Competent Communicator: The First 10 Toastmaster Speeches

The Competent Communicator is the first public speaking certification offered by Toastmasters. When you become a member, you receive a book of 10 speech projects, each outlining a speaking skill to practice via a prepared speech at a Toastmasters meeting.

The Six Minutes blog also has a nice overview of the first few speeches.

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 have included how I got to HubSpot, a turning point in life, influential mentors, and favorite hobbies. Since you may schedule your first speech before you receive your official Toastmasters book, you can download the speech project excerpt here.

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 clear points in between.

Speech 3: Get to the Point

Your third speech should have a key message - state your key message early and use your speech to provide supporting points.

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 colors and sound of a big event).

Speech 5: Your Body Speaks

Now we turn to your body language during your speech - posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, gestures.

Speech 6: Vocal Variety

Next up, you practice varying your voice in terms of voice level, pace, and pauses. Vocal variety is a great way to keep your audience engaged in your speech.

Speech 7: Research Your Topic

We have a lot of HubSpotters with a lot of knowledge, and this is a great opportunity to share that knowledge! 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.

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 instead of using PPT.

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.

Speech 10: Inspire Your Audience

For your 10th speech - the final speech of the first Competent Communicator certification - you pull together all the skills practiced in the first 9 speeches to deliver a killer presentation that inspires your audience.

What's Next?

The Advanced Communicator Track which is further broken down into three levels:

  • Bronze
  • Silver
  • Gold
Knocking that out of the park, in conjunction with the advanced leadership certification, will earn you status as Distinguished Toastmaster.