I had a lovely time visiting one of my favourite Clubs in Shanghai last night. As GE for the meeting, I had the following thoughts that I wanted to share:
- Introduce with purpose and impact. Providing a little bit of information about a speaker helps prepare the audience for the information that’s coming while also providing the introducer – such as the TME – with a great opportunity to learn how to make introductions.
- Keep focused on the purpose with each session. It’s tempting to allow the flexibility of the Toastmasters program to lose structure. By keeping sessions focused around manual projects and specific training outcomes, we can help ensure that sessions remain relevant and interesting rather than indulging a speaker’s need to spend time on the stage.
- Time on stage is valuable. It’s attention that you take from your audience that they could be spending on the rest of their life – or time that they could be using for their own speaking. Treat that attention with respect, appreciation and humility. Make their investment in you worth their while.
- If you have too much time, finish early. Extend breaks. Expand the time available for Table Topics or Evaluations. But all that being done, finishing a meeting on time – or early – is a great thing, and certainly better than allowing a meeting to drag on.
- Evaluations serve the speaker by providing feedback, but they also are intended to serve the audience: Highlight the speaker’s strengths as examples for them to copy, and use what you see as the areas for improvement as lessons for us all.
- Every time you speak is an opportunity for you to learn and refine your skills. Even a 30-second slot is a chance for you to demonstrate your best skills for those 30 seconds – so use that time.
- When you have a projector, use it.
- When you have a warmup session, keep it relevant to speaking.
Finally, say everything that needs to be said. Then stop.