During the Toastmasters meeting, there are two main events the prepared speeches and the table topics speeches are held.

The Table Topics portion of a Toastmasters meeting takes place before or after the formal “prepared speeches” segment and usually lasts 20 or 30 minutes. The Topicsmaster announces a topic or question and calls on several members, one at a time, who give impromptu one- to-two-minute responses to that topic.

When you’re called (or volunteer) to speak during Table Topics, you’ll do well if you keep your remarks brief and to the point. (This is often easier said than done, however!) Try to present sensible, worthwhile ideas that add to the knowledge of others and organize your thoughts into a mini-speech. You’re encouraged to refute or elaborate on ideas and information already presented by other participants.

By participating in Table Topics, you become more fluent. You learn to listen carefully and to create a mini-speech, with a beginning, middle and end. You also draw on your own experiences or knowledge on the topic in relation to the needs and interests of those present.

The Prepared Speeches event comes later, in the prepared speaking portion of the meeting, several Toastmasters will give a prepared presentation or speech before the group. Speeches are usually designed to meet the requirements of one of the projects in the communication manuals.

After all, what’s Toastmasters without the talking? But members don’t just stand up and start yakking. They use the guidelines in the Competent Communication (CC) manual and the Advanced Communication Series (ACS) manuals to fully prepare their presentations.

The CC manual speeches usually last 5-7 minutes. ACS manual project speeches are 5-7 minutes or longer depending upon the assignment.

Every speaker is a role model and club members learn from one another’s speeches. Prepare and rehearse to ensure you present the best speech possible. Don’t insult your fellow club members by delivering a poorly prepared speech.

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