topic speaker,' and 'best evaluator' during the meeting and it's a practice in some clubs to disqualify people who go over or under time from these meeting awards. Check with the particular club to see what they do.

Why all this structure to the meeting?
If meetings sound complicated, we're sorry. Meetings generally are not complicated once you get used to the timing lights in the back and the different roles members of the group play. Since the average club is expected to have 20 or more members, you need a lot of roles for people to play in order to involve everyone. And, since meeting assignments vary from meeting to meeting, everyone gets practice doing everything over the course of several meetings. One meeting, you'll be assigned to give a speech; the next, you might be timer; the next, you might be the Toastmaster of the Meeting, running the whole show. It keeps you flexible and it keeps you from having to prepare a speech EVERY meeting, which would get old quickly.

What should my main objective be as a new Toastmasters member?
Well, there are two 'right' answers to this question. The first is that your main objective should be to attend every meeting you can and participate to the fullest, helping yourself and the other members of the club to become better communicators. The other 'right' answer is that you should be working toward the CTM award.

What does CC stand for?
It stands for 'Competent Communicator.' The CC is the basic speaking certification offered through Toastmasters. Many members join, earn their CC, and drop out of the organization. It's the basic 'diploma.' This award used to be called CTM.
What does CTM stand for?
It stands for 'Competent Toastmaster' a title now replaced with CC.

What do I have to do to earn a CC?
You have to complete the Communication and Leadership (C&L) manual, which in effect means you have to work your way through the ten speech projects contained therein. When you finish your manual, you'll complete the registration information in the back of the manual and send it in to World Headquarters in California.

Do I have to give all the speeches at Toastmasters club meetings?

No.You can give two speeches outside your Club as long as you are giving the speech to an audience with at least one Toastmasters member in attendance who evaluates your speech both written and orally. Permission must also be obtained beforehand from the Educational Vice President. You may count that speech toward a CC or ACB, ACS & ACG

Do I have to work through the C&L manual in the order the projects are given?
No. You can do the projects out of order if you like. It is recommended that you follow the order given since the projects progress upwards in difficulty but if you have a speech idea or opportunity that better suits one of the later projects you may skip over earlier ones and do that one first.

When I finish the CC what happens?
When you finish, there's a form in the back of your manual to fill out, sign, and send in to World Headquarters. When your paperwork is received at World Headquarters they enter it into the computer and you are issued a CC certificate. If you mark it on the registration sheet they will also send a letter to your employer letting them know. Also, when you send in the registration sheet you're asked which two advanced manuals you'd like copies of, so you can start working on the ACB.

    
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