I have been involved with Casterbridge Speakers since it started in 2008 – that’s getting on for four years. It was never my intention to complete the Competent Communicators manual within my fourth year … more like my first. However! I have learnt more about being a proficient public speaker from the facilitation roles I have played in the club meetings than I have from the prepared speeches. For that I am truly grateful.
The latest thing I have learnt is how important it is to brief your Toastmaster about how you want to be introduced.
We are taught that when we deliver a speech we should consider and appeal to the needs of our audience. The Toastmaster’s one minute introduction to your speech is your opportunity to prepare the audience as to what is going to happen next.
If your speech is a serious and thought provoking one, then you may wish to have the audience in a reflective mood prior to your opening. If you intend to deliver an up beat and humorous speech you might prefer a Roast rather than a Toast. If your speech is an inspirational one then some edicts around how you’ve inspired before should add some authority.
The Toastmaster’s role is not to hijack your subject matter; instead it should be a subtle introduction to you, your credibility and your subject that leaves the audience with eager anticipation of your opening.
Help the Toastmaster to pitch the tone of your speech. Talk to them about what you intend to deliver and how you see yourself portrayed. Give them the information they need to introduce you in a way that will ensure your opening has the powerful impact that you had envisaged.