Toastmasters share tips on the art of impromptu speaking with Arima Borough Queen contestants

Shine in your moment of truth! Area Governor Florence De Silva and the contestants

Toastmasters Area 12 held a Speechcraft Workshop on delivering impromptu speeches at Arima Town Hall on Friday, July 27. The session, under the auspices of His Worship Mayor Ghassan Youseph, took place ahead of today’s Pageant Royale Arima Borough Queen Show.

Lead facilitator Robert De Silva commenced by asking which beauty queen bested Halle Berry in a pageant in London. The answer is, of course, Giselle Laronde-West. Laronde-West brought the Miss World crown to Trinidad & Tobago in 1986, the same year Halle Berry represented her country.

Mr De Silva provided the following tips for planning ahead of time:

Before the show
Improve your diction: by self-study or via a speaking club such as Toastmasters
Read – cultivate a robust vocabulary
Research: current affairs, your sponsor and their industry, the organizers of the show
Practice breathing correctly and deeply
Practice with a mirror, practice with friends and family and use technology if schedules conflict

De Silva then outlined a 5-step approach to the interview round.
Listen to the question
Pause & think – make it the pause that refreshes (smile and engage the audience at this time; create the anticipation for your response
Confirm the question

Robert cautioned “Listen, Pause, Reconfirm, Answer, finally shut-up and sparkle! Trinis have a tendency to be garrulous and therefore we must be conscious of that whenever brevity is required”

He also provided three techniques for structuring an extemporaneous answer.
1.Before and After
2.Past, present, future

De Silva then illustrated how to structure the speech based on each technique employed:
Strong opening
This part of your speech should not be more than 10% of the time. Say something profound or outrageous to grab the attention (once you have the personality to handle the reaction to it)
Body of a speech
This part should be about 80% of the time. The best strategy uses one main point and develops that
The end should be about 10% of the time. Savvy respondents make their close memorable; that is what the judges will remember.

Anatomy of an impromptu answer in pageantry

Area Governor Florence De Silva made an analogy to the Olympic Games also now on in London. She said, “Each of you is at the end of your race. The victor in beauty pageants is not always the one with the most beauty or poise. She is that lady who connects and engages her audience. She shines when facing her moment of truth!”. Miss De Silva continued by stating that beauty and poise are important as they lay an important foundation for effective communication. She advised the young ladies to use the tactics provided in the workshop to confidently win the hearts and minds of the people of Arima and Trinidad & Tobago.

Beauty and Brains: His Worship Ghassan Youseph Mayor of Arima
with some of the contestants and the Toastmasters team

Pageant Royale will be held today at UTT O’Meara Campus from 6:30 P.M. For tickets contact Councillor Flora Singh at 499-6152. Or send best wishes to the contestants and converse on Twitter using hashtag #ToastArimaQueens More photos can be seen on Facebook and Flickr.

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