Freelance writer specialising in serendipity: the art of finding wonderful things by accident or sagacity. Comments and suggestions always welcome!
Published August 8th 2013
It's not just for politicians
Western Australia's latest star is about to jet off to compete at the highest level in his field, which isn't tennis or cricket but public speaking. Public speaking? Absolutely. Every year Toastmasters hosts an International Speech Contest in which nine contestants from all over the world compete for the title of World Champion of Public Speaking. Martin Lindsay, a member of Toastmaster club Guildford Stars, has already won at the local and state level and his next stop is Cincinnati, Ohio for the semi-finals. While more dedicated than some, Martin isn't a professional speaker, just someone who is making the most of the skills he's learned at Toastmasters.
Martin Lindsay is off to the World Championships
Toastmasters International began in the United States in 1924. Today there are clubs in 116 countries with more than 50 clubs in Western Australia, all offering communication and leadership development in a friendly and supportive environment.
It all sounds very worthy, and it is, but it's important to realise that Toastmaster meetings can be a great deal of fun. The speeches are always interesting, whether humorous, sad or inspiring. Table Topics™ is a segment where audience members are asked for a brief response to a question. This provides a great opportunity to practice impromptu speaking skills as well as an entertaining variety of answers. Most clubs also enjoy socialising at a tea or supper break.
No long boring speeches here
The Competent Communicator™ program teaches all aspects of public speaking. Each of the ten speeches focuses on different skills, such as a strong opening and conclusion. All speakers learn to pay attention to timing too, with a traffic light system to keep them on track. Each speech is evaluated with commendations and constructive criticism. Once the basic program is completed there are many advanced programs to choose from such as Storytelling or Technical Presentations.
The Competent Leadership™ program can be done separately or in conjunction with the communication program. Participants learn how to give feedback, run publicity campaigns and many other valuable skills.
Toastmasters are keen to share their knowledge and skills and visitors are always welcome. With so many clubs in Western Australia, there's bound to be a day and time that will suit you. Every club is different so if you don't feel comfortable at the first one, try another. Who knows where your journey will end?