Feedback. Barely a moment goes by in which we are not providing it, receiving it or replaying it.
We are largely a product of how we have reacted to feedback since we were old enough to be socially aware. How we look, dress, speak, work, drive – even the things we dare not try again – have all been informed by feedback from family members, teachers, friends and colleagues.
Let us give feedback from the heart and ensure it is actionable, specific and timely. The way in which we communicate in our workplaces, communities and homes – amongst rapidly evolving situations – will be a key factor in improving quality of relationships, productivity, happiness and success.
Simon Day is an award-winning speaker, coach and training consultant.
He is the 2019 District 71 (UK and Ireland) Evaluation Champion and
holds Distinction in Grade 8 Public Speaking from the London Academy of
Music and Dramatic Art.
How to use storytelling to ensure your message is remembered for a lifetime.
When I was six years old, I sat still, crossed-legged, looking up, wide-eyed, following every movement my granddad made, hooked to every change of intonation as he regaled my younger brother and I with a story about the most magnificent adventure. …
Your message is important. But without your audience’s buy-in, it’s going nowhere. Focus on how to create a story that will live in the hearts and minds of your audience, and your story – your message – will last a lifetime.
Rebecca Pepper has presented to and trained tens of thousands of all ages across the UK and Europe. A member of Toastmasters International, she is passionate about the use of story to communicate powerful messages.
In the year 2014-15, I was regularly going down south to practise my speech and had a speaker coach paying a few thousand. I wanted to improve my speech delivery for engagement and impact as I have been getting a few paid speaking gigs. Until this point, I didn’t know about Toastmasters International. One day a colleague of mine suggested why not find speaking clubs nearer home to practise my speeches instead of going down south.
Before this, another incident happened. I took part in a mobile app challenge to get investment in my app idea. On the day of presentation, technology failed me. Everyone’s presentations worked smoothly as a hot knife on butter. Mine would not work. We did everything we could. I did have some hand-outs, but it was not as effective as the presentation would have been. I was terrified, upset and lost without the presentation. I did complete my talk but lost my investment. That is when I realised that, I need to do something about speaking without notes or presentation if there arises a situation like this. So, I started working with a speaker coach to work on speech structure, delivery and storytelling. As many would agree with me, just learning something is useless unless you practise. That is why I joined Toastmasters as I wanted to practise my speeches in front of non-judging and helpful audience.
2. How has Toastmasters helped you?
However, after joining Toastmasters, I realised that I was a murderer as well. Because I was killing many with my presentation. I was killing my audience with terrible storytelling. I was robotic in my delivery.
So, I started joining a few other clubs to learn and practise the tools which I can use in my presentation and speeches. Today, I can speak to any kind of audience and make them understand what I am speaking about as I am a Technology Speaker.
Toastmasters have helped me deliver my speech with an impact.
Toastmasters have helped me in speaking with notes even if it is a 90-mins keynote. Toastmasters have enabled me to tell stories to get my message across effectively.
and many more…
3. What are you most proud of about your Toastmaster Club?
I have been a member of a few clubs during the year of 2017-18, I was a member of 9 brick & motor clubs and 3 online clubs. Now, I am a member of the Dunfermline Toastmasters Club. This club is not the closest to home, it is about 40 -50 mins drive. However, I love and am proud of this club because members are very active and every meeting, we have at least an average of 20 people in the meeting. You may think, “My club is the same”. Let me tell you a little bit about this club. This club chartered in 2018, they were President Distinguished in their first year. They don’t have dual members, 80% of the members are millennials, club officers have 95% attendance, they have a very active WhatsApp presence and many things which this club does is right. Above all, this club is not a CITY club to attract more walk-in visitors. This club is an urban club where VPPR must do some work to attract visitors. When you visit this club, you experience more laughter. You are invited.
Been pleasantly surprised by anything lately?
I was pleasantly surprised when I won, Area Director of the Year (2017-18) at the Norwich Conference. I was not that expecting at all. Thanks to all who made this possible. I am grateful and would like to mention following individuals who helped me in the process and in my opinion true embodiment of Toastmasters principles; Red Skelton, Daniel Sandars, Karen O’Donnell, Kevin Lee, Elizabeth Jordon, Julie Kertesz, Zaldy Co, Sam Forsberg, Lesley-Ann Hunter, Patricia Gray and many more.
