Thursday, March 22, 2007

I've Joined the Toastmasters!

I've recently joined the Liberty Village Toastmasters. The name perhaps evokes the spirit of another time but Toastmasters is a very relevant organization for today. The picture from my induction ceremony: me on the right, and Ian Garmaise, the club President on the left. Ian had introduced me to the club. We have a neat connection because we are also both fans of the Python programming language. We'd first met at PyGTA, the Toronto Python Users Group. Toastmasters is a bit like a DIY communications class. At the weekly meetings we are working on our communication and presentation skills among many other things. Learning to refine and hone the delivery of ideas for impact all the while feeling natural in front of the audience you are addressing. But the best part is probably all the smart, interesting and generous people I've met at this group. My first speech, known as an Ice Breaker, is only two weeks away. I'm getting nervous just thinking about it.
At last week's meeting on March 14th, Ted Blanchard gave a great educational talk with some tips. I noted down only a scant few of them that I've tried to summarize here: Set Goals - there are a series of 10 speeches in the first stage of the Toastmasters. Put yourself on a regular schedule, like a speech every 4 weeks. Topic Generation Exercise. Make a Speech Topic List in 15 minutes by getting a pen and a piece of paper and writing down:
  • 5 current events
  • 5 things you enjoy doing
  • 5 things that bug you
  • 5-20 action words
Learn to do an outline. An outline is not finished thinking, just the waypoints your speeches' route. It gets you out of the editing chaos of continual revision.

No comments: