Excellent training for public speakers
TOASTMASTERS says strong leadership and communication skills are critical in most professions, including coaching sports.
"To be a successful coach you need to do everything from teaching athletic techniques to motivating peak performance to counselling players on dealing with off-the-field problems," it says.
Toastmasters is an excellent training ground, providing coaches with first-rate speaking and listening skills.
For those who wish to get into public speaking, Toastmasters offer tips on how to control your butterflies and give better presentations:
- Know your material. Pick a topic you are interested in, know more about it than you include in your speech and use humour, personal stories and conversational language;
- Practice. Practice. Practice. Rehearse out loud with all the equipment you plan to use. And revise;
- Know the audience. Greet people as they arrive. It's easier to speak to friends than to strangers;
- Know the room. Arrive early, walk around the speaking area and practice using the microphone and any visual aids;
Relax. Begin by addressing the audience. It buys you time and calms your nerves. Pause, smile and count to three before saying anything;
- Visualise yourself giving your speech. Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and confident. Visualise the audience clapping;
- Audiences want you to be interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining;
- Concentrate on the message, not the medium. Focus your attention away from your anxieties and concentrate on your message and your audience;
Gain experience. Your speech should represent you - as an authority and as a person. Experience builds confidence, which is the key to effective speaking. A Toastmasters club can provide the experience you need.