The Competent Communicator is the first public speaking certification offered by Toastmasters. When you become a member, you receive a book called Competent Communication, containing 10 speech projects, each outlining a speaking skill to practice via a prepared speech at a Toastmasters meeting.
Competent Communication Speech 1: The Ice Breaker
The goal of your first speech is to just get up there and kick off your speaking practice and benchmark your skills. To make the experience a little easier, the topic is something you know very well – yourself. This is a slightly shorter speech (4-6 minutes instead of the usual 5-7 minutes) and can be about anything related to you.
Topics could include a holiday you went on, a turning point in life, influential mentors, and favourite hobbies. You could even talk about how you ended up in a Toastmasters meeting!
Competent Communication Speech 2: Organize Your Speech
For your second speech, you focus on the organization and clarity of outline. Make sure to include and practice an opening and conclusion, and have no more than three clear points in between.
Competent Communication Speech 3: Get to the Point
Your third speech should have a key message – state your key message early and use your material to provide supporting points, and reiterate your key message in your conclusion..
Competent Communication Speech 4: How to Say It
For this speech, you focus on the actual words and delivery of your speech, including word choice, sentence structure, and rhetorical devices. Typically speeches involve topics that lend themselves to evoking the senses (the smell and taste of food, or the colours and sounds of a big event).
Competent Communication Speech 5: Your Body Speaks
Now we turn to your body language during your speech – posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, and stagecraft.
Competent Communication Speech 6: Vocal Variety
Next up, you practice varying your voice in terms of voice pitch, pace, and pauses. Vocal variety is a great way to keep your audience engaged in your speech.
Competent Communication Speech 7: Research Your Topic
It’s a great chance to pick a topic you don’t already know, but that you are interested in. For this speech, you want to make sure to back up arguments with research and evidence and share that evidence to make your speech stronger.
Competent Communication Speech 8: Visual Aids
Many of our presentations do include a visual component – often a PowerPoint presentation – and this is your opportunity to employ visual aids in a positive way (no death by PPT please!). You can also mix things up with props or even by drawing on a whiteboard or flipchart instead of using PPT, (remembering to face the audience whenever you speak.)
Competent Communication Speech 9: Persuade with Power
Now it’s time to get in the mind of your audience and learn how to deliver a powerful, persuasive message. You could use a debate, something topical or something you are particularly passionate about.
Competent Communication Speech 10: Inspire Your Audience
For your 10th speech – the final speech of the Competent Communication certification – you pull together all the skills practiced in the first 9 speeches to deliver a killer presentation that inspires your audience. Make them think, be memorable for all the right reasons.
The Advanced Communicator Track consists of 15 different project books (usually of 5 projects each) which allow you to specialise in the areas you are most interested in and want to develop in. You complete two advanced books per level. On completion of these you will achieve the following:
- Advanced Communication Bronze
- Advanced Communication Silver
- Advanced Communication Gold
Knocking that out of the park, in conjunction with the advanced leadership certification, will earn you status as Distinguished Toastmaster.
What are you waiting for?