Give the Best Speech YOU (and only YOU) Can Give

Seattle Seahawks defensive back Dion Bailey (37) looks up from the field with his helmet off during a preseason NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Friday, August 21, 2015 in Kansas City. The Chiefs won the game 14-13. (Paul Jasienski via AP)
(Paul Jasienski via AP, courtesy

This past weekend was the kickoff for the NFL season . . . and a dream come true for one undrafted player. His story offers a lesson to Toastmasters, seasoned and just starting.

Within the Seattle Seahawk’s organization there is a powerful group of defensive players nicknamed the LEGION OF BOOM. The current LOB (as they are lovingly called) members are cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Cary Williams and safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas III.

However, a week before their first game, safety Kam Chancellor failed to report in due to a hold out over contract negotiations.

“He’s not here right now, so he’s not playing,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said when asked about Chancellor, according to an article on “That’s it.”

And that is when the stars aligned for one lucky former USC student.

Safety Dion Bailey went undrafted in 2014 (wasn’t selected by one of the teams during the big draft event) and spent most of last season filling out the Seattle practice squad. Now, his NFL debut is to replace one of the top, if not the best, safeties in the league.

No pressure.

Nerves? First game jitters? Worried about filling another person’s shoes? The positive young athlete spoke volumes about his mindset going into the game with this one comment:

“For the first time in my life going into a big game, I don’t feel any pressure,” he said. “I’m not here to fill Kam’s shoes, I’m here to be the best Dion Bailey I can, and the best Dion Bailey has done me well so far for the first 23 years of my life, so I like my chances on Sunday.” (Courtesy:

We’ve all been in a position where we are trying to fill someone’s position, shoes. Where we feel, in the least, we need to match their strengths, at the expense of overlooking what we do best.

When others deliver their speech at a Toastmasters meeting, it is easy for us to wonder how we can be polished, enunciate or create emotion like the person at the lectern. How we can adapt our style to take on the strengths of another.

The takeaway lesson here is that no matter which speech you are on or what manual you have reached, the goal is for you to be the best YOU can be. Give the speech you were meant to give. Utilize your unique talents, delivery, style to be the best YOU that you can be.

Sure, look for ways to develop your ability . . . but don’t overlook what you do best. Your strengths.

Your authentic voice will speak volumes to the audience.


— Contributed by Weegee Sachtjen

Resources & Courtesies:

A Road Less Traveled May Be the Perfect One

Safety Not Guaranteed Time Travel Robert Frost's Poem

Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. P.O. Box 91 Ocean View, WA 99393. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.

The original newspaper advertisement seeking a partner for time traveling was written by John Silveira and published as filler in the September/October 1997 issue of Backwoods Home Magazine.  

In the 2012 movie, “Safety Not Guaranteed”, a jerky reporter and two interns go an assignment to find and profile the person behind the ad. As it turns out, each have an ulterior motive for accepting the assignment: 1) to go back and see something cool; 2) to go back and prevent the death of a loved one; and 3) to travel down the path not chosen with a former love.

The idea of time travel speaks to all of us for it suggests a chance to alter your path by making a different choice. It is a fantasy in which we can pick that one moment in time when we would do something different. A moment we regret or wish we could take back.

Morningstars Toastmasters BC Sunshine CoastAs we sat in the beautiful waterfront yard of Frank C.’s Marina House (and eventually his front room) on Wednesday morning, each of us stood up and talked about a path in life taken that was less traveled (inspired by the Robert Frost poem).

For some, it was a path in which the deviated from what was considered the norm, the right way. For others, it was a path that they were guided down as they were pushed off the current one they walked. A few, sadly, made choices as a means of survival and with little time to evaluate wants.

As a group, we shared stories about conquering our fears. Our tales involved that moment when you knew what was changing inside you would forever impact the direction you choose from this point forward. We heard tales of adventures in foreign lands or how meeting a group learning the ropes of public speaking put a positive spin on their world.

The path may have been rocky, full of doubt in trying something new. There may have even been a void of not knowing what would happen next, if they could even do it. But in all the stories there was a hidden thread of courage. Everyone found a strength inside themselves that they didn’t know they had.

The only thing we didn’t talk about was regret. We didn’t talk about the chance lost, the missed opportunity or that one place in time when we reached a fork in the road and choose poorly. Not even when the ending was far from positive.

It’s just a theory, but I don’t think any of us would have signed up to go on the time travel mission.

The truth of it is, in the end, there’s a reason that path, road was less traveled. It was waiting for just the right person to claim it as theirs. The road less traveled that each of us took — was the absolute perfect one. It made us the strong, unique, funny, witty, adventuresome, welcoming, open, loving and creative people we see in ourselves and others.

Thank you to all of you who shared their stories, their hearts.

A special thank you to Frank C. and his lovely wife, Julie, for hosting and catering such a lovely Toastmasters meeting. It was beautiful and the food was amazing. Thank you.

NEXT MEETING: Greg will be hosting the next meeting. The theme is the Pecha Kucha. Please watch your emails or visit Turbobase for additional details.