Sunday, September 14, 2008

World Class Speakers

For those of you who have wished to learn to some of the greatest Toastmasters in the world, this will be your greatest opportunity, as on 7th September, I attended the special presentation by 2 world class Toastmasters: 1990 World Champion of Public Speaking David Brooks, DTM, and 2008 World Championship Public Speaking 1st Runner-up Loghandran Krishnasamy, DTM . It was a great learning experience, as we managed to pick up tips from these world-class speakers.

First off, Loghandran spoke on his experience of preparing for his winning speech, which he then performed for the audience. I managed to record his speech, and although it is a bit dark, if you increase the brightness on your screen, you should be able to see his performance.

Now, that was a world class speech, and performed by a Malaysian! As Loghan put it, we now have every reason to believe that we Malaysians too, can be world class speakers.

Next up was DTM David Brooks from Texas in his 'formal' blue jeans, the same blue jeans he wore when he won in 1990, and has become something of his trademark symbol in Toastmasters International circles.
His presentation was on everything that every Toastmaster should know, but rarely are able to discover without the proper guidance. He laid out the
Eight Essentials of Effective Speaking.
  1. The audience is not the enemy. The first fear of a new speaker is usually the fear of the audience, but they shoudl realize that the audience does not go to a speech or presentation hoping "Gosh, I hope this speech is lousy." or "Please let me hear this speaker mess up his or her speech." The audience is either neutral or supportive of the speaker, not hostile, so speakers should seek and return to friendly faces in the crowd.
  2. Determine what you want the audience to think, feel or do. Whether you wish to inspire, entertain, inform or persuade the audience, you, the speaker, must be sure of which of these you wish the audience to feel through your speech. As a test, the steps you want to put into achieving these feelings must be able to fit within the back of a business card. It shouldn't take too much to define the purpose of your speech.
  3. Write your speech word for word. A good speech is the result of good editing, and you cannot edit what you do not write. Writing out your speech gives you a good idea of what points to include or remove from your speech in order to streamline the points and to meet the time limit. Humans speak at an average of 120 words per minute, and can reach 170 words per minute at higher speeds. So by having a 1500-word speech should give you a rough idea that your speech will run for about 10 minutes, and you can tailor your speech accordingly.
  4. Bring life to your words with colourful images and examples. "A beautiful beach." does not impress the audience the way "A beach with golden sands, clear blue waters, and roiling waves." does. A good speech must be able to incorporate adjectives and adverbs in order to truly bring the lements of a story to life.
  5. The 6 words that can change the way you speak: "Make a Point, Tell a Story". Facts tell, stories sell. Don't write a speech only for the purpose of telling facts. The audience will be drawn in when you make it personal and sincere. Inject speeches with personal experiences and examples, and the audience will respond to you.
  6. 6 emotions that will connect to any audience: Happiness; Sadness; Anger; Surprise; Disgust; Fear. These are the 6 main emotions that every human being will experience everyday of their lives, often more than one at a time. A good speech will allow the audience to imagine these emotions, and thus give the speech a strong emotional touch.
  7. Do not underestimate the power of laughter. When we laugh, we relax. When we relax, we learn. People do not learn well when they are stressed, tense or bored. And what better way to clear those negative emotions than through laughter? But instead of using jokes, tell funny personal stories, as the audience can better connect to you by laughing with you.
  8. Don't tell us, take us. Let the audience live the speech, and that can be achieved through your voice and gestures. When your movement and voice matches your message, your speech then becomes memorable.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Day To Remember!

by Chia Hur

Ladies & Gentlemen, please mark the 11th of September on your calender as there will never be a day like this again. This day shall be the day we remember Toastmaster Teh. The day we remember his contributions and sacrifices to the club. Toastmaster Teh, your deeds shall never be forgotten by us, your image shall forever remain in our hearts, your existence shall be eternal as Mid Valley Toastmasters. You shall be our HERO for life!

Don't worry, Teh is still very much in existence. Just that he's been talking about end of days and stuff(as the general evaluator of the IREKA meeting!). Telling everyone to live life like there's no tomorrow because of the Large Hedron Collider.

