Your One Minute Toastmaster

Be the messenger, not the message.

Ten tips to help control nervousness when you are on the Platform:

Feeling some nervousness before speaking to any audience is natural and at times, even healthy. Channel your anxiety, and you will be OK. Some nervous energy might show that you are passionate and care about what you are presenting to your audience. Too much nervousness will detract from your message and performance. Your physical preparation is also an essential P when preparing for the platform. Your other P’s are: Preparation and Practice before Presenting.

1.    Know the Room-: Become familiar with the speaking area before it is your turn to speak.  The view from the speaking area is quite different from the audience or the back of the room.

2.    Know Your Audience:  Meet and, if possible, greet some of your audience as they arrive. Meeting your audience before you speak can help you better connect as you look out into the audience as you deliver your speech.

3.    Know Your Material: In the words of Dr. Ralph C Smedley, “A prepared speaker should not be nervous.”

4.    Relax: Get on your feet, stretch a bit before taking the stage.

5.    Visualize yourself giving your speech: Harbor positive thoughts. Visualize yourself being successful, and you will be successful.

6.    Think Positive: Audiences do not want you to fail. Smile, and your audience will smile back at you.

7. Don’t apologize: Do not call attention to any of your slipups. Those slipups may very well have gone unnoticed.

8.    Focus on your message – When you focus on your message and your audience, your attention moves away from yourself. Your energy moves outwardly towards your message and your audience. Be the messenger, not the message.

9.    Turn nervousness into positive energy:  Add vitality and enthusiasm to harness your nervous energy.

10.    Gain experience. Experience Builds confidence: Grasp every opportunity you get to SPEAK. Grasp every chance you get to EVALUATE – Evaluations are the key to becoming a better speaker.

Just another Icebreaker

Include the six emotions that touch all audiences

The first speech delivered by a Toastmaster is the icebreaker. However, that first speech can be the first of many great speeches if your chosen approach points you in the right direction to begin your Toastmaster’s journey. Pathways, the Toastmasters newly minted communication and leadership program, introduces each new Path with just another icebreaker. After being in Toastmasters for many years, it’s only natural for members, both new and old, to ask why someone must prepare another icebreaker to begin every new Path. How many times must you re-live that first experience when you almost fainted on the platform? Some of the main reasons are the ever-changing faces in club memberships and the development of each club’s programs. I believe we have a greater appreciation for that first experience when you take a moment to look back as you continue moving forward. With each new Path you begin, you will recognize the importance and focus on speaking about your life experiences. Telling those stories with passion will help you to continue with your development as speakers with greater confidence.

If you were to review some of the world champion speeches, both past and present, you would discover they contain many of the rudiments you will find in a well-crafted icebreaker. Over time, you may also conclude that icebreakers can set the foundation for that world championship speech you will deliver someday. However, your icebreaker will become that memorable speech only when you begin to live and share the values of the lessons learned from the stories you continue to develop and deliver. Telling your story is not enough. It would be best if you also took your audience with you to re-live those precious moments. When you speak about your successes, failures, and future aspirations, your audience will better understand who you are, which is one of the icebreaker’s primary purposes of the icebreaker. As you tell your stories, never forget to include the six emotions that touch all audiences: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, and disgust. And when you make sure your speech contains a Purpose, Point, and Message that touches the head, heart, and soul of your audiences, they will always lend you an attentive ear.

Telling your story to an audience can be challenging. Pathways provide you with worksheets that help you structure not just your icebreaker; they provide you with the foundation for your future presentations. They will also help you organize your thoughts as you decide what you should include or exclude. Once you start working with the worksheets, you will quickly realize their value. Some of the questions you should consider asking yourself are, what’s the greatest lesson you have ever learned, who taught you that lesson, and how that lesson changed your life. Your answers should resonate with the audience for which you have prepared. Remember, you are delivering a speech about yourself to that audience and not giving a speech about yourself for yourself. Telling your stories in that manner sounds self-centered and selfish when the focus is entirely on you and not on your audience.

Once you have prepared and delivered a few icebreakers, you will begin to develop your format. Keep a story file to preserve the ideas and the beautiful lines you use in your everyday conversations. You will also start recognizing and paying attention to those lines and formulas you have heard delivered by other experienced speakers. One of those that immediately come to mind, which I have borrowed many times from Patricia Fripp, a Hall of Fame, award–winning speaker, is Q1, where I was, Q2 where I am. Q3, where I am heading. Answer those three questions, with three sub-points for each of those questions, and you will have the basic structure for your icebreaker.

