How To Win The International

(This post was originally posted on The Toastmaster blog.)

Club mentors should be talking to their mentees right now about whether or not they are eligible and willing to try their hand at competing in the club-level International Speech Contest.

First you need to have completed six speeches from the Competent Communications manual. If you will have completed six speeches prior to our club contest night then you should sign up to give your International speech.12416996753_23d56ab174_z

You should give your International speech with the objective not to win (although newcomers have won in the past) but to learn how to compete. You need the experience of speaking before your fellow club members and hopeful at the club’s amazing Charter Party in February to make yourself a better overall speaker.

Second you need to write a five to seven minute International speech.

An International speech needs to have an amazing beginning, strong middle and rememberable end and should contain a motivational message that has a call to action. Almost immediately the speaker should answer the question “why this speech and why this audience”.

You can’t use notes and expect to place. Having said that you can use props to help you get your message across.

Read and understand the judging criteria.

Write a speech which is simple, direct and theatrical enough to capture the audience’s attention. If your speech comes from the heart make sure you can speak through your emotions. Practice it daily before a mirror and incorporate appropriate gestures. Speak louder than you think you should and make your gestures bigger and bigger.

Above all, watch your time. Don’t run your speech into the red light. On contest night you’ll likely speak slower than at home and the time will fly by. If you do look up and see the red light, end immediately anyway you can. You aren’t eligible if you go over time even by a second.

If you get lost in your speech just stand and make eye contact with selected members of the audience. Take your time. Everyone will think you’re about to make a dramatic point. The silence will have your audience leaning in to hear what wisdom will follow. As you regain your speech begin speaking again and few, if any, will know you were actually at a lost for words.

If you can deliver your speech before other clubs. Get feedback. Make changes. Practice more and then put your name forward to be a competitor in our International Speech contest.

BTW I have started writing a first draft of my International speech 🙂

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