The fear of public speaking is so common that most people would rank it above their fear of death, spiders, heights and small spaces. But whether you’re talking about your club’s finances at a meeting or delivering a welcome speech at a service project, public speaking skills will go a long way in building a thriving club. Past International Director Ed Lecius of Merrimack, New Hampshire, said that despite working in radio, public speaking wasn’t always his specialty. “There was no Internet back then, so I did some research at the local library,” Lecius said. “Over time, I’ve been fortunate to progress to the point where I feel very comfortable and it comes naturally now, but it wasn’t always that way.” Lecius said regardless of the size of your club, being comfortable speaking in front of people is an important life skill. “In Lions at the club level, that’s where you’re going to win or lose, especially with new Lions, but any Lion member,” Lecius said. “You have to be passionate about what you’re talking about; you have to be knowledgeable about the subject matter in order to relay that to Lions.” Harrison Monarth, co-author of The New York Times bestseller The Confident Speaker and founder of the GuruMaker, agrees. “It’s public speaking where you’re actually have the opportunity to connect with an audience and make sure your message sinks in,” Monarth said. “It doesn’t matter whether your passionate about public speaking, be passionate about a cause or a message. Public speaking is only the vehicle to get it across.” Monarth says a detailed script or outline isn’t necessary for most public speaking tasks. “Figure out what it is that you would like to achieve in your speech,” Monarth said. “That has to come first and then you can sort of work your way back. What are the top three things I need to get across in order to make that happen?” Planning and a little research are the keys to a great speech. “Anticipate the questions beforehand,” Monarth said. “You need to know who your audience is.” Lecius says he recommends taking advantage of resources such as Toastmasters International or simple exercises to refine your skills. “You can start by speaking to some of the more veteran members of your club that you see participating regularly in the meeting,” Lecius said. “I know one of the things we have done from time to time in our club to try and break the ice for the new members is to ask them to get up and do a two- to three-minute speech about what they’ve done and where they’re from.” The most successful speeches, Monarth said, are ones that give value to the listener. “I wouldn’t go to a meeting because someone is speaking — what I want is a message,” Monarth said. “Always try to provide value to whichever audience that you’re speaking with.”
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://digital.lionmagazine.org/article/Club+Building/342912/33670/article.html.