The Wall, the Wobble, and the Wilderness

a wall with a door in it. Toastmasters are always improving their craft. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t sometimes wonder ‘what was I thinking’ when we committed to giving a particular speech. Especially when it’s the night before and we’re panicking and hitting a wall.

Hard.

Maybe it’s not coming together and we’re worried we’ll look like idiots.

Or maybe it’s the wrong topic that has us in a panic.

Maybe it’s just not quite the right fit. Recently, someone had one speech ready and then when the moment came, she felt inspired, and delivered a completely different speech that what she’d planned.

Hmmmmm…

What if it’s about taking a bigger risk and stepping on to a new learning edge? What if feeling unprepared just means the process for creating speeches has changed from the first moment we stand behind the lectern and deliver (or read!) our Icebreaker speech?

This idea was brought home to me in my recent experience giving a speech about the Wall, the Wobble, and the Wilderness..

And one other W too. You can read more about it here.

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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 Seahawks.com)

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 Seahawks.com. “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: Seahawks.com)

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.

#GoHawks

— Contributed by Weegee Sachtjen

Resources & Courtesies:

What’s Your Motive? The Why Your Audience Needs to Know

Your Story Audience ToastmastersWhat’s your motive?

Detectives work long hours, interviewing family and friends to figure out the “why” in every crime. The motive.

In a court of law, it isn’t necessary to prove motive. It is not an element of many crimes or can be hard to decipher (serial killers), but proving motive often makes it easier to gain conviction.

Motive describes the reasons in the accused’s history, background, prior relationships or station in life that could have led to the moment when he/she made the choice to commit the crime. Motives are oftentimes broken down into three categories; biological, social and personal. It’s where the drama is. This is where the affairs reside, the allegations of abuse come forward or pressure to have funds to live like the Jones’.

It answers the “why.” And people want to know the “why” in criminal cases and your speech.

So, I ask you, what is your motive? What lead to this moment? To this speech? What are you trying to tell your audience? Why?

It is important to tell your story. Incorporate a bit of you into your speech. Each of us is playing a lead role in a constant unfolding story that no one else could write. It is our history, background, prior relationships or station in life that has given us our unique spin.

It doesn’t have to be center stage in every speech, blog — but knowing where you are coming from, your motive, will help you to engage your audience. Like a jury, your audience wants to know what lead to this moment. They want to see a slice of the real person behind the blog, behind the podium. It’s a connection that will help them see your point of view and feel closer to you.

Answer the why.

What’s your motive?

What's Your Motive? The Why Your Audience Needs to Know

Your Story Audience ToastmastersWhat’s your motive?

Detectives work long hours, interviewing family and friends to figure out the “why” in every crime. The motive.

In a court of law, it isn’t necessary to prove motive. It is not an element of many crimes or can be hard to decipher (serial killers), but proving motive often makes it easier to gain conviction.

Motive describes the reasons in the accused’s history, background, prior relationships or station in life that could have led to the moment when he/she made the choice to commit the crime. Motives are oftentimes broken down into three categories; biological, social and personal. It’s where the drama is. This is where the affairs reside, the allegations of abuse come forward or pressure to have funds to live like the Jones’.

It answers the “why.” And people want to know the “why” in criminal cases and your speech.

So, I ask you, what is your motive? What lead to this moment? To this speech? What are you trying to tell your audience? Why?

It is important to tell your story. Incorporate a bit of you into your speech. Each of us is playing a lead role in a constant unfolding story that no one else could write. It is our history, background, prior relationships or station in life that has given us our unique spin.

It doesn’t have to be center stage in every speech, blog — but knowing where you are coming from, your motive, will help you to engage your audience. Like a jury, your audience wants to know what lead to this moment. They want to see a slice of the real person behind the blog, behind the podium. It’s a connection that will help them see your point of view and feel closer to you.

Answer the why.

What’s your motive?

Speech Prep: Iron Out the Wrinkles in Your Speech

Contributed by  Weegee S. 

Your name has been added to a future meeting agenda. You know what it is you want to talk about. Now, it is time to practice your speech.

But do you know how to iron out the wrinkles of your speech in order to make the very best impression? It’s a bit more than committing the text to memory.  It’s actually the key to making us better speakers. The speech starts long before you get up in front of the audience. Your prep time is where the hard word occurs. The speech itself is just the end result.

According to the Six Minutes website, practicing your speech can help with:

Find the Awkward
Practicing your speech aloud gives you a chance to locate those awkward phrases, tongue-twisters and sentences that are way too long but go unnoticed during the silent writing phase.

How Do You Feel?
We have all thought a particular topic would make for an awesome speech. It isn’t until we are rewriting or even practicing that we realize this isn’t the one for us. The stronger you feel for a topic, the more passionate you are about your speech = the more your audience will be engaged. In short, a speech without passion falls flat.

Timing is Everything in Speeches
How long is your speech? How long is it supposed to be? A good rule of thumb is to add about a minute to your practice time. The speech you give to Fluffy in the living room will expand a bit when you have to do it before a crowd.

Increase confidence
The more you practice your speech, the more confident you are in your words.

Rehearsing is key to a perfect speech. Looking for more ways to take your speech prep to a new level? Click here to visit the Six Minutes website.