Archive for the ‘Public Speaking’ Category

Hell in High Heels

Thursday, November 12th, 2015 | Public Speaking, Video

This is my speech from the recent Toastmasters 2015 humorous speech contest. I recorded it both at club level and area level, both of which I ended up winning.

If you want to watch one, I recommend the bottom one as the Area one is probably a little more polished. For the Toastmasters geek among you, I will go into detail about both.

Above is the club contest. My first contest in two years having taken a year out to be Area Governor. I was a bit nervous beforehand but felt fine once I got up there.

I did not mean to actually cause so a racquet when I kicked the shoes off, but I when it got such big laughs I would I would roll with it. Then on to the area contest…

Here I had taken out a lot of the history of the heel. This was originally the point of the speech, but it was a bit try for a humorous contest, so I replace it with some material about the number of pairs of shoes we often end up with.

I also kept the accidental ending in (though this time on purpose). At Division level I toned this down as I almost hit an audience member at Area! So I carefully removed the shoes and then pretended to slam them to the ground.

I did not record Divsion, but it was essentially the same as Area. a made a few subtle changes. For example I took out “as all women know, the first step is to buy loads of shoes” because I felt this was a bit sexist. I replaced it with “I studied my wife carefully and worked out the first step was to buy loads of shoes” as this makes the same identifiable joke without offending anyone (except perhaps Elina, who I cleared it with in advance!).

You might notice I am wearing the same outfit in both videos. That is not a coincidence. One of the feedback points I got from my advanced club was that I needed to show off my legs – so a well-fitted t-shirt and skinny jeans it was! They’re horrible, I don’t know how the young people put up with them.

Speaking of advanced clubs, taking the speech to Asselby Speakers was the best preparation I did. None of this being nice nonsense you get at regular clubs, they just gave me proper feedback. I came away with a one and half sides of A4 and it turned an okay speech into a multi-contest winning speech.

Toastmasters Area 15 2015 humorous speech contest

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015 | Public Speaking

area-15-trophy

It’s good to have the trophy back on my shelf. Having won the club contest last month I was feeling more confident and managed to put in a sold performance at Area, enough to get me through to Division anyway.

The standard of the competition was very high. I had forgotten how tough Area 15 can be, having so many talented speakers in it. It is a shame that we can only send one contestant through to Division.

LCT humorous speech contest 2015

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015 | Life, Public Speaking

Earlier this month I competed in the Leeds City Toastmasters 2015 humorous speech contest. Even though it was only club level I was quite nervous. Perhaps because it was at club level, which is not a level I want to go out at. Mostly though because I has not competed in a speech contest in 18 months due to my year as Area Governor.

lct-2015-speech-contest

Lukcily I managed to take victory with my speech “Hell in High Heels”. I will be posting the video after the whole contest is over.

Stadi Talkers

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015 | Public Speaking, Travel

Having finally arrived in Helsinki after an exhaustive day of travelling there was really only one thing to do – find a local Toastmasters meeting. Actually, I had already found the club online. There are half a dozen in Finland but only one was meeting while we were there. Stadi Talkers is a President’s Distinguished Club, the highest honour a club can earn.

Meetings are conducted in English. Although some clubs speak in their own language, Toastmasters is generally like the British Empire – they go into other people’s country and insist their speak English. You have to learn Swedish as a second language in Finland. That means that the people at the meeting who were speaking more eloquently than I was were mostly doing it in their 3rd language.

People were friendly and welcoming. It was a mixture of Finns and immigrants, and the standard of English was high. A lot of cool people there too. I got chatting to a guy who used to work at Rovio, the maker of Angry Birds. They have something like 900 people working their now, which I assumed meant they were branching out into more games. However, it turned out that was 900 people all working on Angry Birds!

The meeting format only had minor differences to ours. They had Table Topics in the first half and a seperate person from the Grammarian introduced the word of the day. Every time someone slipped it in they pounded on the table. They even had an educational on Easy Speak – it would have brought a tear to Euan’s eye. Guests were only introduced at the end of the meeting, after they had had time to settle down and get comfortable.

I spoke twice. I did the toast of the meeting, which we do not have in Leeds but makes perfect sense when you are in a pub. I also did a Table Topic and came away with the ribbon. Not a bad start to the trip!

stadi-talkers

Asselby Advanced Speakers

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015 | Public Speaking

Asselby-Speakers

In June I was able to attend my second meeting of the newly formed Asselby Advanced Speakers. We even had time for a group photo. Thanks to Gillian and Michael for hosting every month – I got through a lot of their biscuits!

Breaking Bread

Sunday, June 28th, 2015 | Public Speaking, Video

This is my speech for project 4 of the Toastmasters Storytelling manual.

Robin Hood Conference

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015 | Public Speaking, Travel

The Spring 2015 Toastmasters District 71 (UK & Ireland) conference took place in Nottingham.

Nottingham is quite a happening city. There was plenty of people out in the evenings and a good range of restaurants. We also did a walking tour lead by Robin Hood. He told us that the city was originally called “Snotingaham” which it turns out is true.

Workshops

The workshops were a mixed back. You get a lot of professional speakers and motivational coaches running workshops, and they send to speak a lot of shit. Erick Rainey for example started his speech with a slow motion run down the aisle. I thought to myself “brilliant, this is going to be a sarcastic post-modern take on how stupid a lot of the motivational crap is”. But then he did it all seriously. He’s a great communicator, and has loads of good stuff to say, but then he mixes it with nonsense like NLP.

Rav Chambers presented a good workshop on video. It did not teach me anything I did not know already, but it was valuable to have a reminder of all the things I know I should be doing when shooting film.

Vinay Parmar’s workshop on personal branding was interesting. However, for someone who focuses on how you present yourself, he really needs to spell-check his slides as there were several errors in them.

International Speech Contest

The district final of the International Speech Contest took place on the Saturday afternoon. It wasn’t the best venue for it as it was in a lecture theatre. The speeches were good, but I am looking forward to getting back to competing. Two years ago, in Torquay, I felt out-classed (to be clear, I wasn’t competing). Here, I sat there thinking there are a bunch of us in Area 15 that could compete at this level.

Opening ceremony

The Friday evening is a buffet and fancy dress party. Of course the theme was Robin Hood!

fancy-dress-robin-hood-1 maid-marian-elina

Gala dinner

The Saturday night was the Gala dinner. We had the Sheriff of Nottingham as a guest and for one of the raffle prizes she let someone wear her robes and hat! Best of all, Gillian took the prize.

sheriff-gillian

Let’s Learn Finnish

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015 | Public Speaking, Video

For my third Toastmasters speech for the Speaking to Inform manual (The Demonstration Speech) I did an introduction to Finnish.

The video quality sucks as I did not get time to manually set the exposure. Audio is fine though and I’ve also included the slides below.

The Man Who Followed His Dreams

Monday, March 23rd, 2015 | Public Speaking, Video

Someone to watch while you’re sat on your own, in a lonely apartment, because you abandoned your friends for a bit more cash at work… ;).

Area 15 Autumn 2014 contest

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 | Public Speaking

Last Sunday I chaired the Area 15 Autumn 2014 contest. It was a tough one. I was in the Scottish Highlands the week before so I was trying to organise it from an area of the country almost devoid of phone signal.

There were only twelve people there on the day. However, thanks to the professionalism and enthusiasm of the members we were able to cover everything and run the contest. Even Elina was drafted in to count the ballots!

The Regent Hotel in Doncaster were an excellent host as always. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who attended the contest and helped out, and well done to everyone who competed! Good luck to Andrew and Anthony who will be representing us at Division level.

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