As Toastmasters, we like to get out occasionally.
Speaking at outside events and holding workshops helps spread the word about the Toastmaster organisation and how it can help people improve their communication and leadership skills.
It attracts members to the club.
And it gives our members valuable experience of speaking outside the club to an unfamiliar audience.
On Monday evening 9 members from Waverley Communicators – Brian Duffy, Stephen Dix, Louise Kirk, Kirsten McKenzie, Graeme Buck, Paul Bailey, Duncan Thompson, Finlay Cooke and I – held an event for the WIBF (Women in Banking and Finance) at the offices of State Street Financial Services in Edinburgh.
We ran it like a 2 hour club meeting.
I was the TME, Duncan and Kirsten shared the Timer’s duties, Paul and Finlay were the Table Topics masters, and Graeme and Brian evaluated the TT’s.
After a short introduction to TMI and introductions round the room, I handed the floor over to Stephen who gave a 5 minute presentation on the TMI education programme.
Louise followed with a presentation Hear Me. She spoke about the ways in which women, in the workplace, can sometimes sabotage their communication by their body language and the words they use and gave 7 ways to help women stop undermining themselves.
In a 5 minute presentation, Speaking Off The Cuff, Brian introduced the importance of being able to speak without preparation and highlighted the fact that it’s a crucial skill to master, especially in business.
After the break, Paul and Finlay delivered 2 Table Topics sessions with Graeme and Brian evaluating, and Duncan and Kirsten doubling up as Timers and Table Topics speakers.
There was no shortage of volunteers from the audience to have a go at a Table Topic and 2 of the speakers (1 in each session) were awarded a ribbon for best TT. The standard was high and everyone spoke for nearly 2 minutes each.
After Table Topics, we conducted a Q&A session where we answered several questions such as ‘what do I do when I go blank in the middle of speaking’ to ‘does speaking become easier with practice? Yes – and a good place to practise is at Toastmasters!
Our thanks go to the WIBF for inviting us and to State Street for their hospitality.
Always trying to improve, we like evaluation. And outside events are no exception.
Going by some of the comments on the feedback forms we received back at the end of the evening, the WIBF members seemed to enjoy it.
In answer to ‘What is the most important piece of information or skill you will take away from this event?
‘I can do this !
‘To have a go!’
‘Practising presentations in a safe environment with feedback’
‘Others are generally supportive’
and in answer to ‘What did we do well? they said
‘You showed how Toastmasters actually works!
‘Putting me at ease and keeping me interested’
‘Explained how the organisation works and what it offers’
‘Gave people a chance to try’
In answer to ‘What can we improve? we had only one comment
‘would have preferred to launch into speaking tips first and then find out about Toastmasters’
You can find details of our meetings dates, directions and a typical meeting format by going to the ‘Meetings’ link at the top of this page.
We welcome guests at our meetings – the next one is on Thursday 1st November from 7-9pm and then every second Thursday.
Post written by Moira Beaton DTM, Vice President Public Relations