HubSpot Toastmasters Blog

   

Learn how to speak well in 5 easy steps

Posted by Loree McDonald

Jan 6, 2014, 1:30 PM

speaker_imagesource

1) Just do it

You will never improve unless you get out there and practice! Speaking in team meetings, during events, and with your peers are great ways to gain some confidence. The opportunity to speak in front of a large group doesn't always present itself, but this is why we have Toastmasters meetings with several varieties of speaking roles (planned, improvised, instructional, anecdotal) - so that you can practice in a secure but realistic environment. 

2) Speak about something you know about 

The best speeches are about topics the speaker knows about - topics that they are passionate about sharing with others on topics in which they want to express their opinion. It can be a process you perfected, something job-related you have spent some time doing, or something you really think is important for others to take note of in their perspective. 

3) Don't fill the silence with sound

A speaker's biggest weakness is filling the silence between points with unnecessary transitional words like "ah," "um," "so," "and then," "like," etc. The use of these words will weaken your presence in front of others and will distract from your real take-away. If you made a strong argument, let that moment sit in the air before diving into your next talking point. This is a good practice exercise in normal conversation with peers or clients.

4) Ask for feedback from a peer or leader

Once you have given a speech or spoken in front of a group, going to a peer or leader and asking for feedback is a great way to hone in on your potential weaknesses. For example, I would suggest saying: "Hey I am working on speaking in front of others, but I'd love to hear how I came across to the group when I just spoke. Was there anything in there you thought was something I could improve on?" Toastmasters is a great way to do this because the actual structure of the meeting allows your peers to provide timely and constructive feedback in a safe setting.

5) Practice what you feedback you received 

Once you've spoken and received any feedback (including feedback you give yourself), pay attention to when you repeat these mistakes. If you're a transition-word enthusiast (like myself) pay attention to how often you use these words when talking to customers or peers. If you wander around when speaking, try finding a power-stance that really works with any future speeches you might give. If you tend to not make eye-contact enough, work on this when in normal conversation with peers. 

 

There are so many great ways to improve during our meetings as well as in normal day-to-day situations, you just have to realize that "the world is a stage" and anytime you're speaking - it should be speaking to be heard. Feel free to contact any of the ToastSpot officers for more information on getting a mentor to help you in your journey! 

About the ToastSpot Blog

Welcome to the ToastSpot blog!

Here you can find articles on:

  • How to get the most out of Toastmasters
  • Examples of awesome speeches
  • Announcements about upcoming events
  • How to come up with ideas for your next speech
  • Highlights from recent meetings, including some of the entertaining and inspiring speeches from our members

Have requests? Reach out to us - we'd love to know what YOU want to read about. We also welcome guest bloggers - feel free to come to us with suggestions for your next article.

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