Toastmasters Contest Season

It’s contest season in Toastmasters right now. Toastmasters clubs worldwide are holding 2 different contests, one of which – the International Speech Contest will end up with a single speaker from a Toastmasters club somewhere in the world being crowned 2009’s World Champion of Public Speaking.

On a District level only (a geographical area that can encompass a State, Country or more than one country) Toastmasters clubs will be running a second contest out of a choice of four:

  • Table Topics Contest – impromptu speaking.
  • Evaluation Contest – evaluating a speech.
  • Humorous Speech Contest – delivering a speech that contains humor.
  • Tall Tales Contest – delivering a speech that tells a tall tale.

In my District, we are running the Evaluation Contest.

I entered both of my club’s contests, not for competitive reasons but because we didn’t have too many entries – only two entrants for both the International Speech Contest and the Evaluation Contest.

Despite my intention being to fill out the numbers, on the night itself I was fired up by the fact that it was a contest and that each contestant was expected to put on a good show.

I had a lot of fun, particularly with my speech for the International Speech Contest. I really went for it! While I didn’t know what the judges scored each contestant’s speech, I felt that had I really wanted to win and had I done everything I could to learn and prepare for the contest beforehand, that I could have won it.

Even though I didn’t have a contest win, I grew from my participation in the event. It really is a whole different ball game to go from just speaking to speaking in a contest setting and wanting to meet the expectation of delivering something special.

For this reason I’d certainly recommend that if you are a member of Toastmasters or some other kind of educational organization where you are eligible to enter the contest – and usually avoid doing so, that you enter at the next available opportunity, no matter how new or how advanced a speaker you may be.

You will:

  1. Grow from raising your game and pushing through your comfort zones to new levels
  2. Demonstrate to your fellow members what they can become – especially if you are one of the newer members or least experienced. Inspiring people is a great way to help people challenge themselves to grow.
  3. Improve your confidence. You entered the contest, you put yourself in a position where you will be judged, and you got through it.

All the above make you a winner, regardless of whether you are voted the winner of the contest. Doing so also adds quality to your club/organization. So it really is a win-win situation, but especially a win for you!

So, when will be the next opportunity for you to show what you’ve got???

Public Speaking Courses, Toastmasters or Self Study for Developing Public Speaking Skills?

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Public Speaking Courses, Toastmasters, and Self Study Options for Developing Public Speaking Skills

This is just an article I wrote expressing my opinions on the benefits of attendance based public speaking courses, Toastmasters, and self study. Each has a part to play, but I believe where you are right now plays a role in determining which options are the most suitable at the cuurent point in time.

Dr John DeMartini, Public Speaking Confidence and Barack Obama

It’s so funny the way the universe works sometimes. I just mentioned in my last post about the importance of allowing your personality to shine through as part of the public speaking skill set. And in describing that I mentioned about how a great public speaker is also a great salesperson.

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Personality – An Important Factor of Good Stage Presence

In addition to what I spoke about in Symptoms of Fear of Public Speaking one of the most important factors in having a good stage presence is feeling comfortable, not just to deliver your public speech but also to allow your personality to shine through.

This is probably something that the beginning public speaker or the uncomfortable public speaker doesn’t want to hear. If people are not just seeing and hearing the public speaker delivering a speech, but are also seeing and hearing about who the public speaker is behind their speech, then we are opening ourselves up to being judged by the audience. If you have public speaking anxiety or a general fear of public speaking, this may rank as one of your primary nightmarish fears.

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Symptoms of the Fear of Public Speaking

Shaking, sweating, stuttering, blushing, forgetting your words, worrying about forgetting your words, nervousness, involuntary gestures, quivering voice, dizziness, nausea, panic or anxiety attack, heart palpitations, dry mouth, freezing up, breathlessness. These are all the Symptoms of Fear of Public Speaking.

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Mr Toastmaster Addendum

I was supposed to deliver a speech at the last Toastmasters meeting, but due to the flu and house move of both the Toastmaster and President, as VPE I had to go into emergency mode and make the agenda work out. Part of that process included me stepping in as Toastmaster.

However, I am pleased to say, everything went great as far as what I thought of my performance was concerned, especially in contrast to all efforts to date.

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Mr Toastmaster Revisited

My experience of being Toastmaster (or the host) at my club’s Toastmaster meetings has always been interesting. I’ve now performed the role for the fourth time. Each time I felt slightly different:

  • The first time was about getting through it.
  • The second time was about doing it better than the first time.
  • The third time was about trying to become comfortable.
  • The fourth time felt a little like the third time because a number of challenges came up but I also felt more confident. Continue reading

Public Speaking – Event Warm Ups

So, you’ve got to introduce an act or maybe even host an event, and you’ve got up to 15 minutes to warm up the audience, what do you do? Well, there are many ways to do a warm up. I’m going to discuss a recent warm up I did that was very successful.

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