By Kit Yee Cheng, Clyde Communicators, Toastmasters International
Glossophobia, the fear of public speaking, is often associated with the uncertainties that come from speaking in front of an audience; you’re uncertain if you’ll dry up, or forget your words, or trip as you walk on stage. You’re uncertain that the audience will listen and enjoy your speech, or that they’ll jeer at you and boo until you leave. You’re uncertain you can deliver what has been asked of you without breaking out in a sweat, vomiting or running out of the room. It is the uncertainties that create the fear – and therefore tackling the uncertainties is the key to breaking the fear and building your confidence as a public speaker.
Here are my thirteen tips to help you tackle the uncertainties and become a confident public speaker:
1. Talk to strangers. Practice your communication skills with strangers. You will never see these people again so making mistakes does not decrease your confidence. When you can talk to strangers about anything, anytime and anywhere, you have mastered the art of impromptu speaking. Impromptu speaking is the key to all your communication.
2. Laugh at yourself. Use self-deprecating humour. Seriousness attracts serious circumstances. Watch comedy movies or TV shows and laugh. This helps to lighten up your mood and brings more joy into your life. Happiness is one of the vital ingredients to building up your confidence.
3. Gain experiences. The more experiences you gain, the tougher you become. This strengthens and builds up your confidence. Learn new skills, meet new people, do something new as often as possible. Set new goals, however small and work towards achieving them. Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone because nothing ever grows there.
4. Exercise as often as you possible can. This is a timeless classic for tackling fears. Even a ten-minute walk can do wonders for your mood and lifts your energy. Exercise has been proven to release the feel-good chemical called endorphins throughout your body. This strengthens your self-esteem and reduces your anxiety.
5. Practice yoga. The ancient art of yoga helps you to focus on the present moment which is essential to your mindfulness. You are anxious about public speaking because you are projecting yourself into the future. Yoga increases: body awareness, relieves stress, reduces muscle tension, strain and inflammation, sharpens attention and concentration, plus yoga calms and centres the nervous system. Yoga improves your mental health and wellbeing.
6. Practice meditation. Like yoga, meditation improves your mental health. It helps you to: better handle your negative emotions, helping you to feel relaxed and calm, find your inner peace and helps you to feel comfortable with silence and stillness.
7. Practice gratitude. Write in your gratitude journal each day. This is a sound tool to use to shift your focus onto the happy and good things in your life. Gratitude helps you to release envy, jealousy, anger, resentment and mild depression. You will attract more of what you want into your life when you practice daily gratitude.
8. Have fun each day. Connect with your inner child. Be childlike. Having fun is one of the key ingredients to your health and wellbeing. People who have fun compared to those who don’t, are more positive minded. Smile, laugh, crack a joke, be silly and have fun. Connecting with your inner child helps you to face your fears because your inner child is the fearless one. She will help you through the tough times when you are connected to her.
9. Have one day, or half a day a week switched off from social media and the internet. No Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram or the news. Connect with nature. Go for a walk in the park. Listen to the birds chirp and sing. Talk to dog walkers. Talk to babies and toddlers. Face to face interactions with strangers in the park is a tremendous way to get the human connections that you are going to benefit from. You could just sit in the park and watch people.
10. Travel to a new place as often as possible. Get on the bus or train and go explore around your area. You have feet for this specific reason. The uncertainties in life become much easier to handle when you travel to new places. Being in a new place helps you to: expand your horizons, set your soul on fire, heighten all your senses and become alive. Whilst you are at home, you are by default living in your auto pilot. Getting out of your auto pilot system gives you opportunities to see the world from a different perspective. The world has an abundance of beauty so go and see it for yourself.
11. Embrace the uncertainties. Life is full of uncertainties because life is unpredictable. Let go of having to have control in every aspect of your life. Become more spontaneous. Welcome the uncertainties and see where they take you. Cut the cord to the need to have control of your life twenty-four, seven.
12. Join your local Toastmasters club. Toastmasters has clubs all over the world. Our clubs offer a supportive, encouraging and fun environment for our members to develop and master their public speaking skills. Speak to the President or Vice President of Education of the club and ask them to assign you to a mentor. A mentor is there to offer their guidance, support and knowledge of what they have learned from their own journey. They have been to where you are traveling to.
