Electives Corner : Toastmasters
My peers and I have had the privilege of being a part of the Toastmasters course since the beginning of this year. To make it clear, we are not culinary connoisseurs in the art of making toasted sandwiches. As amazing as that would sound – that is simply not the case.
Simply put, Toastmasters is a speech course which is designed to help people (in this case us young boys) develop their public speaking ability, by explaining how to create a speech, present a speech effectively and even keeping order in meetings (being a chairman). It develops communication skills that allow its students to become professionals in the working world by equipping them with the knowledge of being a leading orator.
I am testament to that because a few months ago I would have never agreed to go up the DC Thompson Hall stage steps, stand in front of the entire school and speak about anything. Toastmasters has definitely helped me overcome my fears and has helped me realise my potential as a public speaker.
The programme consists of weakly meetings on a Tuesday morning, during the elective period. We would meet with our coach, Mr Attie Swanepoel from the Toastmasters International Group. He would provide us with an agenda at the start of our meeting. The agenda would stipulate our roles for that particular meeting.
Roles include, Chairman, Sargent, secretary, time keeper and many other. One of the key roles is the Grammarian. The grammarian provides the word of the day and every student is to try and incorporate that word as many times as possible in their presentations. A tally is kept throughout the meeting and whoever uses the word the most in the correct context is given an award.
In order to receive your Toastmasters qualification you must complete a minimum of two prepared speeches, two evaluations and two impromptus. With the prepared speeches – you are allowed to present on any topic of your choice. When presenting your prepared speech you are evaluated by your peers. This is the important part because the aim of the evaluations is to help guide you and encourage you with points that will help improve your presenting ability. Then there are the impromptus, where the topics master is in charge of coming up with topics for the impromptu speakers who will then deliver unprepared speeches.
Toastmasters is an internationally recognised course – recognised in over 186 countries. Not only do you gain a skill that will take you far in life, but you also get a qualification that will furnish your CV/Portfolio.
I encourage more boys to join the course as we are presented with an opportunity to gain an essential skill that will help us succeed in today’s demanding world.
It has been a fun and insightful experience. Thank You to Mr Attie Swanepoel, Mr S Cele and DHS Management for the provision of this great elective.