How a Speech Club Can Change Your Life
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit Proverbs 18:21
Several years ago, my good friend Susan N. started a gavel club, Toastmaster International’s program for teens. Not only has it been a great extra-curricular class for my teens but it’s been a seed planting, future changing, God honoring, ministry.
I know for certain we will never truly fathom how these young adults’ lives have been changed for the better, but I do recognize the changes in my own girls. I see the difference, already, that communicating well can achieve. And their lives are just beginning.
I want to tell you how Gavel can change and enrich your life.
– George Jessel (a comedian), once said, “The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public.”
Can You Relate???? Public speaking stretches you, scares you to death, and at the same time impacts you and opens doors that will change your life– more than any other class or club can.
I know most teens initially participate because their parents made them. But I believe that by the end of the year (or sooner) they become grateful for the experience.
Several years ago, I spoke with a former member of our gavel club as she was graduating from high school and heading off to college. I asked her, “What is the one thing that made the most significant difference in your life so far?” She replied, “Gavel Club.” This made a huge impact on me hearing this from a teenager.
Imagine how your life can different with a Gavel or speech club?
Imagine how being a good communicator can influence:
- the man or woman you marry
- your career path
- or even your ability to share the gospel?
I want to tell you about 3 ways a Gavel (or Speech/Toastmaster) Club will change your life:
I. – Learning to Speak In Public Increases Your Self-Confidence-
Self confidence affects every aspect of your life
- My oldest daughter joined Gavel four years ago. Within one year she became the Vice President of a local homeschool teen youth group and within two years became President…..I believe, because of the self confidence she gained in Gavel Club.
- My middle daughter is an actress & performer- Gavel Club has not only helped her to attain lead roles, but also sharpened her performances and helped her get into character roles.
- What I love is– sitting and watching as an advisor, seeing the increase in self confidence in students, from their first speech at the beginning of the year to the last speech at the end of the year. This goes for newbies and seasoned speakers, as well. It is tremendously rewarding to have a front row seat for this significant self-confidence change.
II. – The 2nd Way a Speech Club Can Change Your Life is In Regards to Your Future or Current Career.
You know, we are always selling something; whether it is a product, an idea, or even ourselves.
- Being well spoken increases our credibility.
- Hiring decision makers list “communication” as the #1 skill they seek in new hires.
- Public speaking also looks good on a resume and transcript. One hiring decision maker I know, puts all resumes that have Toast masters’ experience to the top of the pile .
- Being well spoken helps with networking; which is the cultivating of business relationships.
- Public speaking and leadership skill programs cost hundreds of dollars. I know because I have spent it. I have paid up to $750 for a speaking conference that, although was excellent, was expensive.
- Our gavel club cost about $1.50 a week. (And you can start one yourself.)
- Did you know that over 3,000 companies sponsor and invest in in-house Toastmaster clubs including Walt Disney, Coca-Cola, and Apple Computer?
III. – The 3rd Way a Speech Club Can Change Your Life is in the Skills You Develop.
And these skills stay with you a lifetime.
There is no small job in Gavel! Because each job holds an opportunity for practice in speaking in front of an audience in a safe environment.
Although every job has skills to learn, I want to just discuss the skills I think are the most relevant:
- Officers: As an officer, you learn roles of leadership, professionalism, how to welcome and introduce guests, how to set the tone of a meeting, how to supervise & delegate, how to make announcements and how to run an election.
- As Secret Greeter, you learn discretion.
- As Game Master, you learn how to instruct and implement a game– and teach everyone how to work together. This foster friendships, team work, and camaraderie.
- As Gavel Master, you learn preparation skills, phone skills, how to create an agenda and how to lead a meeting.
- As Word Master, you learn new words and how to use them correctly.
- As Master Evaluator, you learn how to evaluate a meeting and it’s evaluators.
- As Ballot Master, you learn preparation skills by getting those awards signed by the President before the meeting. You also learn the importance of your vote.
- As Timer, you learn how to pay strict attention during the meeting. You communicate with the speaker using visual warning lights. **This can be hard when you are get into listening to a great speech. It teaches you to be mindful.
- As Joke Master, you learn the art of telling a good joke, the beauty of timing and the importance of pauses and inflection.
- As an Improv (Table Topics) “victim”, you learn how to think on your feet, manage topics you may know nothing about, and how to create and develop a story. (Think job interview.)
- As an audience, you improve your listening skills and learn how to give constructive feedback.
- As a speaker, you learn: organization, writing, goal setting, focus, poise, vocal variety, how to over come fears and critical thinking. You become a role model to others. You learn about yourself; what you love, what you are passionate about, how to practice and how to feel comfortable in your own skin. You also learn deliver methods such as how to persuade, inform, and inspire. (These are just to name a few!)
As teenagers, it is hard to wrap your brain around how your life will be in 20 years. I have that hindsight and I would give all the tea in China if I had had the opportunity of a gavel club as a teenager.
I recently read an article in the Toastmaster magazine by Janet Whitcomb entitled, “What If They Had Been Toastmasters?”
It talked about how people in history who would have benefitted from a membership in a Gavel/speech Club.
- One person Ms. Whitcomb mentioned is Moses. He was stressed out at the prospect of leading the Israelites out of Egypt. Imagine how a gavel club would have raised his self-confidence and fine-tuned his persuasive speaking ability with the Pharaoh.
- The author also mentioned that Mark Twain was disgruntled with hearing Charles Dickens’ recitations because he delivered his talks with “no heart or feeling.” There is no telling what a more engaging speaking style verbally could have done for both Charles Dickens and his listeners.
- This past spring, I was reading a Landmark History book to my youngest. It talked about how in the late 1900s, presidential elections had begun to change and that personality became more important. Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe did not like to speak in public. As a matter of fact, Washington’s farewell address was not even spoken by him but published in a newspaper! They also say Jefferson was a poor, soft-spoken speaker. Knowing their great contribution to our country, imagine what their contributions might have been if they had had the ability to speak well?
And what about you? How can God use you? How can you use these skills to better yourself?
How can you use these skills to help other people?
Whether you become a professional, self-employed, a company CEO, a missionary, or a stay-at-home mom,
your ability to communicate an idea or share a message can change the world.
A year in Gavel Club is like unwrapping a present.
The gift is yourself.
Embrace the process.
The above is a Gavel 101 speech I gave to our club this fall. You can hear it here:
(Unintentionally, you can see a model of the Twin Towers behind me. This, along with a U.S. map, my daughter used for her speech on 9/11 for Speech 8: Get Comfortable With Visual Aids.)
Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 1:4-10 (Emphasis mine)
If you would like to start your own Speech Club, contact Susan below!
Tailored for Toastmaster International’s gavel club program, the Speech Club Kit is almost a “meeting in a box” — and geared for teenagers. Whether you’re starting your own speech club or already have one running, the kit will have your club organized (and fun!) in no time. It contains: job descriptions, job scripts (so people know what to say and when), job assignment scheduler, a meeting planner/calendar, logs, and much more. If you have any questions, or would like further information, please contact Susan at email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from you. — Susan N., The Gavel Advisor