Last Revised: August 21st, 2019
At least one week before you speak, you select and review an assignment from your selected path in Pathways, paying special attention to directions, objectives, and criteria which the Evaluator will use to assess your speech. If you are unsure how to select an assignment for a given speech, please consult with your mentor.
Once you select your speech project, be sure to print the evaluators form from Pathways which your evaluator will use to take notes and evaluate your speech.
Your speech does not have to be perfect; Toastmasters is an arena where you can safely make mistakes. However, make a good faith effort to present a speech which meets your project’s objectives. You will get out of the speech what you put into it.
You begin to write and to practice the speech approximately 1-2 weeks in advance, especially if you are a beginning speaker. If you wait until the day before, you will drive yourself crazy and the quality of your presentation will suffer. When you practice, be sure to time your speech to help ensure that you will speak within your time limit. Unless you have made special arrangements with the vice president education and/or Toastmaster well in advance, your time limit must not exceed nine minutes. To qualify for Best Speaker you must speak within the time limit. If you need help, contact your mentor. If you don’t have one, contact the vice president of education, who will assist you.
Please confirm your participation in Easy Speak as early in the week as possible. Input the name of your speech project and assignment, time limit, and title of speech all in Easy Speak. Avoid selecting a boring cliché as your speech title, e.g., “A Stitch in Time Saves Nine”, “How to Overcome Fear”, or “How My Mom Loved Me”. Instead, capture the attention of your audience by using an imaginative title.
If, by chance, you cannot speak, alert the Toastmaster immediately and assist in finding a replacement if the Toastmaster requests it. Usually a quick email through Easy Speak will fill speaking slots quickly.
Early in the week, the Evaluator of your speech will also contact you. This is your opportunity to ask him/her to listen and/or look for anything special. If the evaluator does not contact you by Wednesday, you may wish to contact him/her yourself.
On the day of your presentation, you arrive early, touch base with the Toastmaster, and give your manual to the Evaluator. If you have any special needs, e.g., removal of the lectern from the speaking area, placement of a flip chart, positioning of props, etc., discuss them with the Toastmaster before the meeting begins.
During the speech, keep an eye on the timing lights. Green means you have met the minimum time and qualify for Best Speaker. Yellow means that you are halfway between qualification and disqualification. Red means that you must wrap up now and you have 30-seconds to do so before the flashing red light indicates you have been disqualified from the best speaker award. If the lights go out you have seriously exceeded your time limit, are disqualified from Best Speaker, and may be asked to stop by the Toastmaster. For details about exactly when lights will come on, click here to review the timers role and look under “Formal Speech”.
At the conclusion of your presentation you return control to the Toastmaster. Stay “on stage” until the Toastmaster returns to thank you by shaking your hand.
During the evaluation segment of the meeting, pay careful attention to the evaluator of your presentation. He/she will give his/her opinion concerning some of the strengths and weaknesses of your speech and suggest ways to improve. Listen to him/her carefully and with an open mind.
Always remember, however, that the public evaluation comprises one person’s opinion only. Sometimes evaluators make mistakes; they are human beings. Therefore, read the brief evaluations by other members, which you receive on slips of paper from the Sergeant-at-Arms prior to the end of the meeting. If the evaluator said, e.g., that you utterly lacked vocal variety, but lots of members wrote that you had great vocal variety, the evaluator may have made a mistake. Also, read the evaluator’s detailed comments on your evaluation form. Typically the Evaluator cannot say everything he/she would like to say within the time constraints of the public evaluation. If, after careful consideration, you think an evaluator has made a mistake you may wish to discuss it privately with him/her.
After the meeting, at your convenience, watch the recording of your speech. This is one of the best ways to learn how you appear to others when presenting.