A typical meeting at Cogito consists of three sections – prepared speeches, evaluations and table topics.
Every time you stand up and speak at Toastmasters you have the opportunity to build your confidence and become a better speaker and this is what the prepared speeches section is about. Speeches are usually between 5 and 7 minutes in length and each speech has a learning objective which means that each time you give a speech you acquire a new skill that you can use in future speeches and presentations. Thus as you give more and more speeches you build your presentation skillset.
The way we grow in Toastmasters is through evaluations, every time you give a prepared speech, you will be assigned an evaluator. The evaluator’s role is to watch and listen to your speech, they will take note of elements of your speech or delivery that you did well and also elements where you can improve.
In the evaluation section each evaluator will give a short speech about your speech outlining your success points and give suggestions that can be used to make the speech and delivery stronger. This is the section where everyone present can learn how to be better at presenting.
Have you ever given a presentation or been in an interview where someone asked a question that you weren’t expecting? It can be quite unnerving, can’t it?
The Table Topics section is about giving you the opportunity to train yourself to deal with those unexpected questions calmly and professionally without panicking or freaking out.
The way we do this is one member will take on the role of Table Topics Master, they will compile a list of challenging questions and select members to answer the question. It can be a little bit daunting for new members but with practice people can become quite adept at handling the questions and this section is usually filled with a lot of humour.