Another I borrowed from the great motivational speaker; Les Brown: Q1: where have you been, Q2: where are you heading. Q3 when will you get there. And my very own: Q1: I was, Q2: I am, and Q3 I will be. Practice creating your own Q’s, and over time, they will become a natural part of your preparation, not only for but also for all speeches. Icebreakers are fun. When the stories you tell make your audience think. When your life experiences touch their heart and soul, when your subtle humor makes your audience laugh and cry in those four to six minutes that they will never forget, they will be ready, willing, and able to walk a mile with you in your shoes. When you develop your four to six-minute speeches, your five to seven will follow and flow with that same style and delivery. Keep breaking the ice with each new audience you face, and the day will come when you will remember every one of the icebreakers you deliver as just another icebreaker and some of the many excellent speeches you have given as a Toastmaster

Your Amazing Grace

It is a feeling of being Unbreakable-Unshakable-Unsinkable

Your Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound – it is a song that awakens the power of the human spirit to remind us, in our hour of darkness, if we reach out to the power of the human spirit, that spirit that is deep within us all, you too will be filled, with your Amazing Grace. Are you filled with Your Amazing Grace? It is a feeling of being unbreakable, unshakable, unsinkable, even when you believe that all but hope is lost.  

On Christmas Eve, some two hundred and forty years ago, Pastor John Newton, the man who coined that phrase Amazing Grace and wrote those beautiful words that became the song Amazing Grace, delivered a sermon in which he recalled a time in his life when he was lost, and how he came to be found. When he was too blind to see the beauty of humanity and when he came face to face with what he was sure was going to be his destiny, a watery grave at sea.

Newton, a self-proclaimed wretch – a vagabond of the sea, who broke every one of the golden rules of life, was sailing across the Atlantic with his crew and human cargo – Yes, he was a slave trader, a vocation many believed could only be reserved for the worst of humankind. As they sailed off the coast of Ireland on a bright sunny day, suddenly they ran into the eye of a storm. The seas were angry; the sky grew darker and darker. The winds were howling like mad dogs. Newton, an experienced seaman, realizing he was no match for the fury of mother nature that day, fell to his knees, begging for mercy, promising to change from his wicked ways if given a second chance at life. 

Newton got that second chance. Miraculously, they made it to Donegal – a little port of the Northern Coast of Ireland with his ship almost a complete wreck. It was there, while his boat was being repaired, he wrote those beautiful words that would become the song, Amazing Grace, “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I am found-was blind, but now I see” – And I am sure if we had more than five to seven minutes here today, we all would still be singing that song of song, that hymns of hymns, that gives us all hope in our hours of darkness.

It is sung more the 10 Million times each year, recorder over 11,000 times in more than 100 different languages. But the true miracle of that song is the melody – which was inspired by the moaning and growing of shackled slaves in the hole of that ship, as they too struggled to survive that voyage, wondering if their destiny would also be a watery grave at sea. Haunted by those memories, Newton kept every word of that covenant he made at sea. He transformed his life from being one of the worst of humankind to become an advocate for the abolition of the slave trade. 

I truly believe, everyone will someday have at least one John Newton moment in their lifetime – a moment when their entire life flashes before their eyes like a bad movie. Do you remember your Newton moment? Did you too make promises? And were those promises made promises kept. I still remember mine as if it were yesterday. To this day, I could still remember seeing those two words we all dread in bold letters – “The End” – as the credits of my life journey scrolled amid a deafening silence. But in that moment of darkness, I too reached out and was blessed with an experience I will never forget. It was a feeling I can only describe as being simply Amazing.  

Today, whenever I hear someone cry in word or song with those – Amazing Grace! seeking comfort from their grief and suffering, I am reminded that second chances don’t come easy. And not every bend in the road is the end of the road. But what I do know for sure, is in your hour of darkness, if you reach out to the power of the human spirit, that spirit which is unshakable, unbreakable, unsinkable, you too will be filled with your Amazing Grace. 

The Game of Life

Robinson soon realized he was invited but not welcomed

Baseball is America’s favorite pastime, but to me, it is more than just a game – as it has taught me this valuable lesson – that when we refuse to remain silent in the face of injustice, there will come a day when people of all races will be invited and welcomed to follow their dreams regardless of race, color or creed.

