Santa Comes To First Oakville

Did you miss Santa?

If you attended our First Oakville Toastmasters‘s Christmas Party on Thursday Dec. 8 at O’Finn’s Irish Temper Pub you didn’t.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

On top of great food, great fellowship, silly games, Christmas music and festive drinks we also had Santa drop by to help distribute gifts and spread great cheer. (Raffle tickets to a bunch of great prizes raised well over $200 for the local food bank.)

Learning how to be a public speaker doesn’t have to be an ordeal. At First Oakville Toastmasters we’ve been developing world-class public speakers while having a fun time doing it for 60 years.

Meetings at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Wallace Road start up again on January 5. Plan to arrive around 7:15 pm.

Don’t take our word for it. Just ask Santa.

Photos are available on the club’s Flickr gallery here.

How to Win the International Speech Contest – By Marion West

Winning an International Speech Contest is actually quite simple. The secret: “Know how the speech is judged and practice, practice, practice!!!”

16538317265_494a813d93_oIn this article, I will cover the judging criteria, how I applied it to my speech, why you should too and other relevant speaking tidbits.   I leave the practicing up to you.

In my 22 years with First Oakville Toastmasters, I have competed in three International Speech Contests. In all three instances, I had the privilege of competing at the Area and Division levels. In one case (2005), I competed at the District.

Compared to many at our Club, I compete infrequently when it comes to this particular contest. I don’t recommend that you follow my lead but rather I encourage you to step forward and throw your hat into the ring as often as you can. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

In order to compete, you must be a member in good standing of a Club that is in good standing and you must have completed at least six speeches in the Competent Communication Manual prior to the Club contest. Everything you need to win is contained in the first six assignments of the basic manual. It’s helpful to know that you don’t necessarily need to have completed the first six speeches only that you have completed any six out of the 10 speeches from this book.

Picking a Topic

“Condense some daily experience into a glowing symbol and an audience is electrified”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I always take the sage advice of Emerson when it comes time to pick a topic for the International Speech Contest. In my first speech, I spoke of a homeless man who served as a self-appointed crossing guard in the hometown of my youth. In my second speech, I shared about the trials and tribulations of turning 50. If the subject is not meaningful to me, I will inevitably struggle to make it meaningful to the audience. I learned early on from Loreen Paterick that, if you want to win, your speech must have a message. Any one of your daily experiences can be turned into a speech worthy of a win if you use the information contained in this article.

You have time to pick a topic near and dear to your heart and to write a speech in time for our next contest (January 12). Always remember that “you must speak from your audience’s point of view. They will be motivated only by what they want, not what you want.” Your topic must clearly answer these two questions: “Why this speech; Why this audience?”

The Judging Criteria

“There are three things to aim at in public speaking: First to get into your subject, then to get your subject into yourself, and lastly, to get your subject into your hearers”

Anonymous

Each judge will mark from the Toastmasters International Speech Contest Judge’s Guide and Ballot. All speeches at all levels of the competition will be judged on the following criteria:

  1. Content
  2. Delivery
  3. Language

I used these 3 points to form the structure of my most recent evaluations at the Club and Area levels of the Evaluation Speech Contest. It helps me to reinforce in my own mind what constitutes the basis of a good speech.

1. Content – Getting into your subject

In the mid 1990’s, Peter and I attended the worldwide International Speech Contest in San Diego, California and the winner of that speech spoke about his children and his experience as a father. I was astonished at how a simple and easy-to-follow content could impact his audience and judges so profoundly that he won the coveted title of Toastmasters International Speaker of the Year.

Metal Wheel Concept

Did you know that 50 per cent of your speech will be judged on content? That percentage is divided among the following:

  • Speech Development – 20 %
  • Effectiveness – 15%
  • Speech Value – 15%

 

   a. Speech Development

The judges of your speech will be looking at the structure, opening, and support material. If you’re not clear on what constitutes a good structure, refer to the third assignment in the basic manual entitled “Organize Your Speech.” Here it states that “organization is really nothing more than clear thinking, a way for you to put your ideas together in an orderly manner.”   Why is a structure so important? Without one, your listeners will be left confused, unconvinced. Success comes only when you carefully organize your topic. The structure of a speech consists of:

An Ending – Make it memorable

The key point and purpose of my international speech revolved around a legacy: “the legacy of loving and being loved.” That point became the ending of my speech and it was from here that I began my structure. I started with the ending in mind. The ending is the climax of your speech, the final destination at which you hope to leave your audience. The ending should tie into your opening. It should leave your audience with something to believe, do or think.

