TRU Toastmasters Club celebrates first Grand Open House

District champion speaker Marcus Anthony Ray taught students the key to public speaking

Ray spoke to attendees of the Grand Open House on how he became a Toastmaster and gave tips on becoming a better public speaker. (Aidan Grether/The Omega)

In celebration of their first Grand Open House, the TRU Toastmasters Club hosted a speech workshop in the Mountain Room of the Campus Activity Centre on March 19.

The session featured Marcus Anthony Ray, an international award-winning speaker and coach, who gave the audience tips on how they could break out of their comfort zones and learn how to structure and deliver an effective speech.

Ray explained that he joined Toastmasters two years ago because he wanted to meet somebody who could teach him how to speak effectively.

He said that after attending one Toastmasters meeting, he was encouraged to come back two more times before he was told that he could only visit three times without becoming a member.

Beginning his presentation, Ray explained that the first thing a speaker should do is get to know their audience.

“Confidence is everything,” he said. “In your mind go back to somewhere where you were really happy.”

He explained that it was always a good practice to reminisce on the feeling that particular moment evoked just before making a presentation.

In regards to communication skills, Ray said that it was very important for a speaker to make a connection with their audience.

“The one thing I teach is humour because it brings everybody in,” he said.

He explained that humour is an effective technique because it breaks the ice and makes both parties comfortable. He added that eye contact is another great way a speaker can establish a connection with their audience.

The next step Ray elaborated on was voice variation. He shared that a person should always lower their voice during a sad moment in a presentation and raise it for a happy one.

“In the world competition, when I stepped on the stage, I did this speech about my dad dying in my arms,” he said.

“The trick to that is taking yourself to the moment and not going over. Everyone loves emotion, but no one loves a babbling idiot,” he explained.

Moreover, Ray estimated that body language accounts for 85 per cent of a person’s speech, because “a  picture is worth a thousand words.”

“You can be blowing that speech but if your body language is good, hey you’re a winner,” he said.

In closing, he stated that there are three things that a speaker should always keep in mind when presenting.

“If you speak you will be heard, if you speak with passion you will be felt, but if you manage to speak from the heart, you’ll never be forgotten,” he said.

Andrew Sahaydak, sergeant-at-arms of the TRU Toastmasters Club, said Ray’s speech was very impactful. 

“If you think about it, students can’t avoid speaking whether it’s in class lectures or presentations, so it’s a very important skill to have,” Sahaydak said.

Idan Yacobovitch, president of the club, said he also hopes students will use Ray’s advice to counteract any fears they may have about public speaking. He also stated that Toastmasters is a great way for students to get started.

“People should join Toastmasters because they can work on their public speaking skills [and learn how to] give presentations and successful job interviews,” he said.

Yacobovitch furthered that public speaking is an essential skill for students to master because it helps with the development of leadership skills.

He added that although this was the club’s first ever Grand Open House, he hopes that it can become an annual event in the future.