Archive for February, 2010

Find Your Key

Posted in public speaking, toastmasters on February 25, 2010 by pastajon

There exists a key for you to excel in public speaking.

I’ve been a Toastmaster since 2000. I preached for 15 years as a pastor.  In all those years I’ve observed that I had to and every public speaker needs to find their niche. I’m convinced that everyone has specific resource inside them to draw upon to make their public speaking all that it can be.

For instance, my friend Karla (names are changed to protect the guilty) struggled with using filler words (ahs, ums, etc.) for the longest time.  She seemed convinced that she didn’t have what it takes to be a good public speaker.  That is until she did a humorous speech.  She was very anxious about and even thought about skipping the Toastmaster meeting and not giving the speech.  (Who isn’t nervous about trying to be funny?  You tend to do well or fail miserably.)  But what she discovered is that humor was a niche for her.  She relaxed.  Her use of filler words were significantly less.  She engaged the audience and gave a funny speech.

Some of my other friends have discovered that passion, relaxation, or connecting with the audience is their way of coming alive as a public speaker.

Quite possibly there are more than one key’s to opening your public speaking box.  Take some time to explore different elements of speaking on your journey to becoming a better public speaker.  Some of those elements may be gestures, being goofy, storytelling, vocal variety, informative presentations, role playing, monologues, body movement, a dry sense of humor, visual aids, etc.

Find your key to communicating effectively!


Tall Tales

Posted in contests on February 10, 2010 by pastajon

In 2008 I won the Toastmasters Division D Tall Tales contest and would have gone on to the District 15 contest if it were not for a conflict with the date.

Yesterday, February 9, 2010, I won our club Tall Tales contest.

Here is how to win or at least compete well in the contest:

  1. Always be sure to look over the judging ballot to make sure you are crafting something that the judges will be looking for – organization, exaggeration/humor, appearance, voice, and language.
  2. Your story has got to be TALL.  I was surprised when a couple of my fellow members failed to use any exaggeration, surprise, or twists.  Go big – tell a whopper.
  3. Since organization and flow make up most of the points, make sure your story makes sense and is easy to follow.
  4. Get into character.  In 2008 I became Norwegian (Sven) and used an accent.  Yesterday I used a hillbilly accent to add depth to my character and story.  You don’t have to use an accent, but are you dressed to reflect your story?  Do you have any props to add interest?  Can you do anything with your voice to reflect your character besides an accent?
  5. Don’t be cocky.  My very first Tall Tales contest, back in 2002, I lost.  I figured I could be more dynamic and interesting than anyone else in my club.  I wasn’t.  I want to win, but I need to prepare knowing that everybody has some creativity and they often surprise you with what they can do.
  6. Listen to feedback.  Rehearse your speech in front of family or friends and take their advice.  Get feedback from the club after you compete to discover what you did right and how you can make it better.  I know from my contest yesterday that I need to include more humor and a stronger ending.

I don’t know if I’ll go on to win Area, Division, or District this time.  But I want to win.  I’ll need to keep tweaking my tale to make it better in order to do so.

Keep tweaking your own tall tale.