Be sure to make it memorable like Diane Quigley. Diane, who was a former member of our Club, spoke on her nut allergy and at the end of her speech she demonstrated the best showmanship that I have seen in a long time. With great force and intent she jammed an epinephrine auto-injector into a grapefruit in order to leave her audience with what to do in the event of an anaphylaxis reaction. Will I remember her ending? You bet! It remains seared in my mind and will go down in Toastmasters history as the “Quigley-ending technique.”

An Opening – Make it attention-getting

The opening of your speech must catch the immediate attention of your audience. Solid openings include a startling question, an appropriate quotation, an illustration or story, all of which should be relevant to the body and purpose of your speech. In my opening, I told you what I am going to tell you. I said, “Tonight I’m going to tell you a story about two men, two seemingly inconsequential men …”   The audience knows immediately what my speech is about and I hope they will listen attentively to see what the body brings.

A Body – Make it support your purpose

Assignment three of the basic manual suggests that the body of your speech contain information that supports your purpose. Remember to select only one aspect of your topic or purpose otherwise you will run out of time and potentially confuse your audience. I would divide that one aspect into three key points that you wish to share with your audience. The body of my speech reads like a story. I like stories because they appeal to the little kid in me and I suspect that this is true for my audience as well. “A speech should not just be a sharing of information, but a sharing of yourself” so says Ralph Archbold. Inject the body of your speech with something personal. It will give your speech meaning and will answer to my way of thinking one of the key questions: “Why this speech?”

  b. Effectiveness

In this area of the judging form, your judges will be looking for achievement of purpose, interest and audience reception. Assignment six of the basic manual makes reference to vividness. “Use words that are alive – words conveying mental images that will stick in the minds of your listeners.” This assignment suggests the more examples, stories, word pictures, action words and words of feeling that you use, the more vivid your talk will be, and the more effectively you will communicate. This technique will increase your audience’s reception to your speech and ideas and will heighten their interest.

   c. Speech Value

Originality of thought, ideas and logic will be judged under speech value for 15 points.

2. Delivery – Getting your subject into your hearers

As I said earlier, I always pick a meaningful topic to me. Why? Because it fires me up and makes it so much easier to “get my subject into my hearers.” Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe says ‘It is delivery that makes the orator’s success’. To me, it is the delivery that makes your content sparkle and your words sing. You might be the best writer in the world but if your words fall flat your judges will mark you accordingly.

Did you know that 30 per cent of your speech will be judged on its delivery? This percentage is divided among the following:

  • Physical – 10%
  • Voice – 10%
  • Manner – 10%

  a.  Physical

In this area, you will be judged on your appearance and body language. Wear your Sunday best so to speak and choose clothes that make you look and feel comfortable. It will make a difference to your confidence and how you will be seen and judged by others.

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The physical becomes critical when competing at the District level of this speech competition. The room is huge, housing over 200 people and the stage is expansive. You will lose points if you don’t act “big”. This is where I struggle as it is not my nature to be demonstrative. The winner at the District and my competition was very outgoing. She had big gestures and actually stood up on a chair waving her arms frantically in order to make her point. Secretly and without sounding too much like a sore loser, I thought it looked silly (probably because I was uncomfortable with her mannerisms), but clearly the judges were not. Hand gestures and body language should be appropriate to the speaking space. Staying planted in one spot is perfectly appropriate if the space warrants it, such as at Club level.

  b. Voice

Your volume and flexibility (vocal variety) will be scrutinized. Assignment five of the basic manual speaks eloquently on vocal variety and its importance. It states that “we are five times as likely to be influenced by voice than by spoken words as we listen to the speaker. Thus, we are more influenced by how a speaker talks than by what a speaker says.” When delivering your speech be conscious of your volume, pitch, rate and quality. They can enhance, distract or adversely affect your speech.

c. Manner

Were you direct, assured and enthusiastic? You better be because you could earn up to 10 points under this category.

3. Language 

In all three of my International Speeches I borrowed the language and words of others just as I am doing throughout this article.   Quotes support and enforce your purpose but be sure to give credit where credit is due because the rules of the contest clearly state that any quoted material must be so identified during the speech presentation. In my International Speech, I often use a quote because in my opinion it gives credibility to what I am saying and to let my audience know that others think and believe as I do. My speech reads, “The words of George Moore resonate with me. He says and I quote ‘man travels the world over in search of what he needs but returns home to find it.’” There are a lot of great sites on the internet that will help you pick a quote that is suitable to your speech and its purpose. I use http://www.great-quotes.com/.

