Practice makes perfect, but how much practice is enough? For Toastmasters looking to speak beyond their weekly or bi-weekly meetings, check out the ideas below to get you going.
6) Host a Speech-a-Thon
Especially for clubs with 30 to 40 active members, having enough speaking opportunities at the regular meetings can be a challenge. A few times per year, you can turn one of the meetings into a special event with just speeches and evaluations. If you don’t have enough interested members, turn this into a joint meeting with another Toastmasters club!
5) Visit Other Clubs
As a Toastmaster, you can visit any open club across the world. Talk about expanding your network! Just click here to enter your location and find other nearby clubs. Some may be open to having a guest speaker, but keep in mind that their members should get first priority on speaking slots.
Bonus: District 4 Toastmasters has a Club Ambassador Program where you can earn status for sharing what you learn at clubs around the world. And if you find yourself visiting the same club often, consider becoming a member and holding dual membership!
4) Join Speakers For Stagetime (S4S)
If your club struggles with filling speaker slots each week, consider having an officer conduct the Moments of Truth module to evaluate the club and member experience. Regularly slating guest speakers could be a red flag. However, if you’re simply seeking a last minute replacement, join the S4S group and email its members with meeting details.
As a speaker, you can join S4S and mass-send a request for speaking opportunities, but it’s much more effective to reach out to individual clubs. Build relationships and rapport by networking at district events.
3) Participate in Contests
Speech contests now take place annually in the spring, so these opportunities are limited but effective. Competing on any level or watching in the audience is a valuable learning opportunity. As past World Champion of Public Speaking contender Kelly Sargeant said, “You don’t compete because you’re the best. You compete to become the best.”
Even if you’re not interested in competing, contest chairs are constantly seeking functionaries like Toastmaster and Chief Judge. These are excellent opportunities to hone audience engagement while following a pre-written, suggested script.
2) Host a Workshop
Even though Pathways rolled out in District 4, you can still find modules for the Successful Club Series, Better Speaker Series, and Leadership Excellence Series on the Toastmasters website. These interactive sessions are 1 to 3 hours long and are advanced speaking practice beyond the usual 5 to 7 minute speech.
Since these are difficult to fit within a regular club meeting, you can find a venue and invite others to attend. Create a registration page and marketing materials to promote your workshop to Toastmasters outside your club. Yes, you can develop your project management skills while pursuing speaking opportunities!
1) Step into Leadership
By far, being a club or district leader is one of the best speaking opportunities that exist. While it IS an additional time commitment, the arsenal of gained communication skills are invaluable. These can include interpersonal communication, conflict resolution, copywriting, and development of training programs.
Ultimately, it comes down to building relationships with others and growing confidence. Isn’t that what speaking is about? If you’re interested in club leadership, ask to shadow a fellow officer. If you’re ready for district leadership, email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check out this blog post for tips on encouraging leaders.
Got more ideas to share on speaking opportunities? Post in the comments section below!