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Your First 10 Speeches

As a new member of toastmasters, you'll follow the "Competent Communicator" Manual (also referred to as the Basic Manual) which helps you develop the basic skills you need to become an effective speaker.

The manual is organized into ten separate projects, each with its own individual focus or objective. An extremely effective tool in developing your speaking skills, the Competent Communicator manual never tells 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.

After completing the Competent Communicator manual, members earn Competent Communication (CC) recognition and are able to focus their efforts on the projects in the advanced speech manuals of the Toastmasters program.

  1. The Icebreaker (4-6 minutes)
    • To begin speaking before an audience.
    • To discover speaking skills you already have and skills that need some attention.
    • To introduce yourself to your club members.
  2. Organize Your Speech (5-7 minutes)
    • Select an appropriate outline which allows listeners to easily follow and understand your speech.
    • Make your message clear, with supporting material directly contributing to that message.
    • Use appropriate transitions when moving from one idea to another.
    • Create a strong opening and conclusion.
  3. Get to the Point (5-7 minutes)
    • Select a speech topic and determine its general and specific purposes.
    • Organize the speech in a manner that best achieves those purposes.
    • Ensure the beginning, body and conclusion reinforce the purposes.
    • Project sincerity and conviction and control any nervousness you may feel.
    • Strive not to use notes.
  4. How to Say It (5-7 minutes)
    • Select the right words and sentence structure to communicate your ideas clearly, accurately and vividly.
    • Use rhetorical devices to enhance and emphasize ideas.
    • Eliminate jargon and unnecessary words. Use correct grammar.
  5. Your Body Speaks (5-7 minutes)
    • Use stance, movement, gestures, facial expressions and eye contact to express your message and achieve your speech's purpose.
    • Make your body language smooth and natural.
  6. Vocal Variety (5-7 minutes)
    • Use voice volume, pitch, rate and quality to reflect and add meaning and interest to your message.
    • Use pauses to enhance your message.
    • Use vocal variety smoothly and naturally.
  7. Research Your Topic (5-7 minutes)
    • Collect information about your topic from numerous sources.
    • Carefully support your points and opinions with specific facts, examples and illustrations gathered through research.
  8. Get Comfortable with Visual Aids (5-7 minutes)
    • Select visual aids that are appropriate for your message and the audience.
    • Use visual aids correctly with ease and confidence.
  9. Persuade with Power (5-7 minutes)
    • Persuade listeners to adopt your viewpoint or ideas or to take some action.
    • Appeal to the audience's interests.
    • Use logic and emotion to support your position.
    • Avoid using notes.
  10. Inspire Your Audience (8-10 minutes)
    • To inspire the audience by appealing to noble motives and challenging the audience to achieve a higher level of beliefs or achievement.
    • Appeal to the audience's needs and emotions, using stories, anecdotes and quotes to add drama.
    • Avoid using notes.