As you read the title, I am sure you were thinking of the common expression “content is king.” Regardless of your connection with the expression or the concerns about why content should be king, Why can’t content be queen? Let us refrain from derailing and draw attention to the fact that your content is the foundation of your communication. What you say and how you say it are equally important in establishing your authority as a communicator. Toastmasters allows you to dissect these two parts and train your content development process in speaking.
A Harvard Business Review article published in 2020 asserts that communicating why can impact your leadership. Let us consider a teacher for example. If you look back at your school, college or university life and think about a teacher that stands out, chances are a “good” teacher or “bad” teacher comes to mind. For the purpose of this argument, let us disregard the “bad” teacher. Going back to the “good” teacher, why is it that certain teachers stand out? A “good” teacher might not be an academically gifted individual but if you think back, chances are this is someone who masters the art of breaking down information and not just focuses on the information but is good at explaining why things are the way they are.
In the process of developing content during conversation, a logical breakdown will allow your audience to follow along with whatever it is that you are explaining or discussing. This can be achieved by a good introduction, body and conclusion. Whether you are speaking or writing, your content needs to have a logical progression. For example, establishing your point, supporting it with relatable anecdotes or research and summarizing your thoughts can help your audience follow along. This often comes with a clarity of your own thoughts.
The more clarity you have in your own thoughts, the less likely you are to ramble on and confuse your audience. It does not matter if you are in a one-on-one conversation, talking to a few people or addressing a larger crowd. The ability to structure your thoughts is the backbone of your content in conversation. Of course, then the onus is on making the content engaging, relevant and in sync with your audience.
Sometimes in life you have time to build on your content and provide a perfectly curated presentation. The featured speeches in Toastmasters allow us to build on this skill. Sometimes in life we need to think on our feet and are not afforded all the time in the world to think before we respond. The table topics sessions in Toastmasters meetings are great in building these skills. Sometimes in life we need to soak in information and provide constructive feedback. The evaluation session is a great opportunity to hone this skill. What you say is important and content is important in taking care of this aspect of your communications. These are some of the ways I’m improving my content building process at Toastmasters. Why? Because, content is the foundation of communication.
TM Kriti Panth
Secretary, Professionals Toastmaster Club
Area O2 CGD