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?

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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?

Choices, Chances & Changes: The Morning Tide of Toastmasters

Three Cs of Life: Choices Chances and Change

This week’s Toastmasters Summer morning series had the perfect backdrop for the theme — speeches from the CC manuals.  One could hear the gentle lap of waves as three people took center stage in Sharon’s backyard to deliver their speech. The ocean waters repetitive, hypnotic beat was the perfect complimentary background noise to our speeches of choices, chances and changes.

“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.”

I (Weegee S.) gave my second speech (but the third in the CC manual) about how CHANCE played a role in my life. After a series of misfortunes, I was given the chance to learn to call for a dragonboat. While I was filling in for a short time, the promotion taught me a valuable lesson in how to handle CHANGE and using my voice effectively to communicate with my support group.

“Destiny is all about the choices we make and the chances we take.”

Sharon K. eloquently delivered her Ice Breaker speech where she talked about the three CHOICES that brought her back to Gibsons, BC time and again. Her tale, told from her own backyard, was about the houses and the property we were sitting in with a filter that gave us a view into how it looked to her as a child. We saw how it changed since then and how it has changed her. She said she initially agreed with her parent’s choice to purchase the waterfront property because it had a tree swing, something that made her happy. It was that feeling that led her to make the two other choices to return to Gibsons — to stay.

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.” — John C. Maxwell, public speaker and leadership expert

One of the things each of us does daily without putting much thought into it is communicate with others. Conversation is a fine art that many of us overlook, neglect or have let our skills fall to the wayside. However, it is a necessary skill to take a chance encounter and change it into a lifelong friendship. Sheila C., in a speech from the Advanced Interpersonal Communications manual, showed identified techniques to use when conversing with strangers and the different levels of conversation (small talk, fact disclosure, viewpoints and opinions and personal feelings). She offered us a way to CHANGE how we interact with fellow Toastmasters, the grocery store clerk and even people in our lives who could use a promotion in how we classify them.

The morning meeting was topped off by a round of Table Topics, random questions picked out of an envelope for those willing to be put on the spot. It is no wonder that each participate picked the one question best suited for them. Lucky choice? By chance?

The overall theme here is that each of us have signed up for change. Change in how we communicate. Change in our confidence. Change in how we present ourselves professionally and in small talk scenarios.  Each of us have made a choice and taken a chance on each other in Toastmasters to make that change. A process that is one step closer with every speech, evaluation or Table Topic discussion.

We are changing. And it only gets better from here!

Contributed by Weegee S.

NOTE: Special thank you to Sharon K. for hosting the morning meeting and offering a fantastic location for our speeches.

Next meeting will be on August 26th, hosted by Katherine. Check TurboBase and your emails for details!

I Should Have Said That!

Written by Shannon W.

This week our theme I Should Have Said That left us a wondering what or how we should – or could – have “discerned”, as our toastmaster Sheila re-framed and our first time Grammarian, Sarah L. offered. A worthy shift from judgment to compassion and accountability.

And who hasn’t had one of those moments we’d like to do over?

Judy took us even further along this line of thought. Her Inspiration was the story of Julia Ward Howe, who began the Mother’s Day celebration as a “peace day” which pointed to our right and responsibility to shape society with charity, mercy and patience.

I have to say this club doesn’t miss a chance to find the meaning. And as pointed out today, with 14 new members already this year, our messages and discernment will be percolating in every corner of our community!

That said, Katherine’s choice of story to read us this morning was exceptional. Beautifully rendered, I truly melted into the telling. William explained that the purpose of this speech from the Specialty Speeches manual was oral interpretation and connection with the audience, using both voice and body.

Well, Katherine, the visuals of this selection were a whole body and mind experience for the listeners too. I am still caught in the words “I am a child of the moon and silver”. You can come read to me any time!

More firsts….As Table Topics Master, Xinyu continued to show this club her very creative spirit as she shared her uncomfortable personal story about what she wished she had said in a certain situation, but didn’t. She then led into table topics that invited our own vulnerability: how would we have dealt to deal with the should’a/could’a of her story.

Old pro’s, PJ and Sandy nailed it. As Cathie pointed out as Table Topics Evaluator, PJ built the tension well in his own what-he-should-have-said story; and Sandy’s natural use of body language gave itself to the reflective advice she is so good at finding.

