Speech competitions are a vital part of the Toastmaster year and they are a great way to improve your skills, get more feedback and get out there into the big wide world of Toastmasters. Each October clubs have a local Table Topics and Humorous Speaking competition. Winners then go through to the area competition, then to the divisional competition before competing nationally.
This year we were delighted to have two winners from Inverness club. Jan Robbert won the area humorous competition with a great speech about curiosity and the dangers of combining this with electricity. The speech included great phrases, lots of movement, changes in pitch and tone and of course plenty of humour.
Table topics are a Toastmaster staple. It’s a quick fire speaking round with speakers given impromptu topics which they then have to talk on or around for 2 minutes or so. It’s a great discipline to practice speaking for 2 minutes, getting to know how it feels, what you can say and of course what you can’t. Another Inverness member Laura Bruce won the area competition, and the division competition in Perth and is now off to Belfast to compete. Table topics requires quick thinking, an ability to talk on a subject given to you seconds before and to also include as many elements of a great speech as possible – change of tone, memorable phrases, movement and audience engagement.
Both Jan and Laura regularly attend Inverness club meetings where they get feedback on their speech performances to help them improve and move forwards to their next project. Toastmasters isn’t all about hard work though – it’s about having