The district finals will be held on April 25. At this event there will be competitors from all over the state of Georgia trying to win a birth in the semifinals that will be held in June. The one thing that I have read over and over in regards to progressing through this tournament is practice, practice, practice!
Give the speech to your family
Give the speech to your pets
Give the speech to the mirror
Give the speech in your car
Give the speech to anyone, anywhere that will listen to your speech.
In Athens we have four toastmasters clubs. One of the things I hoped to be able to do was present my contest speech to each one of the clubs in order to get some actual toastmaster style evaluations. I approached each club with the request and they all accepted me with open arms. To this point I have spoken at two of the clubs.
April 7 at the Toastmasters of Hope
This was the first presentation of my newly editied speech. Since the division contest I had worked on my ending and some of the choreography that I was going to use. I was actually quite nervous to be presenting to the speech to a club other than my own. There is a certain level of comfort to speaking at “home”. I know what is funny and what works in my club and it was so valuable to have another perspective on my process.
I would have given myself a “C” for this performance. It only goes to show that this contest, and speaking in general, relies on repitition and practice. It did feel good to get back in front of an audience though. I got some excellent feedback on eye contact. I purposefully tested giving a portion of the speech not looking at the crowd. My evaluator felt it was distracting and several mentioned that they would like for me to stay facing forward. They liked the content and got my humor so all-in-all it was a success.
April 8 at the Terry Toastmasters Club
This is a new club in Athens that was started in the Terry School of Business at the University of Georgia. It has been a while since I have been in a lecture hall and it really brought back some memories. As with any new endeavor they don’t have a large membership but they were so warm and welcoming. For this meeting they simply had me do my speech prior to their scheduled speakers. I did not receive any direct evaluation but I got feedback from several of their members. The thing I loved the most about this presentation is that the enthusiasm these students had. The speakers that day were very good. They had so much more presence than I had at their age. They were great story tellers and I really enjoyed just watching them. I really want to go back and visit them this fall and watch their progress. I did go over in time by :02, which would have lost the competition for me. I was a little more liberal with my words and my time got away from me. It was a great learning experience.
I have one more schedule appearance with a foreign club before I deliver it to my crew next week. It is slowly coming together and I will definitely be ready when the contest gets here.