Cathie also gave us a useful “should’a. When arriving at the lectern to speak, each person“takes control” from whoever is already standing there, and then addresses the audience to keep the flow for the group. As a new speaker, I can see how this advice is an important piece for grounding myself in the startup and delivery. Done well, it is one of those invisible elements that keeps the meeting tight and focused.

To wrap up our morning, Sarah sent us out with new linguistic discernment for our ears. Her grammarian review counted 8 uses of the word of the day, and held “contentious moments” up for us to reflect on when we think “I should have said that”.

Next week’s theme is Scared Stiff.

Charge the Bean

Written  by Katherine S, President.

red beansWhat of the many possibilities could I choose on which to base my inspiration of the day? The theme was Planting a Seed, very appropriate for spring, and for our breakfast open house.

I recently moved, and while packing up, I came across a little box which contained five beans. Instantly my mind flashed to a memory.

Was it the old story of Jack in the Beanstalk? My favourite chili recipe? (Which incidentally is Moroccan Chili.)

No, this memory had to do with my former mastermind group. Each year we’d choose five beans, each one of which would represent something we wanted to experience or achieve in the coming year.

Aha! I thought. That’s what I’ll base my Inspirator role on!

When it came time for my role, I instructed everyone to hold the bean in their left hand and asked them to think of something they wanted to accomplish or achieve in the coming year.

But what good is a bean if it just sits in the hand? Imagine what would happen if we just held a seed in our hand and didn’t do anything with it.

Until we provide the right conditions  – sunlight, water, earth – it remains a seed, its potential locked away inside it forever.  Once the seed has the right conditions it will sprout and grow into whatever it’s uniquely designed to become.

The same is true of the bean that everyone was holding in their hands. What were the conditions we’d have to provide for all of our ideas to manifest?

Four Simple Steps

  1. Get very clear about the WHAT, and do not be concerned with the HOW.
  2. Listen to inner guidance and when inspired to do so, take steps toward the vision or idea.
  3. Whatever the size of the idea, deal with any doubt, fear, or anxiety that comes up about whether it’s possible.
  4. Have faith in the invisible before it becomes visible. A lot of the work is under the surface where we can’t see it.

As we all stood and charged our glasses, and charged the bean with our idea, we toasted to ‘creating the right conditions’.

I wonder what amazing things will happen in the coming year.

Forward Motion

Written by Shannon, one of our newest members.

April 29 was yet another example of how “forward moving” this club is! I’ve only just joined and I feel its energy every meeting “propelling” (word of the day) our group members along with our individual goals.

Patricia as Grammarian encouraged us this week to pick words that are “alive and give us energy”, and I’d say this club lives by that ideal! Guests again this week, and next week is our open house. We are going to need a bigger room soon.

Lots of “1st timers” took on roles…Margo as Quizmaster and Ria as Timer. (…and yes, I’ve survived my 4 minute table topics ramble awaiting the red light!)   Next week is my own “1st time timer” and I will find out for myself how hard this role can be. Everyone keeps saying it requires extra focus… so forging on with courage.

William’s inspiration fit our club particularly well with this flavour of both very new and very long standing members, encouraging us to “look for someone to inspire us to positive progress” as we move forward towards our dreams and passions.

Sheila’s speech, her final one for reaching her Competent Communicator goal, took this message further as she moved us through a compelling journey of finding connection by reaching out to others with our deepest values. Johanna’s evaluation called it a “full circle journey” for us all.

Cathie’s “Supermarket Slimming by Design” was an intriguing speech title that sat us right up with a fresh start. As Kay’s evaluation referenced, it really “kicked up the game” for all of us.

Larry’s joke about Dr Young and Dr Geezer produced some hearty chuckles throughout the telling.

Patricia and Kate wrapped up our morning with the Grammarian’s and General Evaluator’s reports. They gave us all final encouragement and sent us out to the day with fresh awareness of how planting specific words into our speeches (and I’d add our lives) can push our messages and intentions. Both their evaluations pushed us further into the words of our speakers this morning and we all went out with the “forward motion” of this club “propelling” us into our day.

