A few highlights from our June 15th meeting….
Heidi started out the evening with an idea-rich speech on various methods of crafting speech introductions that capture the audience.
Ben Thurow took the stage as the Topics Master and began dishing out challenging topics for off-the-cuff speeches…..
Ivan Stoyanov talked about “If not now, when?” and “What will be important when you are 80?”
Eric Goetz then discussed, “When does time pass the most quickly for you?” and “Is it possible to lie without saying a word?”
Finally, Heidi Schreiner responded to “When is the last time you tried something new?” and “Would you break the law to save a loved one?”
Our newest member Eric Goetz started off the night with “How to Manage Gatekeepers”–project #2 in the “Competent Communicator” manual.
Visiting Toastmaster Melissa Eslinger from Heart of Eau Claire Toastmasters delivered a motivational speech entitled “Go the Distance”–project #2 in the “Resources for Entertainment” manual.
Table topics are one to two minute impromptu speeches about a given subject. The Table Topics Master prepares several topics in advance and requests volunteers to speak on one of the topics. Since the speaker has no idea what the table topic is, this is a great opportunity for learning to speak off-the-cuff. Preference in table topics speaking is typically given to members that have no other meeting role or guests who would like to volunteer.
Jeff McRaven–famous for challenging table topics–was the Topics Master.
Sheila Wilkinson responded to the question, “How long would you keep a friend if they talked to you like you speak to yourself?”
Julie Court pondered, “When you look back over the past month, what single moment stands out?”
Eric Goetz worked his way through the ethical dilemma, “Is stealing to feed a starving child wrong?”
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
Our first speech in Toastmasters is the Icebreaker. It can be scary! BUT, you — like all of us — can get through it.
Many of us when we’re starting out wonder what the Icebreaker speech is all about.
Here are some tips from a Toastmaster…
Project 1 – Icebreaker
Title – The Complete History of Jeff McRaven (Abridged)
I gave a short bio of myself. There were a number of embellishments. Nobody noticed or cared.
For a lot of people, public speaking is right up there with spiders and heights, so the whole purpose of this speech is just to get you started. For many, this is the most agonizing speech. But it doesn’t need to be. We all understand that you are nervous and you have to start somewhere.
Honestly, you could get up there and absolutely tank. Don’t worry about it! We get it. We’re here to encourage you.
We’ll like your speech. It won’t matter what you say. What you have to say is almost incidental to the speech. We are seeing someone work up the courage to try. We love to see that. The speech itself is icing on the cake.