Vancore is an amazing club. It’s a wonderful warm public bath, full of cheerful and highly supportive fellow Toastmasters who’ll serve you delicious compliment sandwiches once a week.
But, strangely, that can also be a problem.
To really speed your development as a speaker, you need to put yourself, from time to time, in environments that are a little … less comfortable.
Have you been in situations where you’re staring out, not at familiar faces, but at strangers? Then try to come up with something intelligent to say?
Whether it’s a job interview or presenting your ideas to a workgroup, this is a common scenario we all face at some point.
What’s a good way to train yourself for these challenging and uncomfortable situations? This is where contests come in.
Contests impose more formal rules on what we’re already doing every week.
The first level of competition is within your own club. If you win a speech contest at the club level, you move on to the Area level, and then the District level.
With the International Speech contest, there are a few more stops – regional quarterfinals, regional semifinals – en route to the final test, the World Championship of Public Speaking. (Cue the quaking knees.)
On Feb 1, Vancore will hold its first such test of the year: a Table Topics contest.
Think of it as a gateway test: fun and relatively low-stakes. There are no barriers to entry. Unlike the International Speech contest, which requires all contestants to have completed levels One and Two of Pathways, the Table Topics contest is open to anyone. If you’re a member who can fog a mirror and have paid your dues, you’re eligible!
It’ll require your speaking off-the-cuff for up to two minutes. All contestants will be assigned the same topic, but they won’t learn what that topic is till the last minute, and they won’t get to hear their fellow contestants speak. Now that’s the kind of challenge we need to push us to grow, build skills and character!
All are invited to check out the Vancore Toastmasters Club contest on February 1st at 3:30 PM.
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