13. Read books on public speaking. Knowledge of public speaking is your friend. You will gain more confidence from the knowledge of the do’s and don’ts. I have found gems in reading books on public speaking and applying the knowledge to my speeches has increased my confidence in public speaking.
Doors – Top Ten Tips to Delegate Effectively.
Why have a dog and bark
yourself? You might have heard of this
expression – and it’s certainly true.
The trick is to find the balance between delegating effectively and
becoming Teflon-coated and not doing any of the work yourself.
Sam Warner is a Communication Specialist and works with global
leaders across multiple industries to help Autistic people into work and
at work to achieve recognition, respect and understanding.
ByteStart Readership: 100k per month – small businesses and startups.
25th July 2019
Secretary is put together in the aim of enabling career secretaries to
develop both knowledge and skills. It aims to bring together a global
network of senior and aspiring administrative
professionals to discuss and share best practice.
The editor said regarding sharing the link:
This article first appeared in Executive Secretary Magazine, a global training publication and must read for any administrative professional. You can get a 30% discount on an individual subscription when you subscribe through me. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell them I sent you.
Management is the official media outlet of the Chartered Institute of
Procurement & Supply (CIPS). It is the home of all the latest news,
information, analysis, jobs and thought leadership
for procurement & supply chain professionals.
Home Club – Heart of England (also a member of Walsall Speakers and New Street Speakers)
Been Secretary, VPPR, VPE, President and Area Director (Area 39 inc new 42, Division E)
Organised multiple training days including the one for Elizabeth Nostedt, Regional Advisor, in Jan 2019
Easyspeak Guru for D71
Realignment Committee Chair in 2017-2018
Got my DTM July 2018
Finished 1st path in Pathway (Presentation Mastery)
Received District 71 Toastmaster of the Year for 2017-2018
Founding member of Walsall Speaker and New Street Speakers
Club Sponsor for Godiva Speakers and Walsall Speakers, Club Mentor for Deutsche Bank Birmingham and New Street Speakers
Got to Division E contest level in Evaluation 2019
Why did I join Toastmasters?
I had an unusual start to Toastmasters. I was 21, in my first post-education job and working mostly on conference calls with people in other countries. My manager received a lot of complaints that certain cultures struggled to understand me – I literally got introduced as “the girl you can’t understand”! So, my manager strongly encouraged me to go to Toastmasters and that is how I found my home club, Heart of England Speakers.
Over the months I focused on my communication skills and colleagues started to understand me better. I gained my confidence, invited my mom along as a hobby for her and we both got drawn into the Toastmasters world. As I progressed with my career as a Project Manager, I found myself requiring leadership skills, so I started to focus on these and joined the committee as VPPR and then VPE. I absolutely fell in love with the VPE role! I progressed on to President and Area Director but always find myself coming back to VPE.
How has Toastmasters helped you?
The obvious answers I would say are being a better speaker and leader. But Elizabeth Nostedt explains that we should describe the benefits of Toastmasters with your story of how it has helped you. I started Toastmasters as an immature, young adult who didn’t really know much about the real world. Whilst I have grown up as a person in general, Toastmasters has been the real cause of how I became what I like to think of as a fully functioning adult. I can speak better, so I can say what I really want to say whether at work, with large crowds or with radio interview opportunities. I have a real understanding of leadership which has enabled me to have a career, allowed me to practise skills like organising events and take on managerial roles which I will soon need to use at work! I have confidence, meaning I now want to do more with my life, make my mark on the world and make an impact. But mostly, Toastmasters has given me opportunity. There are very few places in life where you can try something out of your comfort zone AND receive support whilst you do it. If it weren’t for Toastmasters, I would never have organised my first club officer training, which has led me to organising a training day which opened into charity events. I would never have spoken in public, which has led to presentations at work, being a guest speaker at events and then radio interviews. Without Toastmasters, I would probably still be a shy, quiet girl who was nervous making a phone call at work, not organising international events, speaking to hundreds of people and doing what I love in life.
What are you most proud of about your club?
I am a member of multiple clubs and it is the same answer for all 3: the members. There is something amazing about watching a member do something for the first time or do finally something they said they would never be able to do. When you see a member suddenly overcome a hurdle and give a good speech or especially Table Topic, that’s when I smile and am proud of my clubs for being able to help the member achieve this.
