Recently I was watching the Miss USA pageant while doing my evening reading. I usually don’t pay much attention to those contests, but when the judges posed the final question, I watched to see how the contestants would answer. I participate in Toastmasters, and tend to reflect on what I have learned about public speaking when I observe others speak.
Three of the five finalists stumbled in their speaking, using um, ah, double clutches (repeating the same phrase twice in a row) and various miscues that Toastmasters helps you learn to avoid. Two of the contestants spoke well, particularly Miss Rhode Island, the eventual winner, who paused briefly to collect her thoughts on a tough question, and then answered in a way that would have made any Toastmaster proud.
Speaking skills are vital to communications and leadership, and confident, effective speakers make a strong impression on those around them. If you’d like to become a better speaker, consider joining Toastmasters. Not all of us will speak on national television, but everyone eventually needs to address a group and make a good impression.
© 2012 – Rick Pay – All rights reserved