On 11 May ESC hosted the current World Champion Speaker, Mohammed Qahtani for his workshop on two aspects of public speaking. These were; Preparing an Award Winning Speech and Qualities of a Good Leader. President of ESC Ian Upton introduced the evening to over 100 people. Mohammed is very involved with Toastmasters and personal development, works in IT and is leader of a large team. There were many people who made this event happen, in particular, Patrick Ebbs and Lloyd Griffiths who organized the whole event. Videos and promotional materials will follow in due course.
Here are some of the points covered by Mohammed.
A good speech has structure, a message, good choice of words, body language, voice, informing and humour.
Structure: The opening should have a ‘hook’ to capture the audience’s attention. The body should include 3-4 points, not two or five. Transitions should be with words and pauses. Conclusion, repeat and remind the audience of your points, leave them on a high note with a strong statement.
Words: Paint a picture, have a signature phrase which can be repeated throughout the speech, bring your speech to life and do not start with a rhetorical question as this has been overused.
Body Language: Arms should be below shoulder level. Move with a purpose rather than wandering around the stage.
Voice: Act your speech and use your voice to emphasise points.
Information: State source of information researched, for instance statistics, quotes. Use visual aids to show charts, graphs and pictures.
Humour: Inject a little humour to aid the message. This can be exaggeration, self-deprecation and physical humour.
Conviction: Know your audience prior to preparing your speech. Speak with passion, from the heart. Leave them with something they can do.
Inspirational: Leave the audience on a high note and never copy someone else’s material.
Other points – write your speech, practice many times changing words or parts of the speech you feel would improve it. Time yourself. Practice in front of a mirror then in front of a family member or friend. Ask them ‘was it interesting, clear, worth giving?’ Don’t be afraid to ask for help, particularly with any weak points you may have.
Ask yourself why you are a Toastmaster – how do you want to be remembered for instance, aiming to change the world to make it a better place or to help just one person in a good way. Always speak with a purpose.
Mohammed covered Qualities of a Good Leader starting with the difference between a boss and a leader. A boss gives orders; a leader works with their team/group. They need to be confident to enable discussion and involvement. They also need to be a role model and able to delegate even if a team member makes a mistake, they never make the same mistake twice and you as leader can encourage correct action. Be passionate and here he talked about Walt Disney and how he was determined to make animation films. Also a leader should be reachable such as Henry Ford who did not sit in a large office but had a small area on the work floor. Be friendly; include the team in discussions and decisions. Don’t make empty promises, be truthful.
Lastly be thankful when one or all the team has done well, show your appreciation.
Our thanks go to Mohammed for his insight and also to Ian Upton, Patrick Ebbs and Lloyd Griffiths for all their hard work to make this event a success. The photographer at the event was Paul Milsom (Lightning Photography Ltd).
June McCullough, DTM