Highlight of the week: Receive Toastmaster of the Year at the Norwich Conference
Best advice you’ve ever been given: Think of all the great people in the world. They started where we are now. If they can do it, why can’t we?
Hobby: Fundraising and raising awareness of Endometriosis UK
Biography: Jean Stewart is an experienced business advisor with over 28 years working with businesses in the South Yorkshire Region. She has earned a reputation for being an honest, straightforward and to-the-point business consultant and mentor. She develops and writes her own training material, and uses her ability to observe the quirky nature of human behaviour. As a result most of her presentations have an element of humour in them. Also she has carried out comedy material in clubs across Yorkshire. This she feels has improved her confidence in the delivery of humour. Also she has been a member of Toastmaster International for over seven years, and the combination of experience and presentation skills training has enabled her to feel confident in the use of humour.
26th July 2019
How do I… add humour to your presentation – even if I’m not a comedian
Business Quarter. The website aims to show what drives our leading businesses, business people and entrepreneurs. It offers a mix of business news, commentary from leading business people and profiles of UK entrepreneurs.
Readership: 52,827 pm
26th June 2019
12th June 2019
How to add humour to your speech/presentation – even if you are not a comedian
Clonmel Toastmasters, Co Tipperary, Republic of Ireland
Club number: 00005462, meetings 2nd & 4th Thursday each month
Club Officer roles: Membership Management, VP Education and currently President
Completed CL, CC and PL1 pathways
Contributed in achieving President’s Distinguished for the last 3 years
Give it a go before you make up your mind, you might even enjoy it.
My sister asked me to come to her first Toastmasters meeting with her. After sharing that experience with a friend, three of us joined in March 2016. I saw Toastmasters as an opportunity to help me to prepare for a job interview. I set and achieved my goal to complete my CL within 12 months. I served as VP Education and VP Membership – increasing membership by 33% in a six-month period.
My confidence in presenting in public has grown. I improved my listening skills. I learned many transferable skills in Toastmasters, that I can utilise in my career.
The evaluations and feedback, I receive from club members tell me what works and what doesn’t. I learned the importance and power of a ‘PAUSE’! My club is supportive and positive. It is a safe space with no negativity. I tell others that Toastmasters is a superb platform that provides tools that offer skills for life, both personal and professional.
As Club President, I encourage all our members to take ownership and responsibility for making our club the friendliest and the best. Our members are friendly, committed and organised. They bring a range of experiences, facts and great stories.
Our most recent success was our open night where we had a Clonmel Toastmasters record of 13 guests. This was achieved by all members promoting our club and sharing a combined vision. At every meeting, I remind members that it is our club and encourage them to participate and strive to achieve as much as they can.
I joined Toastmasters to help me with preparing for an interview, but I got so much more: confidence, improved communication and leadership skills, new friends and THE JOB!
Date joined Toastmasters International: March 2013
Home Club: Walsall Speakers (Division E)
Served as a Walsall Speakers Club President for 2 years
Got to Division E Contest level in Humorous Speech Contest 2018
Walsall Speakers chartered in September 2018
Presented at Toastmasters events such as Better Speaker Series Days, Leadership Days and Club Officer Trainings
Conducted Youth Leadership project at a local Junior School, which was a success
Why I joined Toastmasters?
In 2012 I started my new job and the role entailed a lot of speaking in the forms of training, speaking to customers internal and external. It was early on in my career and I froze while conducting a training session in front of 50+ people. I felt like I had failed myself and felt nervous knowing I would have to conduct more training sessions! One of my colleagues asked if I had a Toastmasters club near me, she really boasted about the fantastic experience she had with toastmasters and mentioned if I could find a club and try it out it might help me at work! I felt like a ray of hope had hit me and maybe this is what I had needed to do to get myself back on track!
I went to visit Heart of England Club in December 2012 and became a member in March 2013. The members were so welcoming and encouraging and just the environment I needed!
How has toastmasters helped me?
Toastmasters was a life saver for me, it has been like a springboard of opportunities. Since joining Toastmasters, I have run many training sessions at work, had plenty of interactions with clients and have been kindly promoted 3 times in the last 6 years, I always asked the reason for promotion and always ask what can I do better? I was told it was the skills I have obtained in being able to lead, being confident taking a task and running with it and having the ability to explain the same thing in different ways. All these skills came from being a committed Toastmaster and practice makes perfect!
