I am now in all out speech preparation. I have a speech, I have places to give the speech, and I have my eyes and ears 0pen for ways to make the speech better. This is the fun part of the process.
After I won the last contest, I decompressed for a week and then I laid out a schedule to get ready for the next speech.
First two weeks: Brainstorm speech ideas
Second two weeks: Settle on an idea and start putting it together
Third two weeks: Give it, give it, give and learn
Final week: Tweak but don’t over analyze
Day before contest: View the room/audience and make mental notes
Contest day: Enjoy it, because it may be the only time I get to do it
That’s the road map I cooked up in my head after my last victory. What I really didn’t calculate into the process was how difficult it would be to write another really good speech. I knew I would have to create another speech if I won, but I figured I would just be able to tighten up an old one and make it work. I was totally wrong.
There is no how-to book or manual on competing in a toastmasters contest. There are a lot of opinions on blogs and websites from past participants but really no blow by blow account of how someone did it. So I had to take bits and pieces from many different sources. One of the most amazing things I have learned in the process is how gracious TM members are. I have reached out to former world champions, busy professional speakers, and high ranking club officers and almost always gotten some sort of response. These are super busy people that don’t know me from a hole in the wall, but take time out of their day to give me advice, criticism, and hope.
I have said several times that “I don’t know enough to know what I don’t know” in this process. I have seen so many contest speeches and early on in the process I caught myself trying to copy ones that I thought were great. And I could probably have put together a pretty good speech that was “somebody elses”, but its just not me. At the end of the day I want to go into the contest with a speech that I am in love with. That was the key to the first one, I loved it; it took on a life of itself; and rather than giving a speech the speech was a part of me.
The new speech is titled “Move On”. It grew out of another speech which was me trying to make a winner rather than me trying to tell a story. That’s what I am good at. I tell stories with sweeping changes in emotion, volume, and position. I move people, I don’t motivate. My appeal is more to the heart than it is to the brain. And that’s what I am going with. In my mind its a winner and that’s really all that I care about. If the judges like it, great but I am not going to put this together with the only way to measure success is with a victory. I won the first time I delivered it at my club and new that I had found something that reflected me. I won when I see how it lands on peoples hearts and makes them think. The trophy would be great but the story is my reward in this process.
P.S. I really do want to win though 😉