Help with Your Wedding Speech

Are you recently engaged and already worrying about preparing your speech for the wedding?

Or perhaps you’re taking on another speaking role at a wedding this year and are unsure about how to approach it.

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that public speaking ranks close to death as one of the greatest fears.

So why not try and tackle it now, in the run-up to the big day?

We’re not going to promise to write a great speech for you.  It’s important that your own personality, your own stories and your own style come across to everyone.  That will be what your friends and family are expecting from you.

We can’t promise to teach you everything we know in a single session.  We believe that public speaking is best learned slowly.

What we can promise, though, is that joining Doncaster Speakers will help you to learn the craft of speaking.  We’ll help you to understand the nuts and bolts of a great speech.  We’ll give you feedback when you’re practising speeches, and you’ll be involved in evaluating and feeding back on other speakers.

There will be times when you’ll feel challenged to take big steps forward, there’ll be times when you’ll begin to see big improvements. There’ll even be times when you go home aching with laughter because speaking really can be fun when it’s done amongst friends.

We’re convinced that joining us now will be a huge benefit when it comes to the big day.  Two Monday evenings a month between now and the wedding. Think how much you could achieve.

The first session’s totally free. Click here for details of our meetings.

Oh, and a huge Congratulations from us,  by the way – we’re thrilled for you!

Congratulations, Wedding Speakers

Meeting Report – 9th January 2012

Shelagh Jones reports on the first meeting of 2012 with the very appropriate theme of Resolutions

  • Fred Roberts as Sergeant at Arms manned the table at the door so dutifully she nearly missed getting a drink before we started! She opened the meeting on time and introduced the Toastmaster for the evening Karen Trem.
  • Karen gave a very clear explanation of handclapping, and hand shaking, introduced the committee and then explained her choice of theme, explaining how the structure of Toastmasters helps us to build self-belief by a system of actions, feedback and recognition.
  • Karen then introduced the supporting role-players for the evening:
  • Gail Powell, Timekeeper, explained succinctly the role of Timekeeper including the use of the green, yellow and red cards – maybe a little too succinctly, taking barely 60 seconds, but good for her first time in the role.
  • William Sloan, Ah Counter, was also doing his role for the first time, and again explained succinctly that he would be looking out for the crutch words such as err, umm and others – another good first effort.
  • Mark Powell as Grammarian, on the other hand, spoke fluidly and engagingly about his role to monitor the use of language during the meeting, He introduced his word for the day, “Interrogate” and gave several helpful examples of its various meanings, one of them involving interaction with Jamie which was a nice point and brought home the meaning effectively.
  • Karen introduced Liz Tarleton to evaluate Lisa Johnson, the only speaker for the evening, and also explained the voting/feedback slips.
  • Liz gave a well-prepared introduction to Lisa’s speech, number 6 in the CC manual, which was to focus on Vocal variety and was called “”The 7 deadly Sins of Christmas”.
  • Lisa’s speech was very cleverly constructed and highly entertaining, taking the 7 Deadly Sins and relating them to her own experiences, past and present, of Christmas.
  • Lisa won the Best Speaker award as she completed her speech on time – but it was a shame that there was no other speaker against whom she could measure her performance.

When we only have one speaker, we lose this element of competition and it does take away something from the meeting both for that speaker and for the others at the meeting.

  • Fred Roberts stepped in at very short notice to deliver an Education session on Social Networking which she was planning for another meeting, and had obviously put in a lot of time preparing it which showed in both the quality of the material and way it was presented.

Fred is extremely experienced in this field which became obvious as she illustrated the points she wanted to make by reference to sites she manages for herself and her business,

We often talk about “less is more” and what impressed me about this presentation is that she “pulled out” the most essential facts she thought would be helpful to Doncaster Speakers members and distilled them down to just 15 minutes of presentation – very impressive!

Questions and answers followed and from the engagement with the audience, some of whom were totally new to Social Networking, it was obvious how effective the presentation had been.

There is no special Award for presenting an Education session but as GE I do have the opportunity to commend Fred on her presentation.

