Fred Haley a Distinguished Toastmaster wrote an article here on selfgrowth entitled; Toastmasters Doesn't Want You To Be A Great Speaker. The title is surely provocative and clever, and when you read the article you see that Fred is making the point that more than anything else, with Toastmasters, the message is key. I have to agree with Fred ...mostly. It is true that the message is Toastmasters' goal, but it isn't necessarily true that it need be THE goal.

I've twice been a Toastmasters Club President and still enjoy the weekly meetings. Yes it is true, that the focus in Toastmasters is the delivery of a great message. The only problem I have with this is that sometimes we see speakers come in who are very, very entertaining. They have a natural sense of timing and delivery and people love them. However, when they try to develop their skills with the Toastmaster manuals, they feel stymied by the 'restrictions'.

For example. In the advanced Professional Speaker Manual, the Speaking to Entertain project puts the emphasis on humor. While getting the laugh is a great thing, some speakers entertain us by giving us a sense of awe, or joy or other emotions that hit home. Recently, I heard a speaker give a wonderfully entertaining talk where he used his voice and audience participation to create a very entertaining speech that won him tremendous applause. The evaluator, however, pointed out, that although the speaker was very entertaining, the speaker didn't get a lot of laughs, so in the evaluators estimation, the speaker didn't meet the objectives. A great formula to discourage talent!

There are some wonderful speakers out there who can capture us and leave us feeling enriched without actually giving us a message per say. We need to allow that sometimes the interaction between speaker and audience is stronger and more fulfilling than the words used to create that connection.

If you fall into the category of a vocal entertainer who can move crowds without leaving them with a message, I want to ensure you that your style of performing is as important as the 'message speech'. After all, great paintings do the same thing. One is not moved by the Mona Lisa because it encourages you to smile. We are moved because of an intrinsic sense that we may not even have words to describe.

If by the power of your voice, style, and interaction with an audience, you leave them wanting more, don't let anyone tell you that there is a message lacking. Take a bow, and pat yourself on the back; you are true and enviable communicator.

Author's Bio: 

Phil Méthot, a Montreal, Canada, author and motivational speaker, has been an avid student of human behaviour most of his life. His book "Through the Door!": A Journey to the self, explores the origins of negative self images in a unique way that allows readers to more easily separate the real self from the 'imposed self'.