Advanced Communicator Awards

Have you ever been thrust into a situation where you’ve had just a few minutes to prepare for an important meeting where you have to brief your managers or clients?

Have you ever felt nervous and uncertain about a speaking role at a major family event?

If you have, and you want to avoid these types of situations in the future, then you need to complete the Advanced Communication manuals.

The Advanced Communication Program consists of 15 manuals, each containing five speech projects.  Each manual helps members further develop speaking skills and offers practical experience in handling a variety of speaking situations.

You’ll learn how to master many situations you may encounter in your daily work, in business with customers and clients, with managers or colleagues, and with people in the community, friends and family.

Timings

Timings in the Advanced Manuals range from 3 to 30 minutes.  Some examples are the Special Occasions “Mastering the Toast” speech, 3 minutes, to the Technical Presentations “Team Technical” lasting 30 minutes.  Most are usually 5-7, 6-8, or 8-10 minutes.  Some include Question and Answer sessions after the speech, or setup, speech, Q&A or feedback from the audience.

Research and preparation

The advanced speech projects require some in-depth research for facts or ideas; you may need to find poems, plays, stories or jokes, look up the internet, talk to people, analyse reports, summarise issues and find examples to support your points.  You’ll also need to prepare a variety of visual aids from ohps to supporting objects, handouts and flipcharts, and rehearse their use.  This is an opportunity to be creative and innovative, and to try out new ways of doing things!

Challenge your thinking and speaking

In the advanced speech projects, you’ll be challenging your thinking and speaking with a variety of assignments, such as speaking in praise of someone, living or dead, proposing an idea or course of action, persuading someone to buy something, presenting a technical paper in non-technical terms.

You’ll learn how to tell stories and jokes effectively, analyse a concept or theory and present your interpretation on it, find a suitable literary piece to read, communicate a vision and a mission, and inform your audience about something new.

There’s plenty to challenge your thinking and speaking in the advanced manuals, and your topics are limited only by your imagination. You can also use some of the advanced manual projects as dry runs for real life situations you may have coming up, such as a wedding toast, or a presentation to a client.

Different audiences

One of the best things about completing advanced manuals is that you get to deliver your speech to a variety of audiences.  You may be in an interview situation, leading a discussion group, enacting a scene or role play with a partner, asking for audience feedback, confronting an audience with a controversial issue, or fielding questions from the audience.  You can ask for the audience to adopt a role of your choice to meet the requirements of the speech project by having your speech introduced setting the scene.

You could also be giving a speech about one particular person in the audience (a toast or a roast) or it could be about yourself, where you are “accepting an award”.

In-depth Evaluations

By completing advanced speech projects, you’ll benefit from in-depth evaluations from other experienced evaluators.  Your evaluations will be both written and oral, where you may be rated on a scale, or improvement level.  The evaluator will also answer questions such as “Was the speaker able to build rapport with the audience?”  “How effective were the jokes?”  “How did the visual aids enhance audience understanding of the topic?”

Your evaluator could also try new methods of evaluation, including thorough preparation by prior discussion with you, introducing your speech to set the scene, and leading a group evaluation with the audience.

Action Plan

Finding suitable speaking opportunities to complete advanced manual projects can be difficult at times.  Here’s a few suggestions:

In your Club/Toastmasters, you can give advanced speeches:

  • At club meetings
  • Speaker exchange with another club
  • Giving educationals
  • Leading a Speechcraft course
  • At club officer training
  • At District sponsored training sessions
  • Workshops at a Division/District conference

Outside Toastmasters you can

  • credit up to two assignments per manual
  • You must have your VP Education permission
  • You must have a Toastmaster present to evaluate your speech
  • Your speech must meet the assignment objectives

Check the article “On Your Own: Tips on Speaking Outside the Club” in “The Toastmaster”, August 2003, page 21.  There’s some excellent tips on how to prepare for and present a speech at a non-Toastmasters speaking engagement.

Results

To achieve an Advanced Communicator Award, you need to complete any two manuals per award level (plus some other requirements).

By completing advanced manuals, you will have:

  • learnt new skills
  • acquired new knowledge
  • spoken in a variety of situations
  • in front of a variety of audiences
  • used many different types of visual aids
  • received recognition for your efforts
  • opened up new opportunities for your future
  • and identified areas you enjoy or excel at

You will also have helped achieve your club’s educational goals.

And you’ll be better prepared for those unexpected (and planned) real life situations, and be able to draw upon your Toastmasters experience to deliver a dynamic, interesting, interactive presentation.

So, what are you waiting for?