In the game of life, are you a player or an observer? My Papa, Big George, once asked me that question before he told me the stories about the heroes who made baseball the game of life. Papa would always say before you move forward in life, take a moment to look back. So, come with me as I take you back to those dark days of summer when America was segregated, and so too was the game of baseball. Back then, there were the major leagues. Then there were the leagues for people of color only, the Negro leagues, with all-stars like Satchel Page, Gosh Gibson, and James Cool Papa Bell; the fastest man who ever ran the bases. A man who could flick a light switch and get into bed before the room got dark. Still, most Americans never saw those great players in their prime because of their skin color.

It was also a time in History when the good people from the better side of the tracks did not attend the same schools, worship at the same churches, or drink from the same water fountains. The Jim Crow laws of the day even made that illegal.  And while many felt in their hearts that segregation was wrong, they remained silent.   Everyone knew the owners of both leagues had ties to the vigilante groups like the Ku Klux Klan, who didn’t care if the rat was black or white. Mess with their revenues, and it could cost you your life. To protect themselves, even the Negro League players also remained silent, playing for the love of the game. Simultaneously, the Major Leaguers enjoyed the royal treatment with their pictures on these beautiful baseball trading cards.

Initially, I collected baseball cards for the bubble gum in each packet. Then I began collecting by teams regardless of the color and discovered a card, which seemed out of place. The player was Jackie Robinson, the team, the Brooklyn Dodgers. I even scratched the surface of the card to see if his complexion would change. It “didn’t” – who knew, I might have started scratchers.  It was then I asked my Pap, Big George, how did Robinson become a Dodger. And Papa replied: “Son, in 1947 a retired Baptist Minister, Mr. Branch Rickey, managed the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was adamant that if all men are created equal, they should compete equally on a level playing field regardless of color.  When he invited Jackie Robinson to join his team, the Dodgers, everyone turned against him. Mr. Rickie refused to remain silent. Robinson soon realized he was invited but not welcomed.  And although he was able to silence his critics on the playing field, he still was not accepted as a teammate.  In the face of that injustice, Again, Mr. Rickey refused to remain silent, and Robinson became a Brooklyn Dodger.

From that moment, I was inspired!  I wanted to grow up to be just like Jackie Robinson and was even more committed when I learned that Robinson’s greatest fear was not the death threats he received, but was how he would perform at his first game in the south. When that day came, the good people of the Cincinnati Reds did not fail to disappoint; however, not once did Robinson say anything to disgrace himself or his team. When the umpire: the blue shouted – Play Ball! – Pee Wee Reese, a white player beloved by all, did the unthinkable.  Reese walked over to first base with tears in his eyes to recognize Robinson as his teammate in the presence of fans, friends and family – and in that one triumphant moment, baseball became America’s Game. 

And so today my friends, as we proudly stand on the shoulders of Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, and Blanche Rickie, all heroes of the game of baseball, I urge you too, to be players and to not just be observers in the game of life. Always remember, when we refuse to remain silent in the face of injustice, the day will come when we all will be invited and welcomed to live our dreams on a level playing field, regardless of race, color or creed in the biggest game of them all, the game of life.

In Honor of Black History Month – February 1st – March 1st – First Delivered 2012 : Henry O. Miller DTM/PDG

Table Topics Questions Continued:

Ready to go for a wild ride?

You can have lots of family fun with Table Topics. Here are 40 questions I have selected just for you. On President’s Day, my wife held court with some of the grandchildren and the adults in the room. We had a fun fill Q & A session with these Questions. Many of the answers were quite impressive. Try comparing the responses of Kids and Adults to some of these questions and brace yourself for surprises. Ready to go for a wild ride?

  1. What is one fear you would like to conquer
  2. If you could rename yourself, what name would you choose
  3. What was your most embarrassing moment
  4. Are there any redeeming qualities to the person you most dislike
  5. What moment from your life would you like to relive if you could
  6. What is your biggest pet peeve
  7. What remains undone that you have wanted to get done for years
  8. Would you live your life any differently if you didn’t care what people thought
  9. If you could give all human beings one virtue, which would it be
  10. Who has inspired you as a mentor, and why
  11. What does your perfect day look like
  12. What makes a house a home
  13. Who’s the most unusual member of your family
  14. Would you rather be smarter, more athletic, or better-looking
  15. Do you live more in the past, present, or future
  16. What quality do you think is most important in marriage
  17. How do you define integrity, and do you have it
  18. What’s the most significant problem facing the world
  19. What are the most important qualities your look for in friends
  20. What is the one goal you hope to accomplish this year
  21. If you could do something dangerous just once with no risk, what would you do
  22. Who are your role models
  23. Which do we need more of justice or forgiveness
  24. What was your most memorable meal ever
  25. What son evokes the strongest memories for you
  26. Which of your ancestors would you most like to meet
  27. When you’re down, what do you do to feel better
  28. Is there only one soul mate for each person
  29. What’s your proudest accomplishment
  30. What would you most like to do for someone if you had the money and time
  31. What do you think is the ideal age
  32. What is the most challenging thing you’ve ever done
  33. Where would you most like to travel to
  34. What’s your dream job
  35. Is science or art more essential to humanity
  36. Is the male or female body more beautiful
  37. Would you rather live by the beach or in the mountains
  38. What’s your favorite quotation
  39. What do you wish you were better at saying “No” to
  40. Would you prefer to be the worst player on a winning team or the best player on a losing team

