Toastmasters speech no.2: Esse Quam Videri

Last Monday I completed the second speech project in the Toastmasters Competent Communicator Manual, in which we are required to deliver an organised speech.

Writing

I’ve got a few funny stories from school, so I brainstormed as many as I could think of and made Maureen listen to them so I could gauge her reaction. I then chose two that loosely fit the “hero’s journey” story structure and was pleased to find that my old school motto Esse Quam Videri would work nicely as a “moral”.

Having a clear idea of the “point” of the speech made writing much easier. For my Icebreaker I didn’t decided on the point until I had written the body of the speech making it noticeably clunky. For this speech I planned what I was going to say out in advance and I was able to knock out a rough first draft in under an hour.

Thanks to my Mentor, Andrew Chuks, for helping me refine this speech. He made lots of excellent suggestions, one of which was to emphasise an emotional change in myself at the end of the story in order to give impact to the ending. He also taught me the “three step rule”, a method for moving purposefully across the stage without losing your connection with the audience.

I attempted use the “action, action, action, thought” structure for story telling that Ira Glass described in his Gel Talk. I was amazed at how this made the stories more interesting and easy to remember.

On the night

Thanks to Martin Smith who came along to hear me speak, and also sat through two practice sessions with me. Martin knows how to handle me. He offered nothing but positive comments before hand (any “suggestions” would have made me nervous). He also refused to buy into my attention seeking nervousness issuing a simple “you’ll be fine” while every one else was willing to have a lengthy conversation about nerves and offer gushing sympathy.

The delivery went well. I didn’t forget anything. My nerves seemed to dissolve about mid-way through the speech. And I won the best speech ribbon, yay!

My feedback slips…

Speech feedback

Analysis

I think I’ve improved since my Icebreaker.  Some of the most noticeable annoying characteristics have gone. The shifting from foot to foot and repetitive hand movements have been replaced by more purposeful movements. All those table-topics are paying off! However the video has certainly identified new things to work on: I looked really grumpy and my eye brows kept going up so height it looked like I’d had a face lift.

Looking forward to number three!

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2 Comments

  1. Mo
    Posted March 23, 2009 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    Very good compared to the last one. The comments are a lot more enthusiastic. It’s nice of them to do that. Have you got a third speech topic in mind? I think the arms need to be a little more relaxed. Bit more smiling. Not too much smiling though as that makes it annoying. Need to get the balance of course. I’m looking forward to the next speech.

  2. Andrew
    Posted March 25, 2009 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the feedback. I definitely need to work on relaxing on stage. As you point out, my shoulders are very tense and I don’t smile much. I’ve heard some people suggest beginning your speech by smiling at everyone in the audience while silently counting to three in your head. Maybe I’ll try that next time.

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