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Why do you join a Toastmasters Club?

Why do you join a Toastmasters Club?

By Goh Kheng Chuan. Delivered on 11 March 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

Why do you want to join a toastmaster club? As a toastmaster for many years, I have posed this question to many new and aspiring members who walked into this door.

Let me share with you top three reasons I heard over the years and what I think about them.  

 

Reason No. One.

 

I want to be an impressive presenter. Now, if you want to look more impressive in front of an audience, try plastic surgery to look like the hottest Korean star. Many of us want to look good, feel good and sound good in front of an audience. But, public speaking is not about you, the speaker, it is about them, your audience. .When you make a sales presentation, it is not about you, It is about how you can turn your prospects into your customers. It was never about you, but them.

 

What else about them? Public speaking is about change. Whether you give a speech to motivate, persuade or to educate, there is one thing in common. You want your audience to change. If you speak about the goodness of being a vegetarian, you want your audience to change what they eat, you want them to change from a meat eater to a green eater. If you give a sales presentation, you want your prospect to change the way they perceive your product or service from bad to excellent.

 

Let me remind you that you are not here to change yourself. You are here to become the catalyst of change through your speeches.. Your speech may help to change desperation to hope, weakness to strength, fear to courage, ignorance to wisdom, and you may even change the course of history. A toastmaster club is not a make-over company, we are not image consultants. We cannot make you look better. You are here for a higher purpose than to look impressive..

Reason No. 2

I want to conquer my fear of public speaking. If you need to conquer your fear of public speaking and this includes your fear of snakes. lizards and croak coaches, try bungee jumping instead. If you can do the scariest things like jumping from the tallest bridge in the world and risk losing your life, you should not be fearful of anything..

No number of years will make a speaker fearless. But fear good. Fear is good for public speaking. Fear means preparation and practice. I am fearful of tonite’s speech contest, so I planned my speech and come prepared with a script. A toastmaster club is not a fear therapy centre, coming to the club twice a month cannot make you less fearful. Toastmasters are not trained psychologists we cannot remove your fear factor.  

Reason No. 3

I join a toastmaster club to speak like President Obama. Let me ask you. Are you tall, handsome and black? If not, please paint yourself black. If you cannot be black, go and sign up for acting class. Why acting class, you may ask. To me, President Obama is NOT A SPEAKER. He is AN ACTOR. You can give President Obama any script written by his team of speech writers, he will act it out like an Oscar Winning Actor.

I don’t blame you if you have the wrong impressions about public speaking. The two words public speaking are misleading. Iconic speakers like President Obama confuse us further by making us think that public speaking is only about speaking. But, public speaking is more than that.

Public speaking is also about thinking and scripting. For a speech to be a catalyst of change, requires detailed planning and vigorous scripting You want to use the right words at the right time in the right way to influence your audience.. It is hard work. Now, that is why there are so few contestants tonight. Since the Roman times, great speakers are also great speech writers.

Just watching President Obama speeches will not do you any good.  It is like trying to build muscles sitting on your TV couch and watching a video on weight lifting. You need to sweat it out! You need to give your speech a full workout.

Instead of lifting dumb bells and pumping weights, you use rhetorical techniques to pump up your speech. Instead of writing once, you rewrite many times till the sweat comes out. The secret to better public speaking is not by watching President Obama speaks on Youtube. The secret is to study the transcripts of his speeches. I urge you, first be a student of rehetoric then you can become a master of rehetoric.

If you come into the club without challenging yourself to script your speeches and make them more interesting, more impactful and memorable, but try to smoke your way with 3 points scribed on your palm, you are short changing yourself. The only time you should be throwing smoke grenades is when you are in the army or doing table topics.

Public speaking is much more than speaking alone. You can never win an Academy Award if you have a lousy movie script. There is a common saying, think before you speak, I say, think before you script, and script before you speak.

I urge you to script better so that you can speak better.

Copyright Goh Kheng Chuan

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