An interview with a member – Mike Priest

Mike kindly agreed to be interviewed for the blog. Thanks for the time you took to talk to us Mike.

Lucy Brooks: When did you join Toastmasters?

Mike Priest: I Joined in January 2018.

LB: What made you take the first step to go to a meeting, and how soon did you decide to join?

MP: A few years ago, I attended a course to help me control my stammer called the Starfish Project. At this course, several people mentioned Toastmasters and how it had benefited them. At the time I was doing my Duke of Edinburgh Gold award and one of the sections is learning a new skill. So, I decided to join toastmasters.

LB: What were your main goals when you start out on your Toastmasters journey? Which pathway did you choose, and can you remember why you chose it?

MP: My main goal at the start was to improve my public speaking skills and to gain confidence. I wanted to learn about everything else to do with speaking when you’re not speaking and how to structure a speech to make it engaging. Delivering speeches week after week to a room full of people certainly improved my confidence.

  I choose the Presentation Mastery pathway as I wanted to improve all my public speaking skills, including speech writing and speech delivery.

LB: You have a stammer which, I have to say, is barely noticeable to me when I listen to your speeches, but can you tell us whether being a member of Toastmasters has helped you deal with it?

MP: It has most definitely helped me. I’ve spent a lot of my life actively avoiding any form of public speaking. Having a place where I can speak with supportive members has really helped me practise

Mike Priest (continued…)

it and improve leaps and bounds. At the start, I wanted to just do a speech to gain more confidence, but now I want to become a better all-around speaker.

LB: What is your most memorable moment at Toastmasters – perhaps a speech you gave, a role you performed, a competition you entered. MP: One of my favourite experiences was giving a speech at our “Speech on the Beach” event over lockdown. I enjoyed delivering my speech to everybody there and got some great feedback too. It was attended by Worthing’s mayor and town crier at the time.

LB: And which is your favourite role?

MP: My favourite role would be an evaluator. I enjoy actively listening to a speech and working out what the speaker can do to improve themselves. When you give the evaluation, it helps other members too. Learning the ability to write and structure a speech in a short time frame is a key skill to practise.

LB: How has the online experience of Toastmasters suited you?

MP: During the lockdown, I moved into a new flat in Haywards Heath so it has really benefited me as I can keep coming to the meetings! I have enjoyed speaking to other toastmasters from across the UK and the world too!

LB: Any other comments?

MP: To any new members, just give it a go. Whether that be a new role or doing your next speech. You have joined the club to practise speaking so just take any opportunity you can!

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email