Did you know that 15 per cent of your speech will be judged on its language? This percentage is divided between the following:

  • Appropriateness – 10%
  • Correctness – 10%

a.  Appropriateness

Is your language appropriate to your speech purpose and to your audience? Assignment six in the basic manual touches on this point. This assignment states that “speeches are clearest when short and simple sentences are used. Spoken language is much less formal than written language and tends to be repetitious.” Throughout the body of my speech, I repeated phrases and used short sentences to make my ideas clear. This was the first time I actually focused on employing this technique. I felt that I was talking to my audience rather than at them, which was my experience in previous speech contests.

  b. Correctness

Your judges will be listening to your grammar, word pronunciation, and word selection.

Timing

The rules read – “Speeches will be five to seven minutes. A contestant will be disqualified from the contest if the speech is less than four minutes 30 seconds or more than seven minutes 30 seconds.” If your speech goes over this time allotment, you will lose! Even if everything else is perfect, you will be disqualified. Prior to announcing results, the Chairman will announce if time disqualification(s) occurred, but not name the contestant(s) involved. This is why at our regular meetings a speaker over time will not win the best speaker ribbon. Speech timing is learned and is best perfected at regular Club meetings.

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The total word count in my speech is 825 words (71 for the opening; 693 for the body; 61 for the ending). The red light flashed at the exact point I concluded my speech. Remember to be cognizant of pauses as they are critical to your delivery but they will invariably extend your speech timing. You should be wrapping up your speech not long after you see the yellow light otherwise you risk watching all your hard work go for naught.

 

What happens if you win the District competition?

For our Club, there are six levels associated with the International Speech Contest. They are:

  1. Club (the top four winners will be chosen to move to the next level)
  2. Charter Party *
  3. Area
  4. Division
  5. District
  6. International

* so far as I know, we are the only Club with this extra level of competition

coneestTypically, you will use the same speech at the first five levels of the competition. Please note the rules state that you are not required to do so. Some of you may recall that Hal Shaw changed his speech during the competition. This is within the rules and is acceptable.

If you should happen to win at the District level you will move onto the International level of the competition. This is when the competition gets interesting. That great speech which has served you so well from the Club through to the District must be set aside for a new one.

So if you are serious about becoming the next Toastmasters International Speaker of the Year, you will need to deliver two different winning speeches. Those that are serious, have two speeches ready to go even as early as the Club level of the competition.

 

Summary

Below I reiterate the points made in this article in order to help you win:

  1. Finish six manual speeches from the Competent Communication Manual
  2. Pay your dues
  3. Participate because you can’t win sitting on the sidelines
  4. Pick a topic meaningful to you as delivery will inevitably come naturally
  5. Identify the purpose of your speech and clearly know: “Why this speech? Why this audience?”
  6. Ensure your speech has an easily understood message
  7. Plot out the structure starting with the ending first
  8. Grab your audience’s attention with a strong opening
  9. Share yourself in the speech body making sure its content supports your purpose
  10. Your speech ending should leave your audience with something to believe, do or think. Remember the “Quigley-ending technique”
  11. Use words that are alive; words that convey mental images that stick with the audience
  12. Be original and logic in order to increase your point count under speech value
  13. Wear your Sunday best for confidence
  14. When delivering your speech, be conscious of volume, pitch, rate and quality
  15. Be direct, assured and enthusiastic to enhance your delivery
  16. Use a quote for credibility
  17. Use short, simple sentences and repeat phrases for clarity
  18. Watch grammar, word pronunciation and word selection
  19. Be within time
  20. Memorize your speech, but not perfectly so that it does not come off stiff and unnatural
  21. Practice, practice, practice.

Follow these, and you too can join the list of current members whose names proudly adorn the First Oakville George McVitty Trophy Speaker of the Year. They are:

  • Aman Kapur
  • Hal Shaw
  • Mark Molder
  • Marion West
  • Peter West

Keep the judging criteria in the back of your mind as you write your speech and you too could be a winner!

60th Anniversary Charter Party

You are cordially invited to celebrate our 60th anniversary. Join us at

First Oakville Toastmasters Charter Party  –  Saturday, February 25th, 2016

Harbour Banquet and Conference Centre

2340 Ontario Street Oakville, ON L6L 6P7

– 3 Course meals

– International Speech Contest

– Dj and Entertainment

– Door Prizes and More

Get your tickets today $55 Advances pricing before Dec 31st, 2016.

gatsbynight-outparty

For more info please email:  president-2245@toastmastersclubs.org

#Toastmasters #Oakville #PublicSpeaking #Anniversary

https://www.facebook.com/events/387651664912906/

 

How To Beat Roger Caesar

(This post also appears today on my blog The Toastmaster.)

Roger Caesar spoke at First Oakville Toastmasters a few weeks ago as our featured speaker during our open house meeting. He blew away the crowd.

