Always provide something specific the audience can do almost immediately. It is also helpful to tell the “how to do it” plus the benefits of doing it and repercussions of not doing it. Most speakers tend to leave this take home to the end. It does not have to be so. You can keep repeating it throughout the speech so that it sinks in. No matter how inspiring your message, every audience appreciates learning a tangible way they can actually apply what they have learned to their own situations. Inspiration is great, but application is everything.
When fear is conquered, we are propelled into a life with larger ambitions. Says Michael Landrum.
What if it is not conquered?
Some people join Toastmasters and immediately after paying their membership dues and receiving their new member kit something seems to yield and they disappear never to be seen in a Toastmasters club again. Why is this? No empirical data exists to explain this so it remains a matter of conjecture. Here is my take:
- They fail to master enough courage to stand behind the lectern and deliver their first (three and half minute formal) speech. They therefore fail to propel into larger ambitions of delivering a 5 minutes speech and later 10 minute, 15 minutes and 20 minutes.
- After reading through the objectives it suddenly dawns on one that joining the club is not sufficient antidote to the fear of public speaking. You actually need to prepare a speech and deliver it. In sports there is a saying “no pain no gain”. The same goes for Toastmasters public speaking program. If it is not causing you pain and discomfort then you are doing your usual and not gaining anything at all.
- Some feel it is difficult and too much effort. To these there is only one answer. If it wasn’t difficult and terrifying then everyone would be to do it and then you would be no different from everyone else. It is because it requires courage that it becomes so fulfilling once you manage do it.
Most people come to Toastmasters to overcome their fear of public speaking. Therefore it is correct to say that at Toastmasters meetings, what you will see, among other things, are demonstrations of courage. Standing in front of a group of attentive listeners makes most people feel vulnerable. It also adds a burden of responsibility, expectation and opportunity. This can be overwhelming and downright scary. Act confidently, and soon enough you will feel confident.