Speechcraft is a program where experienced members of a club can present basic public speaking fundamentals to non-members. We've had a few of our past members get their first exposure to Toastmasters this way, and it is a great program for getting people's feet wet in the realm of public speaking.
Why did we do a Speechcraft?
Putting together a successful Speechcraft program represents a substantial amount of work for a club to execute in addition to regular meeting content. We decided to do Speechcraft for probably the same reason many other clubs decide to do it: Passion for sharing the public speaking skills we've learned with a group of people who can really benefit from those skills.
Our Srg at Arms Alberto had first brought the idea to our club many months ago. He is in charge of several groups of rotational employees within the Finance department at Sempra Engergy, San Diego's premiere energy company. Last year, Sempra issued a new requirement for the graduating group to present a short presentation about their experience to executive staff members. This threw many of the graduates off-guard, as public speaking and presenting had not been a part of their otherwise extensive training, and only 50% of the graduates were confident enough to give the presentation.
This year, Alberto was determined to set up his new group of trainees for success. He approached our club with the problem - his trainees needed public speaking experience - and asked what Toastmasters could do to help. Our VP of Education Mark H. looked into the idea of doing a Speechcraft program and we were delighted to discover that we could customize the content to teach exactly the skills the trainees wanted to practice.
We set up our Speechcraft program as one-hour training sessions that spanned a six-week period of time. The first session introduced the program and concepts that would be helpful at all later sessions: I started off by giving a speech on Vocal Variety, then we had a club member give a speech and we demonstrated an evaluation. The rest of the sessions focused on the prepared speeches and evaluations of the trainees.
Week 1: Introduction to program, Topic Focus: Vocal Variety, Toastmaster Member Speech, Toastmaster Member Evaluation
Week 2-6: Weekly Topic Focus, 2 Trainee Speeches, 2 Trainee Evaluations
Each session was opened up with fun warm-up exercises to get the group loosened up and ready to go. Because we also included the roles of Toastmaster, General Evaluator, Ah Counter, Timer, and Grammarian each session, all ten of the trainees were able to rotate through all of the traditional Toastmaster roles and practice speaking at each session. The topic focuses included things we thought would be useful for the trainees to use in a corporate setting, such as Body Motion and PowerPoint tips and tricks.
We had an impressive level of participation within our club. Several members arranged time our of their busy schedules during the week to join one of the sessions and help run the session or give a speech they prepared. Here are some thoughts from some of our members who participated: Alberto, Jennifer, Johanna, Lorraine, Mark, Patty, Peter, Wendy