Competent Communication
All new Toastmasters begin by working through the Competent Communication manual. These ten projects help you learn the basics of effective communication.
Each project focuses on a single aspect of communication. The topic of your speech is entirely of your choosing - you can talk about your work, a hobby, an issue or anything you're passionate about - just make sure as you write your speech, you stay focused on the assignment's objectives.
As the saying goes, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!" Each project is a single step toward delivering competent communication. They each build on one another, and by the time you reach speech 10, you can inspire your audience with both confidence and competence!
Competent Communication
Project 1
The Icebreaker
Speaking
For your first speech project, you will introduce yourself to your fellow club members and give them some information about your background, interests, and ambitions. Practice giving your speech to friends or family members, and strive to make eye contact with some of your audience. You may use notes during your speech if you wish.
Project objectives:
  • Begin speaking before an audience.
  • Discover speaking skills you already have and skills that need some attention.
Time: 4 to 6 minutes.
Project 2
Organize Your Speech
Speaking
Good speech organization is essential if your audience is to follow and understand your presentation. You must take the time to put your ideas together in an orderly manner. You can organize your speech in several different ways; choose the outline that best suits your topic. The opening should catch the audience's attention, the body must support the idea you want to convey, and the conclusion should reinforce your ideas and be memorable. Transitions between thoughts should be smooth.
Project objectives:
  • Select an appropriate outline which allows listeners to easily follow and understand your speech.
  • Make your message clear, with supporting material directly contributing to that message.
  • Use appropriate transitions when moving from one idea to another.
  • Create a strong opening and conclusion.
Time: 5 to 7 minutes.
Project 3
Get to the Point
Speaking
Every speech must have a general and a specific purpose. A general purpose is to inform, to persuade, to entertain or to inspire. A specific purpose is what you want the audience to do after listening to your speech. Once you have established your general and specific purposes, you'll find it easy to organize your speech. You'll also hasve3 more confidence, which makes you more convincing, enthusiastic and sincere. Of course, the better organized the speech is, the more likely it is to achieve your purpose.
Project objectives:
  • Select a speech topic and determine its general and specific purposes.
  • Organize the speech in a manner that best achieves those purposes.
  • Ensure the beginning, body and conclusion reinforce the purposes.
  • Project sincerity and conviction and control any nervousness you may feel.
  • Strive not to use notes.
Time: 5 to 7 minutes.
Project 4
How to Say It
Speaking
Words are powerful. They convey your message and influence the audience and its perception of you. Word choice and arrangement need just as much attention as speech organization and purpose. Select clear, accurate, descriptive and short words that best communicate your ideas and arrange them effectively and correctly. Every word should add value, meaning and punch to the speech.
Project objectives:
  • Select the right words and sentence structure to communicate your ideas clearly, accurately and vividly.
  • Use rhetorical devices to enhance and emphasize ideas.
  • Eliminate jargon and unnecessary words. Use correct grammar.
Time: 5 to 7 minutes.
Project 5
Your Body Speaks
Speaking
Body language is an important part of speaking because it enhances your message and gives you more credibility. It also helps release any nervousness you may feel. Stance, movement, gestures, facial expressions and eye contact help communicate your message and achieve your speech's purpose. Body language should be smooth, natural and convey the same message that your listeners hear.
Project objectives:
  • Use stance, movement, gestures, facial expressions and eye contact to express your message and achieve your speech's purpose.
  • Make your body language smooth and natural.
Time: 5 to 7 minutes.
Project 6
Vocal Variety
Speaking
Your voice has a major effect on your audience. A lively, exciting voice attracts and keeps listeners' attention. A speaking voice should be pleasant, natural, forceful, expressive and easily heard. Use volume, pitch, rate and quality as well as appropriate pauses to reflect and add meaning and interest to your message. Your voice should reflect the thoughts you are presenting.
Project objectives:
  • Use voice volume, pitch, rate and quality to reflect and add meaning and interest to your message.
  • Use pauses to enhance your message.
  • Use vocal variety smoothly and naturally.
Time: 5 to 7 minutes.
Project 7
Research Your Topic
Speaking
Your speech will be more effective if you can support your main pints with statistics, testimony, stories, anecdotes, examples, visual aids and facts. You can find this material on the Internet, at a library and in other places. Use information collected from numerous sources and carefully support points with specific facts, examples and illustrations, rather than with just your own opinions.
Project objectives:
  • Collect information about your topic from numerous sources.
  • Carefully support your points and opinions with specific facts, examples and illustrations gathered through research.
Time: 5 to 7 minutes.
Project 8
Get Comfortable With Visual Aids
Speaking
Visual aids help an audience understand and remember what they hear; they are a valuable tool for speakers. The most popular visual aids are computer-based visuals, overhead transparencies, flip charts, whiteboards and props. The type of visual aid you choose depends on several factors, including the information you wish to display and the size of the audience. Visuals must be appropriate for your message and the audience, and be displayed correctly with ease and confidence.
Project objectives:
  • Select visual aids that are appropriate for your message and the audience.
  • Use visual aids correctly with ease and confidence.
Time: 5 to 7 minutes.
Project 9
Persuade with Power
Speaking
The ability to persuade people - getting them to understand, accept and act upon your ideas - is a valuable skill. Your listeners will more likely be persuaded if they perceive you as credible, if you use logic and emotion in your appeal, if you carefully structure your speech and if you appeal to their interests. Avoid using notes because they may cause listeners to doubt your sincerity, knowledge and conviction.
Project objectives:
  • Persuade listeners to adopt your viewpoint or ideas or to take some action.
  • Appeal to the audience's interests.
  • Use logic and emotion to support your position.
  • Avoid using notes.
Time: 5 to 7 minutes.
Project 10
Inspire Your Audience
Speaking
An inspirational speech motivates an audience to improve personally, emotionally, professionally or spiritually and relies heavily on emotional appeal. It brings the audience together in a mood of fellowship and shared desire, builds the audience's enthusiasm, then proposes a change or plan and appeals to the audience to adopt this change or plan. This speech will last longer than your previous talks, so make arrangements in advance with your Vice President Education for extra time.
Project objectives:
  • To inspire the audience by appealing to noble motives and challenging the audience to achieve a higher level of beliefs or achievement.
  • Appeal to the audience's needs and emotions, using stories, anecdotes and quotes to add drama.
  • Avoid using notes.
Time: 8 to 10 minutes.
The Toastmasters educational program is © 2007 Toastmasters International. All rights reserved. This information is provided as a service to our members. For full details on each project, refer to your Competent Communication manual.
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We are Club #4705 [Area:S1 Division: Saguaro District:3 Region: 10] of Toastmasters International. Dobson Ranch Toastmasters is an Open Toastmasters Cub.