Two More Lessons Learned or ‘How I Managed To Get Through Speech Project #4 Alive!?’

Over the course of my time as a member of Toastmasters International, I have learnt many, many things to help me communicate better in my speeches, presentations, evaluations and endeavour to become a better leader. I still have a lot learn as well.

On joining Toastmasters you receive two Manuals, the Competent Communicator manual (10 speeches) and the Competent Leader manual (10 Leadership Projects).

One of the earlier prominent lessons I learnt was in my fourth speech of the ‘Competent Communicator’ Manual. Speech Project #4 was “How To Say It?

I recall writing a speech called ‘Art, An Anaesthetic To The Problems Of The World.’ Hmmm, yes, it still strikes me as a dry title and speech for that matter!

It was two pages long, in 10 point font and I recall vividly that I memorised the whole speech and forty times I was able to ‘recall it by wrote…’

Come the Toastmasters Club meeting, I was very nervous.

All went well, for the first four lines…then came the fifth line and ‘I was nowhere…’ You guessed it, due to nerves I had forgotten what the fifth line was. Silence, awkward silence followed…

I had notes with me but nerves, being what they are took control and I endeavoured to just read the notes but that was not working and I felt awkward again. Then a thought occurred to me…’you know the speech, just tell them’ and I did.

I was able to finish the speech, not with the words I had written, but words that ‘just came out…’

Two lessons were learnt in this speech project.

  1. Never try to memorise the full speech. Know your Beginning & Ending well and know what you want to say in the middle without memorising it. (This was the kind advice from a DTM {Distinguished Toastmaster}, the highest level achievable in Toastmasters International).
  2. We write differently to the way we speak.

The above lessons have served me well, as in speeches since I have written the speech out but because I know what I want to say, I deliver it without having to go ‘word-for-word’ and this has worked well for me.

In my next article on Public Speaking, I’ll be talking about how ‘My Imaginary Umbilical Cord Was Cut…’

Written by David Johnson
23 August 2015

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