A toast to speaking well
What helps toastmaster Rob Julian with public speaking? Nerves.
Not the hands shaking, knees knocking kind, but just enough to keep him focused.
"There's a saying in Toastmasters, we don't get rid of the butterflies in your tummy - we just teach them to fly in formation," he says.
"The only times I've really screwed up is when I've gone on saying, 'Oh, this is going to be a breeze'."
The former chemistry teacher is a Distinguished Toastmaster, the highest accreditation awarded to a member of the association.
He joined the Ohariu club to meet new people, rather than to get better at his job.
"There's nothing more boring than a group of teachers getting together.
"I thought, 'I'm already good at speaking because I'm a teacher'. But boy, I certainly learned a lot about that. It gave my career a huge boost."
Mr Julian recommends everyone spends time developing their public-speaking skills.
"It's a huge confidence booster, being able to get up under any conditions and speak to any number of people in public, virtually on any subject.
"It's very difficult to be a confident leader these days without public-speaking skills.
"You've only got to look at what's been happening in the Labour Party for that - [David] Shearer gave his first decent speech [last] weekend and a lot of the heat went off him."
Mr Julian is now a visiting lecturer at Victoria University's College of Education, where he assesses trainee teachers for their presentation skills.
"University gives very little training in public speaking, which quite annoys me.
"You're supposed to give presentations to others without any training, and it can be quite terrifying."
Mr Julian suggests people know their material inside-out, practise in front of a mirror, and then friends and relatives, and time themselves speaking. And embrace the jitters beforehand.
To join Toastmasters email Carol Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org or Neville Isherwood at email@example.com.
The Dominion Post