Jeff McRaven discusses how he tackled project 4 of the Competent Communication handbook.
Title – The Great Molasses Flood of 1919
Project 4 is all about using correct grammar. That’s simple for me ‘cause I talk goodly. In fact, I’m probably the bestest talker I know. Like totally, you know?
In truth, my mother was an English major. When I was naughty, she made me read Edmund Spenser poetry. I was a VERY good child.
The main thing here is to watch your um’s and ah’s, pronounce everything correctly, and stay away from jargon and slang. In short, use correct English. The best piece of advice I can offer is to stay within yourself. By that I mean don’t try to use words you don’t ordinarily use. If it sounds odd to you, it will sound odd to your audience.
‘Slow down’ is good advice too. If you talk fast, you are more bound to slur words together or clip the ends of words. That’s a sure-fire way to turn “thrust” into “thruss”.
Coming up with ideas for a speech is tricky. Sometimes it is helpful to have examples to spark ideas.
Or maybe you are considering joining Toastmasters? Part of being a member is working through the projects in the Competent Communication handbook. Each project has you focus on a different area to help build speaking skills.
See below for one Toastmaster’s experience with the third project–
Project 3 – Get to the Point
Title – The Difference Between Hard Drive and Memory
I have a degree in computer science. I know. You think I’m a nerd. Well I’m not. I have a couple exciting hobbies. In my spare time I build electronic devices and I also read about U. S. history. Ladies, the line forms to the left.
Anyway, the manual said I should give a speech with a clear and specific purpose. As a computer support guy, I am constantly confronted with people saying they need more memory because it is full. Or they need a new hard drive because they only have four gigabytes. Riiiight. So over the years, I’d developed a short lecture about the difference between hard drive and memory. This one was easy peasy because I was explaining something I had explained dozens of times before.
So that’s my advice. Everybody has something they explain constantly. Explain it to us.
When writing the speech, try starting with a single sentence that is the point of what you are talking about (this is called a thesis). For example: “domestic cars are best.” Then, get rid of anything that doesn’t directly relate to the thesis. Make your points, but never get very far away from your thesis.
by Jeff McRaven