Grow Through Speaking

“we shall fight on the beaches,
we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender”

Those were powerful words. Words spoken by Winston Churchill in 1940. Words that pulled a nation together.

The words themselves are important but if they had been delivered differently would they have been effective? Would they have been remembered?


Ghhhwe shall UM fight on the beaches,
actually we shall fight on the landing grounds,
um um we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight you know in the hills;
and we shall I mean never surrender

It just doesn’t work, does it?

Being able to speak well is one of the most powerful life skills we can have.

Earlier this year I was at the elections for the new school governing body at King Edward VII school. A Mr Owusu was standing but he could not be at the meeting so he sent his 18 year old son to represent him. Owusu junior walked up to the lectern with confidence and clearly explained what his father could offer the school. He spoke well and with confidence. And he got his father elected.

Why? Because his speaking impressed us. Rightly or wrongly first impressions count and if you speak well the impression is that you are intelligent, capable, confident. And we assumed his father must be the same.

Speaking well opens doors of opportunity.

Where do we need to make good impressions ?- job interviews, dating, meeting new clients or the boss.

We all want something from our lives – it maybe money, position, good relationships, the opportunity to give. Certain skills and qualities make these easier to achieve. Apart from speaking what are some of the others?

Two big ones that come to mind are communication and confidence. Communication is not only speaking but listening as well.

We all feel quite confident about walking don’t we? Why? Because we know we have the skill to walk and because we have had positive experience of doing it. The same is true of gaining confidence in anything in life. Learn the basic skill and put it into practise. The more times it works the more confident you will feel.

Where do we learn these skills and gain this confidence? Well Owusu junior was in the school debating club and public speaking society . He was the deputy head boy of 2008 and he was the Mayor on the junior city council.

If we didn’t learn it at school what can we do?
We can join the local Toastmasters International club.

Toastmaster’s prepared speeches and table topics (impromptu speaking) are the debating society and public speaking club. Being on the committee is a chance to be the deputy head boy and being the area or divisional governor is being the junior mayor.

The TMI system has been designed to build the skills of communication and leadership and it gives people a safe space in which to practise so they have positive experiences and gain confidence. This then rubs off into other areas of their lives.

Many of us will rarely do prepared speaking in our daily lives but we all do much impromptu speaking. We introduce ourselves to people, we talk to clients, we talk to the manager or boss, we receive poor service from a company and we approach management to get it resolved or perhaps we get interviewed on the radio.

How do we develop impromptu speaking skills? Through prepared speaking. Think how say a tennis player becomes skilled at match play. They practise set shots over and over and then they practise them as a variety and then they use them as required in the game – spontaneously. The routine practise is used so that the skill is available for the spontaneous need.

The other half of TMI is leadership development.

In a business good leadership takes a company from good to great. But it is not only at work that we need leadership. Communities need leaders. Families need leaders. And we need to lead ourselves – organise ourselves, be punctual, take decisions, be accountable – so we can succeed for ourselves.

In Toastmasters this is learnt from the speaking projects and from the meeting roles.

When one puts leadership and communication together you can achieve most things.
You can inspire your team at work to put in a little more effort
you can help your teenager understand and enjoy their schoolwork
or you can persuade the bank to refund you the interest they over charged.

The TMI system is designed to give members the opportunity to develop these communication and leadership skills. But perhaps the greatest benefit of working the TMI system is the sense of achievement you feel for achieving your own personal goal. Whether that be to complete an Advanced Communicator gold or just to be able to stand up in front of people without your knees knocking. Or maybe it is to be the Club Secretary or the next District Governor.

So whether you want to inspire a nation or just your little girl; lead an army into battle or your team to an increased turnover; work the toastmaster system and it will work for you.

For information on your nearest club – phone or e-mail as per the moving banner at the top of this site


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