Outside work I feel as though I have found my voice, I practise Tae Kwon Do and in the years of being a Toastmaster I finally plucked up the courage to become an instructor and without Toastmasters, I would not have been able to lead classes on my own.
My aim now is to do the Area Director role, gaining my DTM award and helping others achieve their goals. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing others progress and being the best versions of themselves!
What are you most proud of about your Toastmasters club?
I am currently the President of Walsall Speakers. There are so many things I am so proud of with this club I don’t think I can limit it to just one! We recently chartered in September 2018 and it was such an achievement and commitment from the club committee to get the word out there and get us finally on the map! Since then the club has gone from strength to strength and the vibe is so amazing every time we meet! I always leave with a positive energy wanting to achieve so much more!
Mohammed Raza Khan
Date joined Toastmasters International: November 2013
Home Club: Hertfordshire Speakers (Division H)
Helped in dealing with C’ level people (Chief Level e.g. Chief Financial Officer) and gained the confidence to deliver a presentation which brings business to the company.
Invited to deliver two keynotes at Cambridge University on Emotional Intelligence and Multitasking
Why I joined Toastmasters?
While working in the IT industry, I got the opportunity to speak in front of 200 people in Belgium on a technology problem. The presentation did not go as planned, but that gave me the motivation to learn more about public speaking and gain confidence. Eventually, I attended a Toastmaster meeting in Bristol. Later I move back to Hatfield, and that is where I joined Hertfordshire Speakers, and since then I have never looked back.
How has Toastmasters helped me?
Since joining Toastmasters, my confidence has improved tremendously, due to the valuable feedback I have received from club members. I see clearly what works and what doesn’t
Learning to track my time, construct a concise message and control my filler words and getting valuable feedback has helped with my efforts to learn public speaking and gain confidence in delivering speeches.
My colleagues, friends, peers, and staff now come to me for advice on how to improve their confidence and increase their presentation skills. I advise them to join Toastmasters to practise speaking in front of an audience and to develop their stories and story-telling abilities. Public speaking is a significant way to establish credibility and attract clients.
What are you most proud of about your Toastmasters club?
My club offers a supportive environment and an atmosphere where I feel safe. Members like Elizabeth Jordon, Bob Ferguson, Jillian Haslam and Davina Malcolm are friendly, committed, organised and willing to help, and they are great story-tellers. Sometimes we meet outside the club for special celebrations. It is great being a member.
“Toastmasters (Hertfordshire) offers a secure & supportive environment and an atmosphere I enjoy—I feel safe there.”
Date Joined Toastmasters International: October 2018
Home Club Northampton Speakers (Division H)
Elected Vice President of Public Relations January 2019
Why I joined Toastmasters?
Almost two years ago I read an article in a newspaper about Toastmasters. I had previously imagined them to be a stuffy guild for the kind of Toastmaster you see at posh weddings – how wrong I was.
I was looking for ways to improve my confidence, having been in the same job for the previous 17 years and therefore rusty on interview techniques! I had even turned down the offer of presenting a piece of work at a National developer conference – potentially a significant career boost – because I was petrified of the very idea. Meeting more local people was also a priority; having commuted an hour each way for those 17 years, I knew very few people in my home town.
How has toastmasters helped me?
It took almost a year for me to pluck up the courage to go along to a meeting and, when I did, I thoroughly enjoyed it! It was interesting, fun and everyone was very friendly. I noticed how supportive they all were and decided to go along, as a guest, some more. At each meeting I was asked to talk about my experience, and I spoke first time – for a full 15 seconds – from my seat. The next time I was invited to the front to do the same and, slowly with all that support and applause, I gained confidence.
When I joined, and gave my first speech, I was surprised to find that I enjoyed it! I may not be good at it… yet… and am still very nervous, but I do enjoy public speaking. Now, if asked to give a speech at a national conference, I would no longer run away screaming.
The information on this website is for the sole use of Toastmasters' members, for Toastmasters business only. It is not to
be used for solicitation and distribution of non-Toastmasters material or information. All rights reserved. Toastmasters
International, the Toastmasters International logo and all other Toastmasters International trademarks and copyrights
are the sole property of Toastmasters International and may be used only by permission.