Let’s Talk Table Topics

All speaking is Public Speaking!

Table Topics is all about revealing the authentic you. It challenges your impromptu speaking skills. Les Brown, someone I respect in the speaking world, has often said, “Once you open your mouth, you tell the world who or what you are.” Sure, you can fake it, but time will take care of that. As honest Abraham Lincoln once said: You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. Prepare all you want; however, it all boils down to being in the moment. The more moments you have the better you will become.

If you are passionate about competing to become better at any discipline, you will realize the importance of improving related skills. The first I highly recommend is to become better at listening. Know thy self. Are you an active or passive listener? When you are actively listening, you are fully concentrating on what is said and not passively hearing the speaker’s words. Work on your confidence. It is another required area of development. Although impromptu speaking is quite different from delivering a prepared speech, if you develop the same style you have grown accustomed to using regularly, you will realize there is not much difference between the two disciplines. All speaking is public speaking. They are different but do have a lot in common.

Develop your technique for giving impromptu speeches. Practice adapting rehearsed stories during your five to seven-minute presentations. Keep an active story file. Impromptu speaking is your opportunity to be in the moment. Table Topic questions are usually simple but carefully worded. Remember, all you have is 1 to 2 minutes with a 30-second grace. Practice getting a feel for your 1 to 2 minutes of speaking time. Once you receive the question, do a quick analysis. Does the question require a singular or plural response? Keep it simple don’t overthink the question. What are the KEY words in the question? Be aware and prepared to adjust to the audience you are facing. Take a moment to decipher if you were asked a question or given a statement for comment. That you should do before you utter your first words. Silence is your prerogative.

Clarify your understanding of the question by paraphrasing what you heard, then immediately begin your answer. That should take no more than 30 seconds. Stalling with pleasantries is not going to earn you any points with judges. The judging items in a Toastmasters contest are Content 55pts, Delivery 30pts, and Language 15pts. The point’s distribution clearly shows your Content is critical. Your challenge as a contestant is to make your fewest words go the furthest. Make your audience experience the words you choose. Your comments should target not just the ear but in their hearts. Soundbites are most effective in this segment as they are memorable and they resonate with audiences.

Once you have answered the question, or have stated your position, be anecdotal. Support your answer with a story or statement relevant to your response. Continue to add Content while focusing on your delivery and language. Help your judges to add points to your total score. You should be somewhere around the 2.00-minute mark – an excellent place to have your magic moment. On a scale of 1 to 10, this is where you must deliver your 11. Ask your audience to do something. Challenge them to take some action. You are no longer speaking to their hearts, you are speaking to their hand and feet. You now have roughly 20 seconds to wrap-up or, to summarize and close the deal.

Tell your audience and judges you are about to summarize. Of the many ways to telegraph you are wrapping-up, one of the best I have heard is – In conclusion! said with confidence. Remind your audience of your answer and your position. Don’t use exactly the same words you used initially, vary them a bit. Recall no more than three of your points. Resist the temptation to add additional information. That will only confuse your audience and judges. When you close STOP speaking. It’s over! Develop your own method for handling Table Topic questions with style and authenticity, and you will master not just Table Topic but impromptu and all speaking in general. All speaking is Public Speaking!

Practice Practice Practice

When your speech is in your head, it is not ready for delivery.

Sunset at Pismo Beach!

If ever you were to flag down a cabbie in New York City to ask, “how do you get to Carnegie Hall,” the answer you will most likely receive is practice, practice, practice. And your fare will suddenly double while your cabbie takes the scenic route. However, if you ask Lance Miller, the 2005 World Champion of Public Speaking, how do you practice? He will tell you, “You practice precisely as you deliver your speech on the platform.” The word practice can be a verb or a noun. When used as a verb, you perform an activity or exercise. That skill performed repeatedly or regularly improves or maintains your proficiency. The nouns; doctors and lawyers have practices. While they may never become perfect, they are permanent.

