Speechcraft FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about Speechcraft

What is a Speechcraft course?

A Speechcraft course is a short practical course in public speaking for the novice speaker. You'll be joining several other people who want to learn the basics of public speaking quickly in a supportive, friendly environment.

Everyone is involved in all the activities each session. You'll make new friends, learn new things, and have a lot of fun! It's a great way to start your public speaking career!

How will I benefit from a Speechcraft course?

A Speechcraft course will help you to:

  • Gain confidence in public speaking
  • Develop your communication and language skills
  • Learn to think quickly and clearly
  • Become an effective listener
  • Use body language and visual aids
  • Advance your social skills
  • Improve your job or promotion prospects

How are Speechcraft courses run?

Speechcraft Courses are organised and run by Toastmasters Clubs. Each club may run the Speechcraft course slightly differently depending on the type of club, their meeting times, availability of venues etc. Some clubs run the course on separate nights from their normal club meetings, while others run the course in conjunction with their regular meetings. Regardless, every Speechcraft Course is run by experienced Toastmasters who will bring out skills in you that you didn't think you had.

What does a Speechcraft course cost?

Toastmasters is a non-profit organisation run by volunteers. The cost of a Speechcraft Course depends on the organising Club: their venue hire, overhead, materials, et cetera. You will be surprised how little a Speechcraft Course costs compared to other professional development courses. Please contact the organising Club for details.

What will I have to do?

During this practical course, you'll prepare and deliver several speeches. These are 4 to 6 minutes long on a subject of your choice. You'll also participate in impromptu speaking sessions (known as "Table Topics") and you'll learn how to evaluate other speakers using the criteria in the Speechcraft manual. Experienced Toastmasters will also deliver "educationals", where you'll learn how to prepare your speech, hear tips on delivery techniques, and find out how to evaluate other speakers.

What manuals will I receive?

When you begin the Speechcraft course, you'll be given your own personal Toastmasters Speechcraft manual. This manual sets out the speech projects (or assignments) you'll complete during the course. Each project has set objectives, notes on to how to prepare your speech and an evaluation guide for your evaluator.

For example, you will deliver an icebreaker speech, where you introduce yourself to your fellow Speechcrafters. Other projects include using your voice effectively, using props or body language, speaking with sincerity about a topic, using correct and concise word choice, and organising your speech into a specific format. Each project will challenge you, and the valuable information in the Speechcraft manual will help you prepare your speeches.

Where can I get help if I need it?

Every Speechcrafter is assigned a mentor. Mentors are experienced Toastmasters who are available for advice, help and support during the course. The Speechcraft coordinator is always available for help as well.

What happens at the end of the course?

At the end of the course, you'll "graduate", and receive a Toastmasters International Speechcraft Course Completion Certificate. Most Clubs organise a special graduation night, other Clubs might take a different approach. But regardless, you have completed your Speechcraft Course! Congratulations! You will find that you have become a better speaker than you thought possible!

You can then take up the option to join a Toastmasters club – either the one that ran your course, or another one more convenient for you. You will even be able to "credit" the Speechcraft content towards your first "Icebreaker" speech  when you join the Toastmasters club.

Remember

Speechcraft is a short course only, and it is not possible to learn everything in just a few weeks. To get the most benefit from the Toastmasters programme, it is likely to be in your best interests to join a Toastmasters Club, so that you can continue your learning by participating in the full Toastmasters Communication and Leadership programme.

Can Speechcraft courses be run for companies or other organisations?

Yes, a Speechcraft Course can be delivered to your organisation. To find out how, please send your details, including the town or city where the course is to be run, to speechcraftinfo@toastmasters.org.nz.

Here's what past Speechcrafters have said about the Speechcraft course:

  • I have found the course excellent. Within a couple of weeks, I looked forward to Speechcraft nights and felt exhilarated after the meeting. The meetings were more "fun" than I expected and not as stressful as I anticipated.
  • I gained skills in planning my presentation, talking to points, rather than reading my speech, overall confidence, receiving feedback and doing an evaluation.
  • I found the course very educational and rewarding. I gained a great deal, and feel the time was very well spent.
  • It was fantastic!  I really felt that I became more confident with each speech I gave, and that I was totally supported by the Toastmasters running the course.