Scouts-L Mail Archive for August of 1999: Re: Tips on speaking to groups
Re: Tips on speaking to groups
Sun, 22 Aug 1999 18:34:07 -0400
If you were to poll most Americans they would rate going to the dentist and
speaking before a group as things that cause them the most anxiety.
Fortunately in most communities, you can find a group known as Toastmasters
where you can get coaching on public speaking. Yep, you are not getting
ready to talk to a group of business people, but they are a great resource
on the mechanics of getting audience attention and holding it. Might be
worthwhile to have a look. You can also visit their website at
and even take a sneak preview at speaking tips at
http://www.toastmasters.org/tips.htm - these tips, by the way, are great for
Aside from their general tips, realize that your Pack is with you and not
waiting for a chance to catch at some gaffe. The folks in the Pack are
looking to you to be an entertaining Emcee. Think of yourself as the
ringmaster at a circus announcing acts one after another - the person that
keeps things moving.
Don't be afraid to be yourself!
Don't be afraid to make a fool of yourself!
Do use props like funny hats, costumes, and the like.
Do look the boys in the eye while talking.
Do project your voice loudly and enthusiasticly.
Do use your hands and arms to gesture.
Do let your voice change normally to emphasize points, to quiet a crowd, or
tell a story with feeling.
Do be prepared for the unexpected - be ready to do unexpected bad puns,
one-liner jokes, walk-ons, to keep the action flowing.
Do plan what you want to say.
Do make index card notes and put 'em in your pocket. If you get stuck, they
are right there where you can take a look. Best use of this was an old
fellow that started talking and lost his thought. He looked right at the
boys and said you know what fellows I just forgot what I was going to say.
How many of you guys ever did that in School? Hands shot up all over. He
said when I was in school I learned a little trick - make notes. You see a
Scout has to be prepared. He then fished out his cards and went right on.
Scouts loved it. In fact they thought it was part of the "act" and he never
Don't be an adult all the time - feel free to clown around a little.
Mike Bowman, Vice President
U.S. Scouting Service Project, Inc.