(and if you haven’t already, do join the Facebook Group, Like the Facebook Page, and follow @doncastertm on Twitter)

  • After the break (during which Karen noticed that the screen was still lit and dealt with that –good management) Fred re-started the meeting on time and the General Evaluator, Shelagh Jones, explained that importance of evaluation and the skill of listening as the start of giving effective evaluation. Mark, as Grammarian, gave a reminder and excellent further examples of how to use the Word of the Day.
  • Liz gave a very skilled evaluation of Lisa’s speech, showing great listening skills and picking up Lisa’s colourful use of language, rhetoric and story-telling. I also liked how she asked Lisa to consider not how she used powerpoint, but whether it enhanced the speech at all.
  • Liz Tarleton put on her second hat for the meeting and posed our Table Topics. She told each of us that she was puzzled by something she had found in our home when she visited it and asked us to explain (these ranged from sheep in the garden to bullet holes in the wall – and beyond..!)
  • The Best Table Topics Speaker was Mark Powell who gave a magnificent explanation of why there is a lock on his fridge!
  • Jamie Godfrey evaluated the Table Topics, and whilst his feedback was of the highest quality, and valuable to all present, he was 90 seconds over this allotted time which ruled him out of the voting for best Evaluator and was particularly unnecessary as the number of speakers was small.
  • William gave a good summary of aahs and ums, showing that he had been listening closely during the meting –well done, William.
  • Mark was disappointed in the usage of his Word of the Day, and gave examples of where it could have been used, which was very helpful. He also picked up some excellent use of language, especially in Lisa’s speech.
  • Mark won the prize for Best Evaluator – a great Double! Well done, Mark!
  • Shelagh gave an overall evaluation of the meeting, and made especial mention of the high energy of all concerned, everyone there to give of their best and to get the most possible out of the meeting, making it a highly enjoyable evening despite smaller numbers than usual.
  • Shelagh, as President, presented the Best Evaluator and Best Table Topics award to Mark – she will present Lisa with her Best Speaker Award at the next meeting on Monday, January 23rd.
  • Shelagh also invited anyone interested to register for the Area Training Day to be help in York, near the railway station, on Sunday February 19th.

Meeting Report – 12th December 2011

Jamie Godfrey reports on the last meeting of 2011.

This was the last meeting of 2011 and the turnout was excellent, being so close to Xmas.

Yvonne was the Seargant at Arms. As ever she completed this task with great ease, and proficiency. Whenever Yvonne is S.a.A in the future, I think that all other Toastmasters should watch, and take note. There is alot we can learn from this.

Liz was the Toastmaster for the evening. As it was the last meeting of the year, she gave a great introduction. Even though she did slip up a little when discussing facts and figures, she did not let this affect her overall performance. Liz has a great ‘stage presence’ and brings lots of personality to the role. All the essentials of the evening were explained.

Liz then introduced the other roles for the evening:

Sean was Timekeeper for the evening. Like Liz, Sean always portrays alot of personality to any role he performs. Sean also got a little ‘tongue-tied’ whilst explaining the role, but like Liz, dealt very well with the little slip up, and everyone clearly understood the role of the Timekeeper. There was a little confusion throughout the meeting on timings, so one recommendation would be to quickly read up on the role before any meeting.

Gail was the Ah Counter. This was her first attempt at this role. The intro was expertly delivered, and as a newer member, I felt she offered something a little different. Great use of the term…’credibility killers’. Gail’s summary at the end of the meeting was based on who ah’d and um’d, rather than specifying numbers. I personally think this is the better approach. I do not think we benefit from knowing if we ah’d 15 or 16 times, but just that we ah’d alot in a speech, and maybe try to identify a pattern which leads to this.

Lisa was Grammarian, She had to take this role right at the last minute. Being one of the more experienced Toastmasters, she explained her role superbly. Lisa’s spoken & written English is fantastic, so any of the newer members should always pay attention to Lisa’s observations. Word of the day was ‘Plethora’. Lisa explained clearly what the word meant, and how to use it in a sentence.

Liz then introduced Michael J Clarke to evaluate Yvonne, who was the only speaker for the evening, and also explained the voting/feedback slips.

