Where Can Your Daydreams Take You? Find Out This Tuesday

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It’s summer, a time when anything seems possible and you daydream about the changes you can make to your life. Join us this Tuesday as our Toastmaster Selina explores the theme of “Daydreams”, we’ve got speeches from Victor and Miguel as well as an educational about Mentoring from Michelle.

See you on Tuesday!

When: 7.30pm, Tuesday 27th June

Where: The Lantern Centre, 15 Synge St (click here to see a map)

To sign up or see the agenda of the meeting, click here

 

image: Symphony of Love (Flickr)

Change the World this Tuesday at Cogito

Symphony Of Love (13709658333_5e73e2bab8_z)This Tuesday, our Toastmaster, Brian, has chosen the theme to end all themes, Seismic Historical Events! Join us as he explores some of the major world changing events that contributed to the world we live in. We’ll have speeches from John and guest speaker, Carmen, and Karl will be creating some seismically challenging table topics questions…

When: 7.30pm, Tuesday 23rd May

Where: The Lantern Centre, 17 Synge St (click here to see a map)

To sign up or see the agenda of the meeting, click here

 

image: Symphony of Love (Flickr)

What Do You Stand For?

Symphony of Love (32328009816_ecfdb0964e_c)Join us this Tuesday for another meeting filled with laughter and learning. Our theme will be “What Do You Stand For?” and we will share the the social issues that we are passionate about. Derville will be our Toastmaster, Brian will be sharing some tantalising table topcs and we’ll have speeches from Eimear, Miguel and Selina.

See you there!

When: 7.30pm, Tuesday 25th April

Where: The Lantern Centre, 17 Synge St (click here to see a map)

To sign up or see the agenda of the meeting, click here

 

image: Symphony of Love (Flickr)

The Secret to Helping a Speaker Grow

Hash Milhan (2089058279_19e60328a4_b)Effective evaluations are all down to the recommendations that you give. Your suggestions to your speaker will be the main driving force that helps your evaluatees grow as speakers and become effective communicators.

Tips for Recommendations

  1. Be prepared. Talk to the speaker before the presentation, they will be able to tell you the areas that they want to work on and the areas that they’ve had difficulty with in the past, make sure to look out for these during the speech and find ways to to help the speaker become stronger in those aspects of their presentation.
  2. Focus on how the speaker can get better. For every area of improvement, have a recommendation. And don’t just look at the weak areas of a presentation, also look at the speaker’s strengths, are there areas that could go from good to great and what steps are needed to make that happen?
  3. Be specific. Give detailed instructions on what needs to be done to make the speech stronger and be sure to explain why taking these actions will make the speech better, it adds a lot of value to the speaker if you explain why.
  4. Always give recommendations. You can’t help a speaker improve if you don’t give them recommendations. That can be difficult because you may not want to upset the speaker or because the speaker is very good. Do not worry about upsetting a speaker, they want to improve and they want you to help them. As for good speakers, no speaker is THAT good, there’s always something that can get better, be really picky, if there’s 15 seconds of the presentation that didn’t work for you then concentrate on that.

How Many Recommendations?

Sometimes the effectiveness of an evaluation comes down to the number of recommendations that you give. Naturally the amount of feedback depends on each speaker but a good guide is:

Icebreakers:  1 recommendation
2nd – 5th Speech:  2 recommendations
6th – 10th Speech:  2-3 recommendations

For advanced speakers they will want to know how they can push their speaking to new heights so focus more on recommendations than strengths and give as many suggestions as you can.

Above all else remember the most important rule of all: Always give recommendations!

 

This post is part of our series of tips to help you become a better evaluator. To learn more about evaluating, check out these posts:

 

image: Hash Milan (Flickr)

Join Us Tomorrow For Another Great Meeting

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Join us tomorrow evening for an evening of fun and learning. Michelle will be our Toastmaster, Dermot will continue to show us how to improve the way we deliver feedback and we have three great speakers for you to learn from, Isabel with the intriguingly-titled “How Iceland changed the way its teens get high“, Michael will tackle the global water crisis and Derville will deliver an interactive brainstorming session.

It’s going to be another great evening. See you there!

 

When: 7.30pm, Tuesday 28th February

Where: The Lantern Centre, 17 Synge St (click here to see a map)

To sign up or see the agenda of the meeting, click here

Fall in Love With Speaking At Our Valentines Day Meeting

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Join us for another entertaining and inspiring meeting this Tuesday as we show you our love of speaking and how you too can tackle your speaking nerves and start to enjoy giving speeches and presentations.

As it’s Valentines Day on Tuesday our Toastmaster, Victor has something different planned with regards to the theme of the meeting.We’ll have speeches from Jag and Karl, Vernon will be our Poetmaster and we’ll have our ever-popular impromptu speaking section with John, our Table Topics Master.

See you Tuesday!

When: 7.30pm, Tuesday 14th February

Where: The Lantern Centre, 17 Synge St (click here to see a map)

To sign up or see the agenda of the meeting, click here

 

image: JD Hancock (Flickr)

How to Recover From Going Blank During a Presentation

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I’m going to let you in on a secret: even the most experienced speakers have gone blank in the middle of a presentation. The difference between you and them is how they handle that moment of blankness. Experienced speakers use the following four simple tricks to deal with going blank and the self-doubt that comes with it:

  1. Don’t Panic
  2. Retrace your steps
  3. Check  your notecards
  4. Move on to the next section

 

1. Don’t Panic

This is both the hardest and the most important tactic available to you. Yes, you are going to want to freak out and yes, you will have the urge to run away and hide in the toilets but what you need to do is pause and take a deep breath, a really deep breath. Then take another, this will get oxygen into your brain and help you relax and allow your brain to do its work. Now that you’re starting to relax move on to step 2.

