Toastmasters speech no.5: Mind over moves

I’ve just completed my fifth Toastmasters speech. It feels good to be halfway through my Competent Communicator manual. I need to keep up the momentum if I am to achieve my new year’s resolution of completing the manual. The objective of this speech project was “body language”. I chose martial arts as the topic as it provided so much scope to explore the objective in an interesting direction.

(Watch this video [6:11] on Vimeo).

The Delivery

By the time it was my turn to speak I was pumped with adrenaline. It was the first time in a while that I have felt myself shaking while onstage. During the speech I raised my arm and held it still. When I looked at my fingers I could see them quivering. I was going to keep it raised for much longer, but I was too scared the audience would see the shaking. Watching the video it really isn’t noticable. This remind’s me of Craig Valentine’s observation that any problem you have on stage is magnified ten times in your own mind, and chances are the audience won’t even notice.

I forgot a joke close to the beginning, and I had an unintentionally long pause towards the end. But overall the audience seemed to enjoy themselves and the feedback was positive. It goes to show that audiences is willing to forgive occasional errors, as long as the overall content and structure are sound.


The most common recomendation I received was that the ending was too abrupt. I completely agree. Usually I like to end my speeches by summarising the message of the speech. Unfortunately the “message” was very weak, having been completely contrived to allow me to do the crane from the Karatie Kid. If I had to rewrite the ending I would proably try and make it more applicable to the audience by throwing in the word “you” and asking a rhetorical question. Don’t you think that would be a good idea?

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  1. Andrew
    Posted February 3, 2010 at 3:18 am | Permalink

    Hey Andrew great speech! And great seeing you from across the atlantic! I’ll have to see if I can do the same for my next speech.

    Definitely fulfilled the body language objective in my mind, and I too agree with your feedback and probably the conclusion ideas, but you didn’t mention the commendations in your feedback! Great confidence, vocal projection, and a topic that was accessible and interesting. Not to mention the clear changes in energy/tonality for new thoughts/parts of the speech. Inspired title as well!

    Are you going to enter the International Contest out there? Ours is March 8 and looking forward to it…

  2. Andrew
    Posted February 3, 2010 at 3:29 am | Permalink

    Great to to hear from you. I haven’t really thought about the international speech contest. I suppose now is the time to start writing if I’m going to enter. I do have an idea for my speech number six, although I’m not sure it’s international speech material, and I’m quite busy with this stand up course.

  3. Freddie Daniells
    Posted February 3, 2010 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Hi Andrew: Just enjoyed listening to your 5th speech – well done! I have a side question. I am interested in buying a video camera to record both my speeches and those of people I work with. You seem to have got a good set up with both camera and microphone there – what are you using?

  4. Andrew
    Posted February 3, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    Hi Freddie,
    My camera is the Flip HD ultra. It’s currently £121.86 on I’m really pleased with it. It’s very simple to use: one big red button to record, an integrated USB to plug in to your computer, and the videos are saved as .mp4 files so they are easy to manage. It has a tripod mount, which is very useful. I highly recommend them.

  5. Freddie Daniells
    Posted February 4, 2010 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Cheers Andrew. The Flip is one of the cameras I am thinking of. How do you get the sound to be so good? People tell me that the inbuilt mic is good for a few feet but that you may need a more professional external mic for longer distances. In the video it looks as though you have put the camera at the back of the room which much be 20 or 30 feet away and yet the sound is still good. Thanks for your tip!

  6. Andrew
    Posted February 4, 2010 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    I haven’t done anything special with the sound. Just used the integrated mic. One of the limitations of the Flip is that it doesn’t have an external microphone input. The Camera is on a tripod about 7-8meters away from the stage. It’s a high tripod and a low ceiling so I expect that helps the sound quality.
    I see you’re presenting a master class pretty soon. It’s a shame I won’t be in London to see it, the special events have a consistently high standard.

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