Love Local Porirua Expo – Warm-up Activity

By VP Public Relations 2022-23 Dale

Blog Post #4

The #1 issue most people have is a fear of public speaking. That’s what we expect to be the main question visitors to our booth at the Love Local Porirua Expo will talk to us about!

If you Google “fear of public speaking”, you’ll find the following result:

Glossophobia, or a fear of public speaking, is a very common phobia and one that is believed to affect up to 75% of the population. Some individuals may feel a slight nervousness at the very thought of public speaking, while others experience full-on panic and fear.

Luckily, glossophobia is a treatable problem – just join Toastmasters! Read this article in the April 2021 Toastmaster Magazine from New Zealander Kristen Hamling, PhD about being scared of public speaking.

You can also read other fascinating articles about Toastmasters in the July 2022 edition of The Toastmaster Magazine.

Warm-up activity
As a warm-up activity for our Expo booth, at our 5 July meeting, Table Topics Mistress Dale challenged each speaker to respond to an imaginary statement a member of the public might say to a Toastmaster. (See What is Table Topics? below).

Some of the imaginary conversation openers are given below, along with Dale’s own comments:

I’d be too scared to get up and speak publicly. How can you teach me to get over my nerves? (This is the big one – developing personal confidence! Only time and practice at a Toastmasters club meeting will solve that problem! Come along and find out how by working through the Toastmasters Pathways Learning Experience.)

I thought Toastmasters just sat around and toasted each other! What do you really do? (Well actually, funny you should say that, because that’s almost exactly how Toastmasters began way back in 1924. Nowadays we have a modern online Pathways learning experience where you can tailor your learning to your own personal goals and aspirations. )

My manager told me to join Toastmasters for my professional development. What’s in it for me? (This is a really popular question. Listing your Toastmasters membership and accomplishments on your CV can help you nail a job or a promotion, especially if the job has an element of sales and customer service, meeting and project management involved! You’ll also be able to handle a job interview much better too. Spinnaker Toastmasters will help you achieve your workplace and leadership goals much faster.)

I had to speak at a funeral recently, and I was so nervous. How can Toastmasters help me overcome my nerves? (Yes, funeral eulogies are always nerve-wracking! Spinnaker members often complete the “Deliver Social Speeches” Pathways elective project for just that occasion, especially the “Speaking in Praise” project. Wedding speeches are also very popular – father of the bride, bridegroom, even the bride speaks. We had a member of Spinnaker a while ago who wanted to practise his bridegroom speech, including a song he was intending to sing to his new bride. We gave him lots of feedback before the big day – we heard that it was a stunning success and his singing was a real hit! Aaah, such is love!)

I think Toastmasters is too expensive. What do I get for my money? (Toastmasters is actually really cheap – about the price of a cup of coffee a week – compared with attending private courses on public speaking! Now surely that’s affordable. And you get access to all the Toastmaster resources available on the web, as well as local club members experience and knowledge. That’s something money can’t buy!)

If I am travelling overseas and have some spare time, can I visit a Toastmasters club anywhere in the world? (Yes, you can. By joining Toastmasters you become part of a world-wide network of 15,800+ clubs in 149 countries. Dale has actually visited a Toastmasters meeting in Caloundra in Queensland as an international guest. The club met in the conference room of the hotel she was staying at, so she joined the meeting and was invited to participate in table topics. She received the best table topic speaker award that night. Wow, how about that!)

What is table topics?
Table topics is a segment of a Toastmasters meeting where we practice impromptu speaking. We are given a topic and have to speak to that topic with no preparation, for up to two minutes. This trains us to “think on our feet” and “speak off the cuff”, something all Toastmasters aspire to excel at. It is certainly challenging when you have no warning of what you are going to speak about. You need to think quickly, construct your speech as you go in your mind, begin with something catchy, give two or three main points, and conclude with a statement or call to action. All within two minutes. It’s well worth the effort to have a go! You never know you can do it until you try!

What’s next
In the next post, we’ll share with you a list of all the resources we needed to find or create to decorate our Expo booth to promote Toastmasters and our club. As you’ll see, it’s quite a list.

Previous blog posts

Blog post #1 – The Proposal
Blog post #2 – Approval and Funding
Blog post #3 – Research and Planning

About Toastmasters
Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organisation that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. Headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, the organisation’s membership exceeds 300,000 in more than 15,800 clubs in 149 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators, and leaders.

About Spinnaker Toastmasters Club
Spinnaker Toastmasters Club chartered on 18 September 1990, and originally met in Whitby. Now the club meets in Plimmerton on the first and third Tuesdays of the month. The club has 12 active members and is looking to increase that to at least 20, the desired size for an active and dynamic Toastmasters club.

About the author
Dale is a Distinguished Toastmaster and a member of Spinnaker Toastmasters Club since 1998. She has received a Presidential Citation for her work as District 72 New Zealand Webmaster, and helped charter three other clubs. She has completed the Presentation Mastery educational Pathway and is currently working on the Motivational Strategies Pathway. Dale is the VP Public Relations for 2022-23.

About this blog series
The purpose of this blog series is to fulfil the requirements of the Level 4 Elective “Write a Compelling Blog” in the Motivational Strategies Pathway. She has chosen to document the process of organising and presenting a booth at the Love Local Porirua 2022 Expo being held in Porirua on 30 July. The target audience is her fellow Toastmasters who may have an opportunity to run a similar activity at a future event. To do this, a minimum of 8 blog posts must be created and published. Club members will be asked for feedback, and when done, Dale will deliver a short speech on her blogging experiences.

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