Rough Around the Edges

Written by PJ, Morningstar’s Past President

The Toastmaster role is so challenging that it’s rare to see someone take it to a new level, as Sheila did this morning. Sheila decided to reinvent the Chair’s opening gambit.

Walking to the lectern, she launched into a story without so much as a Hello, without a single word of fanfare. The story was so witty and sexy and honest that I momentarily forgot where I was and what we were supposed to be doing there at Harmony Hall.

Turns out the story was an excerpt from Sheila’s personal memoir. (I’ll buy a dozen!) She depicted a younger version of herself, a person with a self-image that was “rough around the edges.” Which—Ta-da!—was the meeting’s theme.

If Sheila’s smooth experiment was an antidote to the “rough” theme, she succeeded tremendously. And what better place to deploy Speechcraft expertise than at the start? Beginnings are potent. We remember them. They set the pace.

I should know a bit about beginnings, since my most recent speech concerns “getting to the point.” Having rewritten the talk for four different occasions, I’ve discovered that getting to the point is a many-faceted thing.

“The point” is not only the core message of a presentation, but it should give the audience a damn good reason to invest valuable time in listening further. A classy start such as Sheila’s was this morning gave us the feeling that we were in the hands of a pro. Which encourages us all to relax. Which helps us all perform our own roles at our smoothest best. (Grammar police!)

And talk about smooth!

William ever so smoothly interpreted another author’s formula for success in life.

Katherine’s smooth report of her High Performance Leadership project (an executive manual) belied a lot of rough, tough work over the past nine months. Thanks, Kat!

And I give Kay special recognition for saying in her “Inspiration” that the iceberg that sunk the Titanic was obviously “rough around the edges.”

Okay, I need one more bit of clever word-play to close this piece—here goes:

Reflecting on Sheila as Chair this morning, I see a relatively new Morningstar who has come a long way in a short time. A little rough around the edges only a few months ago, Sheila has polished her skills to a degree that astonishes all of us. Of Sheila we can say without a doubt that here is one Toastmaster who is no longer a diamond in the rough.

Phew!

See you next week.

 

Not Quite What I Hoped For

quote1Given that Toastmasters is an educational and personal development club, there are roles in the weekly agenda that need to be filled in order for the club to accomplish its directives.

One of the weekly roles is of the Inspirator. The Inspirator’s dictate is exactly as it is titled – give a message that will inspire the members.

For me personally, this is one role that I try to avoid. The reason is simply that I think I have nothing inspiring to share. So recently when I felt inspired to take on the role I was quite excited; I was going to lick my intimidation of it!

On the morning of, I set my alarm earlier than usual in order to give myself extra time to go over my notes one more time.

I liked what I had prepared. And I liked the fact that I was facing a fear; which is what personal development is about, isn’t it?

In the meeting at the appropriate time the chair invited me up to the lectern. My first clue that I wasn’t really prepared should have been the fact that I didn’t even think to take up with me my water glass; which we use for the toast at the end.

All I can say is as I stood behind the lectern I had what I’ll call an out- of-body experience! I knew there were words coming out of my mouth but I had no idea what I was saying – a position I found myself in many times when I first joined Toastmasters.

Somehow I made it to the end. Unfortunately, as I returned to my seat, I wasn’t feeling the euphoric feeling that I was hoping for. Instead I felt a real disappointment flooding over me because I had not delivered the inspiration I had planned.

What did I learn from my experience that morning?

First, I immediately knew I had a choice to make – shake off the disappointment or dwell on it? I did the former. My experience had taught me that it is the best exit route!

Second, when I had some time, I examined my experience more closely. One thing I discovered was that I didn’t feel centered when I arrived behind the lectern for the simple practical reason that the chair’s laptop was left on it. I had no place to put my notes except on the corner and because of that, I wasn’t able to stand squarely behind them, which for me, created a sense of imbalance.

I never would have thought that something like that could throw me off! Now – a lesson learned; in a setting where it is safe to stumble; preparation for a time when perhaps the audience before me may not be so gracious.

I believe EVERYTHING we experience in Toastmasters has a life lesson hidden in it. I’m grateful for these experiences, as uncomfortable as they can be sometimes.

For me, that morning, I didn’t obtain my goal of overcoming my intimidation of that Inspirator’s role but there will be another time and another opportunity.