The art of communication is the language of leadership which everyone inherently understands. Although this is a universal truth, many individuals have never been taught the skills to communicate effectively. Toastmasters International and the Gavel Club realize the importance of developing a proficiency with oratory, and with that mindset the Greater Baltimore County, MD Chapter of Jack and Jill developed its curriculum for its Gavel Club members. We were proud to receive official certification from Toastmasters International. The primary goal is to introduce the children to the various skills and roles needed to conduct an official Gavel Club meeting, culminating in an actual meeting at the end of the program year. The counselors have developed creative methods to introduce the children to the various roles they would be assuming during an official meeting.
The roles and skillsets assumed are as follows:
Networking – interacting with peers to exchange information and social contacts.
Toastmaster – acting as meeting director and host.
Topicsmaster – acting as the director of the Table Topics portion of the meeting asking impromptu questions to members.
Impromptu Speaker – speaking impromptu for 1-2 minutes during the Table Topics portion of the meeting.
Prepared Speaker – giving prepared speeches with specific goals in mind.
Grammarian – helps members improve their grammar and vocabulary.
Ah-Counter – reports any overused or filler words during a speech.
Timer – monitoring the time of meeting segments and speakers.
Wordmaster – helps improve and increase vocabulary by choosing a word of the day. Speakers must try to incorporate the word into their speeches.
For Gavel Club meetings, participants are expected to network with each other during the first 30 minutes. They are required to network with different members at each meeting and discover common and unique interests, understanding this information could be utilized for the benefit of the group or themselves in the future. At the end of the networking sessions they are expected to present their findings to the group, which gives them an opportunity to practice their impromptu speaking and interpersonal skills.
After networking is completed, the members are divided into 3 groups that focus on impromptu speaking, giving prepared speeches, and acting as Toastmaster. Each participant stays within a group for 40 minutes until rotating to the next group. This allows the members to maintain a level of interest and excitement throughout the meeting and gives counselors more opportunities to work directly with participants.
While working in the Toastmaster group, members learn the fundamentals of introducing speakers, discussing a variety of themes, and engaging their audience through humor, alliteration, and other techniques.
Impromptu Speaking Group:
In the Impromptu speaking group members learn techniques for giving an organized unrehearsed speech for 1-2 minutes and practice creating and discussing a Tabletopic theme to be used as Topicsmaster.
Prepared Speaker Group:
The Prepared Speaker Group develops their writing and oratorical skills. They learn how to create a speech with an opening, body and conclusion. Additionally, they learn the importance of posture, body language, and voice projection to command the attention of an audience and practice those skills.