Toastmasters Advanced Manuals: Speaking to Inform

Last week I talked about the Interpretive Reading manual, which was not something I’d expected to find in Toastmasters. Speaking to Inform, however, is exactly what I expected: a series of potentially very dry speeches.

Speaking to Inform was the first advanced manual that I completed. It was easy; since the purpose of the projects is just to inform people. Trying to persuade or inspire people is a lot harder for me, but this manual didn’t ask me to do that. The main challenge here is not boring your audience.

The projects here are:

1. The speech to inform – 5-7 minutes

2. Resources for informing – 5-7 minutes – This is similar to the Research your topic speech in the CC manual.

3. The demonstration talk – 5-7 minutes – Here you have to demonstrate something, either by doing something, bringing in the object you’re talking about, or using a model. For the latter two options it’s just a standard speech with a visual aid.

4. A fact-finding report – 5-7 minutes plus 2-3 minutes of Q&A – In theory I like the Q&A portions of talks, but in practice the Toastmasters audience is too soft on the speakers. We’re too used to being nice. For this speech I cheated; I didn’t want to spend extra time doing research, so I wrote a flash fiction story in the form of a report. I still need to get that cleaned up and start submitting it. (Again, another example of keeping my own goals in mind rather than what the organization wants me to do.)

5. The abstract concept – 6-8 minutes

This is a decent manual for just about anyone. There’s nothing exciting about it, and nothing particularly challenging about it, so I feel that it’s a good choice for someone who just finished the basic manual or who isn’t as confident and comfortable as they’d like to be. Where the Interpretive Reading manual stretched me, this one solidified what I had already learned to do.

(Ha, last week I said I’d do Specialty Speeches this week. That’ll be next week.)

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