Frank Cook

I joined Northern Lights Toastmasters in 2003. As a recovering stutterer and a graduate of the McGuire Speech programme I was keen to expand my comfort zone and put some ‘polish’ on my speech. As a Deputy Principal in a Primary School, I was often faced with challenging speaking situations and wanted to be able to speak confidently, both in rehearsed and impromptu speaking situations.

I completed my Competent Communicator Award in 2004, my Advanced Toastmaster Award (Bronze) in 2005 and my Competent Leader Award in 2006. During this time I also held the club roles of Sergeant at Arms and President. During my time in Toastmasters I have particularly enjoyed participating in speech competitions. I have competed at Area Level in the International Speech Competition, Division Level in the Table Topics (Impromptu Speaking) Competition and at District Level in the Speech Evaluation Competition. I recently won both the Humorous and Table Topics Categories in an Area Level competition and am looking forward to representing Northern Lights Toastmasters’ Club at the Division Level contest to be held in November this year.

My advice to anyone contemplating the art of public speaking is to adopt a ‘sports mentality’ towards speaking. Just as individual skills in sport need to be practised in context, so speaking skills need to be practised and refined in authentic speaking situations. Toastmasters offers an excellent skills-based training programme, beginning with such basic advice on how to organise your speech, through to how to inspire your audience and more. Remember that we all experience some nervousness in speaking situations. The skill is to get ‘all your butterflies flying in formation’.

Frank Cook ATM (Bronze)
Northern Lights Toastmasters