The Art of Speaking  

Talking tips from Ted

By Ros Hansen

“People have learned to talk. They have not learned to communicate. That’s why Toastmasters is so important.”

It’s Ted Corcoran speaking, and the former president of Toastmasters International is very enthusiastic about his subject.

“Toastmasters has a well-established program that has been proven successful over many years. It has evolved over time, and it helps us to communicate effectively, not just talk.

"I’ve done that basic Competent Communicator (CC) manual about 10 times and each time I learn something new. I consider CC projects Number Two and Three to be especially key; they contain so much that’s important. 

“I teach a course in How to Write a Speech in Ten Minutes. I tell people they must be able to encapsulate their purpose in one sentence. If you don’t have a purpose in your message. It will go in one ear and out the other. The Toastmaster program teaches you how to communicate effectively."

Most people think Toastmasters is about public speaking - and it is - but communicating, listening and leadership are equally important, maybe more important.

“The new Pathways program, which is part of the changes within Toastmasters, gives us a way to incorporate speaking into leadership. This means the two are no longer separate – you can articulate what you’ve learned about leadership – for example you could give a speech about what you have learned about vision.

"In 2004, we had 200,000 members in 10,000 clubs. Now, only a dozen years later, we have 360,000 members in 16,000 clubs.

"In Kelowna, I found a great turnout at the events and a hunger for Toastmasters, but what the District needs is more new clubs. Now, that people realize what needs to be done it might be possible to turn this corner.

“I belong to Toastmasters because I want to make the world a better place. The world would be better – don’t you think so – if we all contributed we met other positive people and we had fun.

"We can all share in making the world a better place; change your corner of the world and that makes the world a better place. Some people seem to stay in the background, almost invisible because they don’t believe in themselves. Toastmasters gives these people a voice so they can come forward and contribute and have fun too.

“Any change in the world depends on people. Belonging to a large organization gives us greater perspective and we find new ways and new ideas. This is true even at the club level; we meet new people and hear new ideas and this exposure gives us a bigger picture.

"We can see where we fit in and what we can do. If you don’t go outside your own little circle you don’t see that.

“I thought I had just joined Toastmasters, but look! I ended up international president. Where could you end up?”

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About the Author

The mission of a Toastmaster Club is to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment that offers every member the opportunity to develop communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth.

There are eight Toastmasters clubs in the Central Okanagan.

For more information and/or to find a club near you, check http://www.toastmasters.org.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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