As many of you may have already guessed, I am a member of Toastmasters, a worldwide
association of public speaking clubs which provides the opportunity for novice
and experienced speakers alike to practice and get contructive feedback.

It is standard protocol in a Toastmasters meeting that a speaker starts his
speech with the words “Mr Toastmaster, Fellow Toastmasters and most welcome

Now I am the first to admit that this can get a bit formulaic and repetitive but
I was reminded recently of the benefits a practiced opening brings, particularly to new and
inexperienced speakers.

When you are nervous, getting started can be one fo the hardest parts of public
speaking. By giving everyone a familiar and well rehearsed opening like
“Mr Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters, and most welcome guests” everyone who
comes up to the lectern to speak can start off knowing exactly what they are going to say
and can say it clearly and confidently. This positive start builds both confidence
and a positive momentum that leads the speaker naturally into the introduction
and the body of their speech.

Of course this opening is not appropriate for all types of speech or presentations inside or outside of
Toastmasters however, the principle of having a well rehearsed opening is. Ideally one should always rehears the whole presentation a number of times prior to delivering the speech for real but this isn’t always possible. But there is always time to prepare and rehearse your first few words. If you are confident about the first few words yu are going to say, you increase your chances of a successful presentation significantly.

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