Feb 03

Is Lots of Stage Time Really the Key to Being a Great Speaker?

I recently had a brief email exchange with Darren LaCroix, 2001 World Speaking Champion. He said that I should be speaking once a week at a minimum, even if it’s at Toastmasters. So I’ve decided to take him up on his challenge.

From tomorrow I’m going to visit as many of the London Toastmasters clubs as I can. I was originally a member of two, but had to leave one when I moved to a different part of London, otherwise I would’ve probably been traveling for more than an hour just to get there. So I need to find a secondary club. I know there are two near me as I currently reside in the East End. So I’ll probably pop along to those.

I’d also like to join Excalibur Speakers because they are predominantly a club for Advanced Speakers. But the only thing is they are only a monthly club (most clubs here in London meet twice a month), so that greatly reduces the frequency of stage time. But it would improve my game.

After all, that’s what it’s all ab out – the stage time. The more frequently I get up to speak in front of an audience in no matter what scenario the more my confidence will grow. I’m a pretty confident speaker anyway, my background as a professional actor and a comedian has provided me with the ability to be able to get up in front of a crowd.

But in order for anyone to grow as a speaker that must speak. Kind of makes sense really. If you’re only outlet is Toastmasters use it as the tool that it is. Whether you’re scheduled to do a manual speech, a leadership role, a table topics or you just get to stand up as a guest at the end of the evening and say how much you enjoyed being at the club that evening, stage time is stage time.

When Darren LaCroix was preparing for the World Championship not only did you frequent many different clubs honing his championship speech, but he also took it into comedy clubs too. That way he’d really get to see what bits were working and which bit weren’t.

For those of you who don’t know, LaCroix’s a humorous speaker with a background as a stand-up. So it made complete sense for him to get comedy club gigs and really hone his speech down. So not only did he work out the timing of the laughs, but he also got tonnes and tonnes of stage time.

You’ll find that there are similarities amongst the top speakers in the world. apart from earning large some of money and helping out business or educational establishments. One, is that they write on a daily basis, as Eric Feng pointed out recently over on The Public Speaking Blog. The other is that they speak – frequently. You can’t hope to develop as a stand-up or as a speaker with getting up on to a stage or platform and do the thing that you say you do.

I myself speak fairly frequently. But I think it’ll be nice for me to try and crank things up a notch or two. I’m going to try and track my progress here. But obviously, I might have to take the odd day off from my mission to see my friends and family. With any luck i’ll be able to meet some of the other London speakers that I’ve recently been in touch with via this blog.


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  1. Eric

    If you ever come to Singapore, I will be happy to bring you for club-hopping 🙂

  2. Rory Marriott

    My club would be very willing to host you and as VPE I would love to add you to my list

  3. Alistair

    Dear Jason

    Look once a week is not enough, all it does is wet the appetite, much like comedy you need to be infront of an audience as much as possible. I`ll put it to you like this….

    If you had a day job and it to pick potatoes, it stands to reason that in your workday of eight hours or so you would be picking potatoes.

    If you are a speaker, you need to using your workday wisely, I agree its not from 9 to 5 but you should be doing 2 presentations a day, dude – minimum.

    Now a wise friend said to me the difference between acting and comedy or speaking is that with the latter you rehearse on a paying audience, and thats so true, so of your 2 a day one needs to be a paid one so that you are developing your act, talk, to work infront of people who feel they want their money`s worth.

    Now if you claim to be speaker but only speak once a week, and the rest of the week you do admin, you are not a speaker you are an administrator who speaks once a week. If you speak and once a week do admin, you are a speaker who does admin occasionally.

    Twice a week dude,get at it.

    After you`ve done that for 3 months the family wont mind – they will just enjoy the perks.

    P.s We have clubs in South Africa too.

  4. Jason Peck

    Eric, I’d love to come to Singapore. It’s on my to do list. Thanks for that. I’d love to go club-hopping with you.

    Rory, thank you very much for your kind offer. With any luck I will see you soon.

    And lastly, to my long distance friend Alistair. Thanks for popping by and adding your 2 cents worth. Or 20 Rand’s worth…?

    This is the second challenge you’ve laid down for me in as many months. The first I’m still in the process of organising. Which I will be talking about and tracking here. And now this latest one…

    Right, I guess I’ll have to pick up the gauntlet that you’ve thrown down at my feet…

    I’ll nail the speaking once a week first before moving up again. You end your comment by saying I need to speak twice a week. But earlier in your post you mentioned speaking twice a day. Surely no one can work at that speed? Twice a day for 5 days a week? Or have I misunderstood?

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