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3 Secrets to Achieve Excellence as Toastmaster-of-the-Day

Toastmasters 101 Podcast

Serving as Toastmaster-of-the-Day for the first time can be a daunting prospect, so much so that it can be difficult to encourage newer members to give it a try. A few of the typical responsibilities include:

  • Selecting and sharing a theme around which a short — typically 2-3 minutes — introduction can be given (this is optional but generally boosts the enjoyment factor for participants)
  • Making an effort to see that as many meeting roles as possible are filled in the days before the meeting
  • Welcoming any visitors
  • Running the first portion of the meeting

The decision to volunteer for the role is likely made all the more difficult by the fact that it’s often the more experienced members who end up having to regularly fill this role, giving novices the impression they have to perform at a similar level of proficiency. For this reason, it’s been very helpful in Spirited Speech Masters for our VPE to have created a weekly schedule for this role, giving newer members the gentle push they need to try out this highly rewarding role.

The Toastmasters 101 podcast — a production of Toastmasters District 10 — has some helpful tips for people filling this role, including help selecting a theme and managing time during the meeting. This information is helpfully available as a podcast or as text. Give it a listen and then give the role a try!

18 Strengths of the Emotionally Intelligent

Letting go of mistakes. Embracing change. Being able to say “no” when asked. These are just three of the characteristics of those blessed with emotional intelligence, according to Travis Bradberry, co-author of the well known book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0. You can read more about the strengths of emotional intelligence at “Are You Emotionally Intelligent? Here’s How to Know for Sure.” on Entrepreneur.com.

The Magic Formula Behind Better Storytelling

Ever since the release of their first feature-length film in 1995, Pixar has been known for their creative, often heart-warming storytelling. In the video Pixar Storytelling Rules #5: Essence of Structure, Bloop Animation describes the typical formula they use to tell stories in iconic films such as Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, and Up. Watch below to learn how you can employ the same techniques when telling a story as part of a speech, helping take your narrative skills to Infinity … and Beyond!

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How to Avoid Death by PowerPoint

David Phillips is the founder of Presentationsteknik.com (Swedish) as well as the author of How to Avoid Death by PowerPoint, a book published in more than 30 countries. In 2014, he delivered a TEDx talk in Stockholm, Sweden by the same name, in which he outlines five principles for delivering impactful, enjoyable presentations:

  1. One message per slide
  2. Working memory
  3. Size
  4. Contrast
  5. Number of objects per slide

Using Writing Prompts to Improve at Table Topics

300 Writing Prompts by Piccadilly

Looking for a way to improve at delivering compelling table topic speeches? Try a writing prompt notebook like this one from Piccadilly. Each lined page has 1-2 brief prompts along the lines of what you might expect to encounter in a table topics session during a Toastmasters meeting. Flip through, pick a prompt (or throw literary caution to the wind and select one randomly) then write out a half to full page response. To ensure you focus on impromptu thinking, try not to pause during your writing (the process of writing already provides a built-in delay). And try to resist the urge to wordsmith since this isn’t something you’re generally able to do when speaking extemporaneously.

This type of exercise is great because it’s easily portable and can be done on your own, i.e. when you’re jonesing for your next meeting, but it’s still six days away!