Do you believe that things can tell their stories? Most people would probably answer "No". But someone such as Sherlock Holms could understand them. Each thing could tell him much. Shoes, hat, coat... I am not Sherlock Holms, but I know the story of one apparently insignificant object.
Look here, fellow Toastmasters and guests.
My name is chair. To be more precise, I am a chair in the House of Scientists in Kyiv.
I was present at many events in the House of Scientists during 15 years. There were concerts, lectures, performances. But the most memorable were and remain the meetings of ToastCrackers club. And now I can say without false modesty that I am a necessary tool for everyone who wants to master public speaking skills. You can ask why me, not the microphone, the lectern, the stage, the manual or something else. Well, I will explain.
Usually, people start to practice any art indirectly. One should learn many other things that appeared to be not related before studying this art. Yoga, for instance, begins with breathing techniques. A student of musician starts to learn notes.
With regard to public speaking, it means that everyone who strives to speak in front of audience should train listening. It is a natural way to start public speaking. So if you asked me about the most important thing of public speaking I'd say "It's me - a chair".
You think all chairs work equally well although they look different? You are wrong! In the cinema, for example, you use chair also. You stare on the screen, identifying yourself with another life, another time and place, eating popcorn and drinking Cola or bear. But you are passive and get impressions passively.
Or you can spend the whole evening in the restaurant with people who speak much and think in trivial way. Their position is: "It's because I chatter that I do nothing. How can I think, speak, eat and drink at the same time? No, it's too complicated. Let us just chatter! Let the mouth and the stomach work but the mind gets some rest!"
To hell with rest!
As you understand the destiny of my poor brothers-chairs in the cinemas and in the restaurants is miserable. They serve the boring people who chase just visual enjoyment as well satisfying their appetites. Not happy!
Now I see that the experts in chair science Soviet writers Ilf and Petrov were probably right. They pointed out the best mission of chair. It is to be the treasure holder. Friends, you all know the story line of the novel "The Twelve Chairs": Madam Petuhova hid her family jewelry from the Bolsheviks in one of the twelve chairs from the dining room set. The main characters Ostap Bender and Ippolit Matveyevich Vorobyaninov try to find the right chair. They failed.
You will never fail if you use me and I have a treasure for you also. As American writer Kurt Vonnegut said: "To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow."
You can gain this treasure and you don't need to steal chairs as Bender and Vorobyaninov did. You can create the treasure by your own efforts. All you need to do is come to the Toastmasters meetings, take the role and participate. All club roles mean action. It creates challenge but let some of your efforts be not excellent. Yes, I admit that not all speeches are delivered really well here. But it gives opportunity for improvement next time. It is OK if the listener thinks at this moment: "Hmm... I can do better than this... And this guy is delivering speech." It is OK. See this moment, go ahead, participate, deliver speeches, do all you can and come, come again to the Toastmasters meetings.