Competent Communicator Award

The Competent Communicator Manual is designed to give new members a strong start in developing a core set of skills for public speaking. Each of the ten projects in this basic manual focuses on a certain aspect of speech making – from organisation to delivery.

The Manual (also called the “basic manual”) helps you develop the basic skills you need to prepare and present an effective speech.

Ten Projects
The manual is organised into ten separate projects, each with its own individual focus or objective. An extremely effective tool in developing your speaking skills, the manual does not tell you exactly what to do or what to speak about, but rather it provides a set of guidelines for you to think about as you prepare your speech.

The ten speeches in the Basic Manual can be divided into three broad categories: (1) beginning speeches, (2) “mechanical” speeches, and (3) “put it all together” speeches. Speeches #1 through #3 should probably be given in order and #10 should definitely be the last speech. Outside of those limitations, there is flexibility within each group as to the order you present them, although it is recommended that you follow the order of the manual.

As an essential part of the Toastmasters programme, a fellow Toastmaster will evaluate each speech you give, providing positive feedback and suggestions for improvement, as necessary.

1. The Icebreaker

Time: 4-6 minutes

Objectives:

To begin speaking before an audience, to help you understand what areas require particular emphasis in your speaking development and to introduce yourself to your club members. Download the full Icebreaker Speech Project.

2. Organise Your Speech

Time: 5-7 minutes

Objectives:

To select an appropriate outline which allows listeners to easily follow and understand you, using supporting material and transitioning from one idea to the next appropriately. Use a strong opening and conclusion.

3. Get to the Point

Time: 5-7 minutes

Objectives:

To prepare a speech that has a clear general purpose (to inform, persuade, entertain or inspire) and a specific purpose, well organised, projecting sincerity and conviction.

4. How To Say It

Time: 5-7 minutes

Objectives:

To use words and arrangements of words that effectively communicate your message, making sure it is clear, accurate, and descriptive. Use of simple words and correct grammar, with a clear purpose and be well organised.

5. Your Body Speaks

Time: 5-7 minutes

Objectives:

To use stance, movement, gestures, facial expressions and eye contact to express your message and make your body language smooth and natural. You’ll also evaluate your progress.

6. Vocal Variety

Time: 5-7 minutes

Objectives:

To explore the use of voice volume, pitch, rate, and quality as assets to your speaking, and to achieve a pleasing, natural voice quality when speaking.

7. Research Your Topic

Time: 5-7 minutes

Objectives:

To collect information about your chosen topic from a variety of sources, and to support your points and opinions with specific facts, examples and illustrations.

8. Get Comfortable with Visual Aids

Time: 5-7 minutes

Objectives:

To learn the value of props in speaking, and learn how to use props and visual aids effectively in your presentations.

9. Persuade with Power

Time: 5-7 minutes

Objectives:

To present a talk that persuades the audience to accept your proposal or viewpoint. You’ll need to achieve this persuasive effect by appealing to the audience’s self-interest, building a logical foundation for agreement, and arousing emotional commitment to your cause.

10. Inspire Your Audience

Time: 8-10 minutes

Objectives:

Your final project is to understand the mood and feelings of your audience on a particular occasion, and to put those feelings into words to inspire the audience, using all the techniques you have learned so far. You’ll also evaluate your progress again.