As ever, Michael J Clarke gave an excellent introduction to Yvonne speech. The only thing I would have added to the intro, is maybe to let everyone know what Yvonne’s personal goals for the speech were. He actually mentioned this later in the main evaluation, but this would be better in the intro, as everyone could look out for any personal improvements.

Just like Sean and Liz, Yvonne gave a speech that was full of personality. I thoroughly enjoyed her speech, which had plenty of good humour, delivered in the typical ‘Yvonne’ fashion. Its a shame we only had one speaker. I think with the size of the club, we should be looking at having a minimum of 2 speeches EVERY meeting.

The Education Session:- Both Shelagh and Lisa delivered this section. What a fantastic session. The session was about the goals of Toastmasters, both as individuals AND as a Team. This was really important, as we have never really discussed the goals of Doncaster speakers before. Both Shelagh and Lisa were clear, concise, the intro was excellent. Everyone knew exactly the key points that they wanted to get across. I think this was a benchmark on how an Education session should be delivered. I also found the whole session to be very inspiring. After the education slot was completed, I felt it was very clear that we all will have our own goals with Toastmasters, in completing both manuals, BUT also we should look at getting a certain number of people to complete the manuals by certain timelines. This team element will really help Doncaster speakers move forward, and improve. Congratulations to both Lisa and shelagh, who had obviously put alot of prep and time into this session.

After the break , Lisa reminded us all of word of the day….Plethora.

Michael J Clarke then gave his evaluation of Yvonne’s speech. He explained how this was speech 3 from the Competent Communication manual, and what the goals of this speech were. As with Shelagh & Lisa, this evaluation was a benchmark on how evaluations should be delivered. The format was to replay the key parts of the speech at the start, then put some recommendations in the middle, and to summarise, with commendations at the end. Michaels key recommendation was about preparation. Usually a lack of preparation can mean a speech going over time, and Yvonne was very close to the allotted time. The key recommendation for Michael J Clarke was also timing. His evaluation did go over the allotted time, thus he was not valid for ‘best evaluator’ vote. Other than the timing issue, Michaels evaluation was near perfect.

Karen Trem was the Table Topic Master. Her theme was shopping based (very apt for so close to Xmas) using cards with random items on them. Each Toastmaster would take a card, and have upto 2 ½ minutes to deliver a speech. Karen introduced the role clearly, so that everyone understood exactly what was required, and the theme. This was particularly important, as there were a number of visitors at this meeting. As ever, this part of the evening brought much imagination, with some very funny speeches. Many of the newer Toastmasters, and some of the visitors had a go. This is really refreshing. Karen also reminded everyone prior to the speeches of the word of the day. That was excellent.

Michael Bottomley was the Table topics evaluator. He also gave an excellent introduction, reinforced all the key points made by Karen. Michaels approach was to evaluate each individual who entered into table topics, and to make commendations & recommendations on each. I personally think this is the best method, but if there are alot of speakers, can create timing issues. Michael did a fantastic job at evaluating each individual, whilst keeping in time. His key observation was that some speakers were holding up the cards given to them by Karen, and letting the cards be too much of a distraction. The words on the cards also then became a crutch. This was very true. However, because so many speakers were affected by this, there was alot of repetition in Michael’s evaluation. Michaels speeches are always delivered with lots of energy, and animation. This was probably Michael’s best evaluation / speech that I have seen him do for a long long time.

At this point I would like to mention that it was also Michael’s last meeting, as he was moving on to another club, to help them get started. Michael has been a major influence in the success of Doncaster Speakers. His enthusiasm, energy, and participation is one of the reasons why the club is thriving so well. The club gave Michael a card, and thanked him for his time. I would like to reiterate this. Michael was always willing to take on roles, and completed his Competent Communication manual whilst with the club. Good Luck Michael. The new club are very lucky to have you.

I then gave my general Evaluators speech. All the key points are listed above. Unfortunately I went significantly over the allotted time. Apologies to everyone, as the role should only last 7/8/9 minutes. My session finished at 12:30 minutes. Timing is a critical part of Toastmasters, and is something we should all take very seriously.

This was a fantastic meeting, and a great ending to 2011.

The club is in a very healthy position, and 2012 could be a really great year for all at Doncaster Speakers.

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