2. Retrace your steps

Think back. What were you talking about before you went blank? Go over what you just said in your brain, usually going over the words again will trigger your memory of what comes next, this should get you through most situations. If not then try steps 3 or 4.

3. Notecards

This is the emergency situation. Calmly take out your notecards and look through them to find what you should be saying next (and only check the notecards, not your script, checking your script may take too long). You could casually explain the notecards by saying something like “this is important so I really want to get this right”. If the notecards don’t help them then try step 4

4. Move on to the next section

If you have learnt your presentation in chunks then you are in a great place because you can keep going, you can move to the next chunk of your presentation and continue. This is why we recommend that you learn your presentation in chunks as each “chunk” is a mini-speech in its own right so forgetting part of the speech doesn’t mean that you can’t go on. Also what you will find happening is that as you continue through the rest of the speech, you’ll remember the important points that you forgot and you can cover them at a later  point in the presentation.

 

To solidify these 4 steps in your mind then as you’re practicing your presentation, make note of the areas that you have difficulty with or that you keep forgetting and ask yourself “If I go blank during this section, what will I do?” The answer naturally is to follow the four steps and if you forget things during rehearsal then practice the 4 steps so that they will naturally come to you if you go blank during the actual presentation.

 

 

If you enjoyed this post then why not try more of our presentation tips:

Image: Het Nieuwe Instituut (Flickr)

Use Your Evaluation To Inspire

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On the surface an evaluation at Toastmasters is about showing a speaker their strengths and suggesting how they can improve further but a great evaluation goes further, a great evaluation will inspire your speaker to become a better communicator. A great evaluation will make them excited about their next speech they’ll start planning it immediately and they’ll be imagining how amazing they’re going to be. This should always be your goal when you give an evaluation.

This is not as difficult as it might sound.

The best place to inject inspiration into your evaluation is in the conclusion, it will have the most impact there. In your conclusion be sure to include the following:

  • Acknowledge – Acknowledge all that the speaker has achieved so far, this shows them that they are already on the path to their goals and they’ve already achieved great things.
  • Believe – Encourage them, show them that you believe that they have the ability to reach their personal speaking goals.
  • Challenge – Challenge them, give them a new target to aim for, keep them striving to be better speakers.

The key to success is your choice of challenge. It could something small like not using notes or controlling a crutch-word or it could be a bigger step like speaking outside the club or taking part in a speech contest. From your preparation you already know what level the speaker is at, you know what their goals and objectives are and you have seen the speech so use this information to select an achievable but challenging task for the speaker.

Make them excited by the new challenge. Show them that you believe that they can achieve it. Inspire them.

 

This post is part of our series of tips to help you become a better evaluator. To learn more about evaluating, check out these posts:

 

image: symphony of love/chattygd (flickr)

Become More Confident Speaking in Front of an Audience

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Speaking in front of a group of people can be very intimidating, it’s enough to make even the most confident person tongue-tied and unsure of themselves. And it doesn’t just happen to you, it happens to everyone.

The difference between you and confident speakers is that they have found tricks not to let the scariness of speaking in public stop them from presenting. And that’s Toastmasters is about, giving you the tricks to work with your uncertainty and the confidence to stand up and speak in front of a small or large audience.

At Cogito Toastmasters Dublin, each of our meetings are designed to provide a supportive environment where you can feel comfortable speaking and after practicing in the club you will have the skills and confidence to give a presentation at work or at an interview.

Come along to our next meeting and see how we can help you become the speaker you’ve always dreamed of being!

We meet at 7.30pm  on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays in the Lantern Centre on Synge St (off Camden St), see you there.

The Key to Reducing Your Presenting Nerves

bart-everson-8498618484_53507fcbb6_bEvery experienced speaker will tell you that the more you stand up and give speeches in front of an audience groups, the easier it gets but there’s a problem with this: if your fear of speaking in public prevents you from giving speeches then how can you get enough experience speaking to reduce your presentation nerves?

The solution is Practice.

The more you practice the easier it gets. That doesn’t mean that it won’t be scary or you won’t be nervous but practising can give you the confidence to know that despite the nerves you know your presentation.

The secret to practising your speech or presentation is to start practising early. If you only start practising the night before your presentation then you don’t need me to tell you how successful it’s going to be.

Once you have your first draft written then start practising. Practice often and every chance you get, practice everywhere you can because nowhere is a bad place to practice.

At home talk to the walls, to the chairs, to the kettle and to the toaster, get used to speaking your presentation out loud with no-one else hearing. When driving to work give your speech to the driver in front of you, everyone talks to themselves or sings in the car, you won’t look any different to anyone else. Talk to your cat, dog or hamster, see if you can get them excited about your topic.

Then when you’re ready to take your practice to the next level, give the talk to a friend or family member, someone that you feel comfortable with and don’t just give it one time, give it as many times as you can. Ask other friends, speak to more than one at a time. In order words practice, practice, practice until you’re sure that you know your presentation and you’ve become confident giving the presentation to people that you know. If possible try to practice in the room where you will be giving the presentation, this will make the environment familiar to you and so speaking there won’t be that scary either.

Practice is about eliminating reasons for you to be nervous or scared so if you want to reduce your speaking nerves and help guarantee that you will give a winning presentation then all you need to do is practice.

 

If you enjoyed this post then why not try more of our presentation tips:

 

image: Bart Everson (Flickr)