Toastmaster’s Grammarian Role

Yesterday I have been filling the Grammarian role at the Toastmaster’s weekly meeting.
I had basically two responsibilities:

  • Choose the word of the day/week. This has to be an uncommon word, but that gives you opportunities to be used in daily language.
  • Pay attention to the use/misuse of grammar during the meeting. This is more an exercise of attention and listening.

As the meeting’s topic was going to be ‘Information/misinformation’, I decided on something that is somewhat related to the information age we live in today…

So when the meeting starts, I have to explain what is my role and present the word, its meaning and possible uses. I also encourage everybody to use it, and when someone does, we knock on the table to acknowledge it, cool!
For a meeting with 14 people, the word was used 8 times, which is about 50% “success rate”.

I was also paying close attention to the use of grammar during the speeches, and I was surprised to find that there were no major issues there, so I asked for a round of applause from the attendees to cheer up the spirit and give everybody a nice pat in the back.

Being grammarian was a very interesting experience, you have to pay close attention not only to the speeches but to everything said in the meeting. You also have to keep up with filling your report plus all the feedback for the speeches, a ‘plethora’ of things to do. It is a great opportunity to attend to the meeting but in a totally different role than the regular, and I encourage you to step up and fill the role at your local TM meeting!

Toastmasters Project #1 – The Ice Breaker

I just had my first Toastmasters speech! I am so happy about it. The first project is called “The Ice Breaker” and the objectives are to give a 4-6 minutes speech where you talk about yourself. The name of my speech was “Fears and Believes” and here it is.

I used some freewriting to come up with the ideas that become the pillars of the talk. Then I wrote down the speech on a pages document, split it into Keynote slides. I used a PDF version of the presentation on my iPad to help me with the notes. I have to say that having a PDF document on the iPad with a large font and just having to swipe the pages through is amazing!

Anyways, I gotta say that the feedback I have from my first speech is unbelievable to me. Could it be that I don’t suck at public speaking? After each speech, all of the attendees to the meeting are asked to give you some feedback and this is what I got.

  • Bernardo: I loved the topic! Great for a first speech, it was universal and still gave you a chance to talk about yourself. You seemed comfortable and your speech was obviously well rehearsed. Good job!
  • Very good expression. Reflexed. Well delivered. Good vocabulary
  • Loved your speech. You displayed a lot of human throughout. I learnt a few things about you – where you are from and your sense of travel and adventure. You showed a great presence upfront and your voice projected well. You also had good eye contact. The speech could have been better structured. But that did not take away from your speech. Overall, well done.
  • Bernie: you have a lovely command of the english language, selecting word to describe so much. You started out with your hands in your pockets — nerves? But you quickly withdrew them and looked more comfortable. Well done!
  • Bernardo: Very engaging topics discussed. Good eye contact with users. Excellent job, if you were reading from your notes, I could not tell.
  • Good speech, with confidence. Good job!
  • BernardoBernie :) Good eye contact, friendly and comfortable delivery
  • Bernie: AWESOME!!! Love the demonstration of voice variation. Try to use that throughout your speech. Slow down. More is less. Amazing first speech. You are a natural.

Obviously I was a nerve wreck before I started speaking and also the fact that I was speaker #2 didn’t help, seeing someone else give a great speech, because it makes you think about comparisons, and if you are going to be able to step up to that level.

Overall, I feel just great, it is wonderful to start this journey with the right foot!