A Short Comparison Of Public Speaking Schools Of Thought:
Toastmasters & Carnegie
As everybody will certainly agree that having the confidence to
speak publicly is a valuable skill, there is much debate as to
which technique of public speaking is the most effective.
Currently, the most recognized public speaking associations are
Toastmasters International and the Dale Carnegie Course.
Toastmasters International is a nonprofit organization dedicated
to the promotion of the principles of communication, public
speaking and leadership skills. It achieves this by promoting a
"learning-by-doing" program in which members move up by making
presentations in the presence of certified examiners.
The Dale Carnegie course is a program for self-improvement in
which the emphasis is to be able to get the message across to
the audience utilizing the speaker's naturalness. There are
fewer rules and lots of practice sessions. The course consists
of twelve evening sessions; all participants are required to
present a short speech.
Toastmasters certainly makes everything clear-cut when it comes
to passing the exams. Each member is provided with a
Communication and Leadership Manual containing ten speech
projects the member has to fulfill. Members will then be
evaluated and his speech criticized according to a set of rules.
When the member completes these projects, he is recognized to
have achieved a level of competence. Advanced projects are also
available after the "basics" are done to move the member up some
Members are encouraged to frequently attend meetings and enjoy a
sense of camaraderie with fellow members.
The Toastmasters system seems to not be suited for people who
wish to speak well but would like to retain their informality as
speakers. For example: Fillers, the areas in a speech when a
speaker pauses and makes an involuntary sound like "uhm" and
"ah", is a very human habit and is considered an area for
improvement in Toastmasters.
The ranking system, though effective to show where the members
stand, can also deter people from joining due to the perceived
"elitist" nature of the ranking system.
The course encourages the participant to use what works for him
to an extent. The rules are few but fundamental. Fillers are
acceptable as long as they do not distract the audience from the
There are facilitators but there is no certified examiner. All
participants in the session are asked to give their opinion
about the speech in their terms. Some would consider Carnegie a
course to understand the target audience whether it is laymen or
Carnegie has a positive perception with many businesses.
The Carnegie system has been criticized by some that the time
spent in particularly large classes is wasted waiting for others
to finish their speeches. Some feel that this time would be
better spent having two or three speeches in one night instead.
This goes to show that there are many systems to choose from but
only one goal in public speaking. That is to get the message
across in a manner that does not hinder the speaker.