Your approach to practice can determine your success or failure when you are on the platform. Rehearsing your speech in the shower, while driving or lying in bed is not exactly practicing, You are sequencing. You are arranging your thoughts in a particular order, which is useful; however, it is a far cry from practicing. Sequencing places your presentation in your head. When your speech is in your head, it is not ready for delivery. You have to move it from your head to your heart. To avoid that extra step, practice as if you are speaking to an audience. When you practice as you will deliver your presentation, you develop muscle memory, which requires your total body involvement.

Lance also recommends that you should avoid practicing in front of mirrors. The speaker focuses on themselves when they should be focusing on their audience. Speaking to cameras is also a challenge most speakers face when delivering an address over zoom. Recording yourself and analyzing your presentation is far more effective than practicing in front of mirrors. Mirrors can also be a distraction to the speaker while practicing. Your focus will be on yourself and not your audience when you are on the platform. What and how you practice becomes permanent.

Anyone who has attained greatness in their chosen field will tell you it took many hours, days, and years of practice. They also had specific workout routines. They also had different exercises for different days. Before they begin to practice, they knew what to would be focusing on during each practice session. They knew how many times they will practice particular routines. They practice their speech uninterrupted from start to finish. Also, they make sure they practice delivering their presentation to an audience. Adopt those practices. If you don’t have an audience, create one. Chairs, trees, dolls, whatever that will not talk back, works well. Feedback will come in your testing phase. Practice, Practice, Practice but do it right and the day will come when you too will be on your way to the Carnegie Hall of public speaking.

Observing Writing & Speaking

Suspects will often change their clothes, but seldom their shoes.

The first step to becoming a better writer or speaker is to become a better observer. By our very nature, we are lazy when it comes to observing things and people around us. We readily accept the observation of others. We use generalities instead of little details we discovered ourselves. We also ignore the senses that were touched, the little things that may have left an indelible mark on us subconsciously. As a writer or speaker, the little details we ignored are the ones that count most to our audience. Addressing the minor details will often go a long way in helping us be better observers, better writers, and better speakers.

When last you took a moment to be more observant of your surroundings? By testing your ability to observe, we can greatly improve our living, thinking, and writing. Close your eyes and try to recall the first time you saw your spouse. Do you remember what he or she was wearing? Do you remember the look when you first made eye contact? Or how about the aroma or the shoes that were worn that day, do you remember? My dad, the cop, once told me to be good at his job, you must be a curious observer. Suspects will often change their clothes, but seldom their shoes. I still remember that tip, as vividly as I remember my mama’s cooking. Mia Angelo, the great poet, writer, and speaker, often said, people may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. When you write or tell your stories, explore all five senses, sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Work on the feeling s of your audience, and you will bring your characters and your moments of truth back to life.

Using the right words at the right time to express what you saw, heard, and felt can be challenging, but with practice, you can master the art of audience awareness. If you practice reliving and not recalling details of what you saw, heard, and felt, you can transport your audience back to a time and place. As your story is being told, entice your audience to feel some of what you felt. With that approach, you will be far more effective as a speaker. Great speakers often advise, don’t tell them, take them. Get your audience involved. Ask them to do something or engage them with facial expressions, your vocal variety, and your charm. If you can get your audience to react, that’s a good indicator that you are being heard and your message is being delivered.

Observing your audience from a stage is a bit different. While it is critical to observe your audience’s reactions as you deliver your presentation, it can become a distraction. Speakers should consider their tone, content, and language in the preparation phase of their presentation. Know your audience. Delivery, especially in a virtual environment, has its limitations. However, with a little creativity, we can use virtual settings to our advantage. Make connecting with your audience a priority. Stay connected with them from the beginning all the way to the end. Keep in mind great speeches are often forgotten when there is an absence of a call to action at the end. When a call to action is not offered to your audience, they are left to imagine your purpose. Be specific about what you are asking your audience to think, feel or do. What you are asking your audience to do must also be doable.

Practice seeing the unseen, hearing sounds of silence, and the feeling of being touched even when you are alone. And you will know what it’s like to be in tune with your surroundings. And as we observe the little things around us that we so often ignore, we will be inspired to become a better observer, better writer, and a better speaker.

Organizing Your Speech

Just as important is the organizational structure you choose.

