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London Corinthians Testmonial: Ignatius, Economist

January 7, 2013

Ignatius comes to Corinthians for its intoxicating atmosphere – the “Corinthian Buzz”

Q: Why and when did you join London Corinthians Toastmasters?

About a year ago a friend of mine who was a member convinced me to come along as a guest, just before Christmas. It was a Backward Meeting (these only take place about once a year) s0 I had no idea of what was going on – but the sheer enthusiasm, the quality of the speakers and the constant dashes of explosive humour made for such an intoxicating atmosphere I was instantly hooked. I just kept coming back for more!

Q: How has it helped you as a public speaker?

I like ideas. I enjoy sitting down with a couple of people to argue, discuss and explain theories, but I find it challenging to communicate this same message effectively, concisely and with impact to an audience of diverse people with different interests. You still interact with the audience, only in a different way, and at LC I am making this transition. It is a very welcoming club and this has given me the confidence I need to experiment with my speaking and learn by trying new things.

Q: Why do you think the Toastmasters model has been so successful in producing top public speakers?

The Toastmasters programme is designed to give you a basic toolkit for public speaking and is based on learning by doing. Thanks to positive feedback and regular practice, these tricks and skills we learn become second nature, so you no longer need to think about how to move your hands or structure your speech – you just go on stage and pour out your message to the audience. Public speaking becomes a direct flow from you to the people in the audience, without unnecessary distractions (do I look relaxed? Can they follow what I’m trying to say? Am I remembering to keep eye contact? Can they hear me at the back?), much as it is with one-to-one communication.

Q: Why is London Corinthians the best Toastmasters club in London?

It’s a great community with a unique atmosphere – the “Corinthian buzz” – with speakers of different ages and backgrounds and with very different styles. You can learn very different things from each one of them; everyone has their point of view and they are happy to share it, whether through the countless little feedback notes we get or during friendly chats at the pub after our meetings

Q: What final advice would you give to someone wanting to improve their public speaking ability?

It is very important to find your own voice, true to your personal characteristics, because if you try to copy others you can become competent but you will never achieve the personal touch that makes good public speaking great. In order to find your voice you have to experiment, let down your defences and free yourself to try new things. And for this the best thing is to join a warm and welcoming club, come frequently to build confidence through practice and once you feel at home let yourself evolve through practice and by freeing yourself up!

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