A major portion of each meeting is centered around two or three prepared speeches. Your speech should be prepared based on manual project objectives and stay within the manual guidelines for length. In this role, you are fulfilling what you joined Toastmasters for, improving public speaking skills. This is your opportunity to express yourself on any subject you wish.
Prior to the Meeting:
It is recommended that you start preparing for your speech several weeks in advance. Select a project from the Basic Manual or one of the advanced manuals, and choose a topic that will allow you to concentrate on the particular aspect of speaking that the manual assignment stresses.
A week before you give your speech, the Toastmaster will contact you for your speech title, manual information, and information for an introduction. Make sure to give these details to the Toastmaster no later than the Monday before the meeting. You may use the Speaker Information Form.
In addition, your speech evaluator will call you to discuss your speech goals and ask if you would like feedback on anything specific. Take this opportunity to reflect on the specific skills you are working to develop.
Preparation is essential to success, so practice, practice, and practice some more. Many people find it useful to practice out loud, in front of a mirror, friend or family member. Set a positive example for other club members by having a well-rehearsed speech. If you are unable to speak, do your best to find a replacement and let the Toastmaster know of the change.
If you are nervous about your speech, consider talking your concerns over with your mentor or another club member before giving up your speaking opportunity.
Don't forget to bring your manual to the meeting, along with any props or visual aids you will be using.
As you Arrive at the Meeting:
Arrive early, and sit where you will have easy access to the lectern. Carefully plan your approach to the lectern and speech opening.
Give your manual to your evaluator, and make sure that the Toastmaster is prepared with your introduction. If you have any special requests for the grammarian or ah-um counter, let them know.
If your speech involves props or special equipment, speak with the Sergeant-at-Arms about where to store the materials until needed. The Sergeant-at-Arms may be able to assist you at the time of your speech.
During the Meeting:
Give your full attention to the speakers at the lectern. Avoid studying your speech notes while others are talking.
When introduced, walk to the lectern, shake the Toastmasters hand, and take your position at the lectern (or wherever is appropriate for your speech). Take a breath, and address the group ("Mr./Madam Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters, and welcome guests."). The timer starts the clock with your first word.
Deliver your speech, keeping an eye on the Timer's signals. If it appears that you might run over time, reduce the speech and make your closing statement when you see the red card.
When you have completed your presentation, do not thank the audience. Indicate you are finished by saying "Mister/Madam Toastmaster", and remain at the lectern until you have shaken the Toastmaster's hand.
After the Meeting:
Get your manual from your evaluator. At this time, discuss any questions you may have concerning your evaluation to clarify any misinterpretations.
Have the Vice President of Education initial and date the "Project Completion Record" on page 56 of your manual.