It is often said, we speak to be heard, understood, and to be repeated. Topic selection is important. We choose topics we are passionate about. However, just as important is the organizational structure you choose. A well-organized speech enhances the audience’s understanding of your topic. When your speech is well-structured and easy to follow, it is more effective. A clear understanding of the different types of structures and when they are used will help you organize your speeches. The following are some structures you may find useful during your writing and delivery.

CHRONOLOGICAL: Chronologically organized speeches follow a sequence of events. When you speak about events linked together by time, it is best to engage the chronological organization style. Your main points are delivered according to when they happened and could be traced back in time in a chronological speech. Arranging main points in chronological order can help describe historical events to an audience and when the order of events is necessary to understand what you wish to convey. This style is effective when delivering Informative or when delivering demonstrative speeches about a series of events.

TOPICAL:  A topical structure organizes speeches by topics and subtopics. Break your speech into sections that explain major concepts related to your topic, followed by smaller and smaller subtopics. If your speech center’s main points on ideas are more distinct from one another, use a topical organization style. Your main points are developed separately in a topical speech and are generally connected within the introduction and conclusion. In other words, the topical style is crafted around main points and sub-points that are mutually exclusive but related to one another by the thesis. Use the topical style when elements are connected because of their relationship to the whole.

SPATIAL: A spatial structure organizes a speech by geography, the physical structure of the topic, or discusses the impact your topic has upon a region or the world. Spatial also refers to content that covers the physical landscape of a specific location. For example, if you are giving a speech about California, you may organize your presentation to imply movement from the North to the South; or from San Francisco to Monterey. 

CAUSAL: A causal structure organizes speeches to link a cause to an effect or its cause. Casual speech is also a way of talking that you use with people close to and trust. There are different words, phrases, and ways of speaking that you can use with your friends, your family members, and with people who are a similar age, social status, and personality to you.

COMPARATIVE:  A comparative structure organizes speeches by describing two or more objects and their shared and or different attributes. Show how your topic compares to another by examining similarities and differences.

As you select your topic, understand the style you will use to deliver that particular presentation. Develop a well-structured, clear, and organized speaking style, and you will always be heard, understood, and repeated. 

The Power of the Ice-Breaker

Don’t Tell Them -Show Them-Take Them:

Ice Breakers contain all the elements you find in well-crafted speeches. Some of the best speeches I have ever experienced have been ice breakers. Some were never intended to be an ice breaker, but because the speaker used the following principles of good speech writing, the result was a speech that could be a club, contest, or even a World Champion speech winner. Use the following tips from Topic Selection to your Magic Moment as you tell your next story, and you, too, will realize the power of the ice-breaker.

Topic Selection:  Choose a topic you are passionate about. Your presentation should not be all about you. And don’t be the hero. Your story should also have some universal appeal. It could be a single story or a three-story speech. Establish a connection with your audience through your personal stories and real-life events spun into a unique and powerful presentation. Use persuasion and the power of the spoken word effectively. Where possible, use dialogue and you will keep your audience engaged.

Establish Your Speech Purpose Early: Be clear. Are you speaking to inform, entertain, persuade motivate or all of the above. One should be your primary purpose. What do you want your audience to think, feel or do in that crucial minute of silence after hearing your speech. If you have your audience feeling like they are sitting on pins and needles, anxious to take some action, you have achieved your purpose.

Develop your Foundational Statement (FS) : Your foundational statement is a carefully worded sentence, question, or phrase on which your speech is built. The speaker should be able to fit that well-crafted statement on the back of a business card. That statement should be powerful, catchy, and memorable. It should also resonate through the speech from your introduction to the conclusion. Look at speeches and see if you can identify their FS.

Don’t Tell Them–Show Them-Take Them: Be descriptive. Use word pictures to convey your message. If a picture paints a thousand words, paint word pictures. Be concise, be clear, be engaging and be present. Remember, audiences may forget what they saw or what they heard. However, they will seldom forget how they made you feel.

Every Unanswered Question Becomes a Distraction: Answer every question you pose. Don’t leave your audience guessing or hanging. Also, if a conflict is introduced in your presentation, make sure it is resolved. Resolve your Who, What, When, Where, and Why.

Timing is everything (For Toastmasters 5- 7 Minute speeches): Write a 6 Minute Speech and Deliver it in 7. Find Your Speaking Rate – Men average 125 – Women 150 Average The number of words in your speech should be between 700 to 780 words. Use single syllable words.

Your Magic Moment: This is the signature moment in your speech. It should also be connected to the flow of your presentation. It should be the most memorable moments in your speech. 

Prepare your next speech using these tips, and you will come to realize the power of the ice breaker.