Your First Speech
The first topic we set for new members is a three minute speech "About Me". The idea behind this is that you don't need to do any research: you're the expert, you know the topic better than anyone else.
It's not that we're prying or trying to find out everything about you. You can't cover everything in 3 minutes so it's best just to pick one aspect / topic about yourself, something that you think will be interesting to others. You don't need to bare your soul and tell people anything really personal, just pick something you think will be interesting and you're comfortable talking about (to relative strangers).
And three minutes might seem a lot when you have never given a speech before, but most new members find it's a good length. As nervous as I was with my first speech, I found that the 3 minutes was over before I knew it!, - I ended up having to cut my speech short.
After a new member has given their first speech we then try to set other speeches in a similar vein, - i.e. favourite hobby or pastime, your work, favourite sport etc - things that you shouldn't really need to do much research on. The reasoning is the same, - talking about a topic you are familiar with is a lot easier than talking on a topic you don't really know much about.
After your first speech we gradually increase the length - to 4 minutes, then 5 when you are ready. Also, as you progress and gain confidence in speaking you will be slightly more challenging topics.
Rostrum isn't just about public speaking - we also a safe and supporting environment in which members can learn and practice meeting procedures.
After you have given a few speeches you will get an opportunity to take the minutes, and also to chair the meeting. Of course, you'll get plenty of support with these roles:
- when taking the minutes we will provide examples and a template, together with hints on what to include/exclude (and you can always ask for advice if you're unsure);
- chairing the meeting: we provide a coaching-sheet (what to say / what phrases to use) and an experienced member will sit with you to provide help and support while you are chairing the meeting.
Hints and Tips on preparing & giving your first speech
- The New Member Kit provided when you join contains some useful resources to help you with preparing speeches and learning more about Rostrum. Included in the kit is the book "Tips on Public Speaking & Meeting Procedures" which will help you in preparing and giving speeches, calming the nerves ("Make the Butterflies Fly in Formation"), and also how to run a meeting, move motions etc.
- The Speaking Tips section will also help if you have to prepare a speech.