Roger has been a Toastmaster for a few years now and as emerged as a real contender to win the World Championship of Public Speaking. He’s competed twice now at the World Championship semi-finals and I believe he’s going to go all the way very soon.

So am I blowing smoke when I say you can beat Roger?openhouse2first-oakville

As the only competitor to beat Roger in the last four years I think I’m eminently qualified to offer some suggestions. Okay so it was in the provincial finals of Table Topics when I beat him and not the International but give me a break here.

(In photo: First Oakville Toastmasters VP of PR Zulma Garcia who helped organize the club’s Open House night and Roger Caesar our guest featured speaker.)

And before anyone gets politically upset that I’m suggesting we figure out ways to beat Roger I can assure you that Roger and I are on  the same page here. We want to see speakers and especially new speakers enter the International Speech Contest in their own clubs and we want them to be so successful that they too can see the possibility of winning the world title.

So what makes Roger so good and such a great competitor? What’s his secret?

The club-level International Speech Contest is normally held in January and I bet the speech we heard from Roger in November was an early draft of one of the three speeches he’s going to write and deliver in his quest for world domination.

The point here is Roger is already out practicing his International Speech and I bet you haven’t even written yours yet!

Roger dresses for success. Now I don’t care whether you think dressing appropriately is important or not. Your opinion and mine is irrelevant. It’s the judges who care and most care to see a speaker dressing in such a way as to honour his or her audience and add to the impact to their speech. If you’re wearing jeans then your speech better be about riding horses! Just saying.

At our open house Roger was introduced but didn’t start his speech for a good 10 seconds allowing the the Toastmaster to sit down and the audience to settle. This dramatic pause helped Roger to separate himself and his speech from everything that had come before him on the agenda. It was a smart thing to do.

Roger’s first words were “I believe…”

He then went on to immediately tell his audience what he was going to say in his speech and why it should be of interest, even importance, to his audience. Why this speech and why this audience is the one question you should answer early in your speech if you want your audience to stay with you for five to seven minutes. That’s what Roger did so well.

Roger uses vocal volume and variety to great advantage and his gestures are measured and practiced and add to the impact of his speech. His ability to look into the eyes of his audience members is second to none.

So is there no hope of ever beating Roger Caesar?

The good news is Roger has good days and bad days just like the rest of us. He’s not always at the height of his game in top form. You might get a day when the stars align for you and not for Roger.

But waiting for fate isn’t a plan.

So what can you do to beat Roger?

My first suggestion is don’t try to be another Roger Caesar. One is enough LOL! Be yourself. Tell your own story. Tell it from your heart. Practice, practice, practice until you can deliver your speech in your sleep. Practice in front of a mirror. It helps.

Once upon a time I had a mentee who had delivered six speeches and I insisted that she speak at our club level International Speech Contest. She was reluctant because she’d be going up against the best speakers in our club and some of our best speakers are pretty close to as good as you get in Toastmasters.

But I insisted and persisted. I told my mentee that I didn’t expect her to win. I didn’t even expect her to place. I just wanted her to have the experience of speaking before a large audience during a formal occasion. I wanted her to be nervous and afraid because I wanted her to be less nervous and less afraid the next time she competed.

Of course, you can guess what happened.

My mentee spoke from her heart about a personal situation to which all in the audience could related. And while she may not have done it perfectly, she did it perfectly enough to win our club level International Speech Contest that year.

That’s how you beat Roger Caesar.

First you show up. Second you practice, practice, practice and compete to win. Third you keep coming back until you do win.

It’s that simple and that hard. Good luck.

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 🙂

First Oakville Toastmasters – Annual Christmas Party

Dear members be ready for our magical holiday celebration!

Thursday, December 8, 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM at

O’Finn’s Irish Temper

Bring your family and friends!

  • $42 Tickets on sale now – 3 course meal included
  • Raffle & Games – Door raffle proceeds go to charity
  • Please bring non-perishable food donations.

https://www.facebook.com/events/196448124096402/

first-oakville-toastmasters-christmas-holiday-party-2016

 

Roger Caesar World Championship of Public Speaking semi-finalist is coming to Oakville!

Roger has been the District 86 Toastmasters champion for the last two years and semi-finalist of the World Championship of Public Speaking

roger-caesar

Do not miss this opportunity to hear Roger and feel inspired by his passion and confidence at the upcoming First Oakville Toastmasters Open House.

Join us and see how Toastmasters can help you, as it has helped so many others!

Thursday November 3, 2016 – 7:30pm to 9:30pm

RSVP: vpprfotm@gmail.com

 

Location:

Knights Of Columbus Oakville (Marian Hall)

1494 Wallace Rd

Oakville, ON

L6L 2Y2