matrix   Sun Oct 22, 2006 6:50 pm GMT
Hello everyone! Great website. I discovered it a few days ago and have spent hours reading it.

Quick question: is anyone here a member of Toastmasters International? I joined my local club about six months ago. It really opened my mind and made me so much more aware of how I speak. So far I've done 11 speeches, but will slow it down to about one per month now.

It's my goal to sound like a radio announcer or a professional speaker. Although I've made great progess, that goal is still quite far away from attained. Speaking in front of an audience wasn't a big concern for me, but I'm much more aware of proper annunciation and avoiding filler words/phrases.

Some people think that to sound fluent in English or any language, it's important to use slang, filler words or relaxed pronounciation or merging of words (like "gonna" for "going to"). Ironically, this is excactly what I'm trying to avoid saying and doing!
Jim   Sun Oct 22, 2006 11:52 pm GMT
I was a member of Toastmasters for a couple of years whilst I was in high school. I'm glad I joined.

It doesn't strike me as ironic. It's a matter of context. The use of slang, filler words and relaxed pronounciation and the merging of words does make you sound fluent in everyday conversation. I'm sure those same people would agree that it's important to avoid this when giving a speech.