Christmas is just peeking cheekily from the corner. Yup, the time for twinkling lights, big shiny baubles, fresh pine trees, sweet carolling, the tantalising smell of freshly baked cookies, a vision of red, white and green, hence termed by yours truly as the merry colours, all await us.

Ah, Christmas is a wonderful time.  And like all wonderful times, it would not be wonderful if they are not spent with really special people. With that spirit, it thrills me that our upcoming meeting, that is on the 16th of December 2009, will be a themed meeting!

That’s right, spare no flair and come decked up in the merry colours. Sharmini is bringing a Christmas tree! So if you have any decorative items to put on it, do bring them. It’ll be fun, decorating a Christmas CIMA Toastmastmaster tree. 😀

Our last meeting was a really special meeting, as we had a DTM present as our guest of honour. She was none other than DTM LeAnn Tang. She gave us a short but impactful talk on how to become a better speaker when presented with impromptu speech opportunities. Her suggestion was a 5 step plan, and goes like this:

(a) Listen

(b) Pause

(c) Confirm

(d) Speak up

(e) Shut Up!

Well, personally, i think these are fabulous guidelines. Especially the listening and pausing part. It really calms you down, and instead of plunging head in into a totally impromptu topic, you stop awhile. Gather your thought and nerves together, and then your thoughts are naturally better structured.

She also gave a few strategies on how to tackle an impromptu topic. There are many ways to express oneself. A few fool-proof ways are:

(a) Expressing an opinion [agree, neutral, disagree]

(b) Addressing the cause and effect of a situation.

(c) Breaking topics into smaller components.

(d) Discussing past, present and future perspectives of a topic.

These too, were very, extremely helpful. Table Topics, or rather impromptu speaking can really make ones’ mind render blank. Lucky for us, we can start practising with these few strategies and build on from there. Its really important to take the 1st step and conquer our fear. Now, with all these strategies, our tension will only be eased a great deal.

Oh and a final tip that she gave us all, was to:

NOT apologise.

NOT invent.

NOT ramble.

Spoken from a DTM. Very sound advise indeed.

So, go for it! start practising your impromptu speeches! We’re all here to support each other. I was inspired. I hope you were too. 🙂


~ by cimatoastmaster on December 12, 2009.

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