Okay now, that's not really the big deal here. The big deal is our toastmaster Teh finally got his hands on a new power. The power of the General Evaluator(I think he's been drooling for this)! The power to comment on EVERYTHING! The power to flip a Toastmasters meeting upside down! The power to turn a Toastmasters meeting into perfection! Let us give a round of applause to Toastmaster Teh the General Evaluator!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

It's Been Too Long

By Chia Hur

I felt bad after not visiting this website for a month, this place is like a Shangri La turned into wasteland! What happen to the updates? Sigh,I guess I'll have to start doing things myself. =P

Well, recently I participated in the Humorous Speech contest. Although I only made it to the Area, I would like to share my speech(script) with you guys who couldn't make it. Here it is!

I have a guy friend, during our college days we were like the most macho men in our campus. We were like the Chinese version of Shahrukh Khan except we can’t dance. One day we decided to hit the cinema together, just the two of us for some unromantic reasons.

One thing great about being macho man is that we have no plans, we don’t do reservation. We rather queue up for the leg exercise. For that day, it was a good exercise because the queue was freakin’ long. The tickets were selling out like hotcakes. By the time it’s our turn, it’s only the leftovers, the only seats left were the “neck-stiffing” seats in front. Looking at our depressed facial expression, the ticket seller offered us something that macho men like us would runaway from. She offered us pair of “lovey-dovey couple seats” behind.

I tried rejecting her politely by doing the traditional headshake, but it seems like it’s too difficult for her to understand. So I decided to get verbal and I told her “Today, it’s not my shoulder’s turn be his pillow.” As a result, we ended up with the “neck-stiffing” seats.

Personally, I have a very bad impression on couple seats. People are seriously abusing them for “kiss & hug” sessions. Now, I have a suggestion for the cinemas on how to solve this problem. All they need to do is to attach a glow in the dark sticker in front of the couple seats that says “if mating season is close, get a room!”

Back to the movie when my neck got stiffer and stiffer by the minute, suddenly I felt a 7.9 magnitude earthquake. Just before I was about to get up from my seat and run for my life, I looked around and I realized I was the only one experiencing it. And then I felt the earthquake again when I turned to my left, I found the source of the earthquake, it was man made. Apparently, that guy on my left side was having a great time shaking his legs off. It was like his legs; just his legs got possessed by some evil spirit. From what I heard, when you get possessed, you will feel an energy flow as if you were being electrocuted.

At that time, I wanted to confront that man, I wanted to ask him “Hey friend, do you need an exorcist?”, but before I could do that my mum’s image appeared in my mind. She was folding her arms like genie and she said “Son, silence is golden and all good things come to those who wait”. Believing in her words, I waited out. At the end of the day, I suspected that he was on Energizer because he did not stop shaking at all!

On that day, after coming out from the cinema with a stiff neck and dizzy head, I’ve finally learnt 2 things:

#1, “Opportunity only knocks once”, I should have let go of my ego and taken the couple seats instead, I could be saving 3 days of neck pain.

#2, I realized if you want something to be done, you have to start opening your mouth because “silence isn’t made of solid gold, it’s only gold plated.”

How was it? Did you guys, enjoyed it? =) This speech actually took me a month to complete, if I didn't lose, it will still be under construction. In the competition this time, I've learnt a few thing. Would like to share it with you guys too.

1) You need courage to speak, but you will need even more courage to pause. Ironic, but kind of true. I've been telling myself I needed to pause at some parts of my speech(punchlines), but I felt uncomfortable when I have eyes looking at me waiting for words to come out of my mouth. I really need more determination in pausing, if I want to stirr laughter into the crowd.

2) More drama! I've been to several contest and I don't think those guys are that funny. I don't think I have that much difference too. The trick to ignite laughter is to understand you audience. Understand what they want. From my point of view, audience wants more drama. They want to see more vivid body laguages, more vocal variety and more emotions! Yeah, need to brush up on my acting. =P

3) If you don't think you are funny, cheat! If you can't beat cheaters, join them! I got a confirmation from a few senior toastmasters telling me that as long as 2/3 of my speech is original, I can cheat my way thru using other people's materials. Doesn't sound heroic, I know. Even I wouldn't do it, but I hope this information would help you guys join the next speech contest. It's fun getting more ornaments to decorate your house!

That's it for today, stay tune for my updates! =P