Toastmasters International District 76

Toastmasters International District 76 Japan Communication and Leadership Program since 1924

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Tips from District 76 Speech Contest Champions

International Speech Contest Champion 2010

Ruskyle L. Howser
Tokyo Toastmasters Club
The process of writing a speech that accomplishes your goals is the same whether you are writing for a Toastmasters speech contest, a business presentation or any other situation.  Beneath all of the entertainment and drama of humor, voice and stage presence, you need to clearly communicate something of value to your audience.
TM Howser

Clear speaking comes from clear writing and clear writing comes from clear thinking, so the first and most important thing you need to do is sit down and THINK about what you want your audience to hear, understand and remember.

Think of lessons you have learned in your life, success or failures that have taught you something important, surprising or contrary ideas that you believe or events that have changed your perspective on the world. You don’t necessarily need to tell your audience what to do. That’s one approach, but I think it is often more powerful, if they draw their own conclusions about what your words mean to them.

Once you’ve found a simple, clear message that you think will benefit your audience, connect it to a story or stories that demonstrate that message in concrete, specific ways. Tie that universal message to real experiences that demonstrate the truth of what you are saying. Take your audience along on the journey of what life has taught you.

Those two elements, message and story, are the backbone, the core, of your speech. You must remember that. It’s so easy to wander off course into other somewhat related stories, or interesting side thoughts. So you have to constantly cut and refocus.

Writers call this “killing your babies”, because it seems that your most interesting, funny and beautiful lines are always the ones you have to cut. It’s painful to do, but it’s vital to writing a tightly focused speech. If it’s not driving your message, cut it out.

So you write, cut, refocus and write again, expanding on your core message. Do it again and again, until you have a tight, lean script that leads your audience towards the idea you want them to remember.

Then you practice and practice until your speech becomes so much a part of you that it comes spilling out as naturally and smoothly as if you were telling the story to your best friend; until you don’t even have to think about what comes next. All you have to do, when you walk out on to the stage, is look into their eyes, smile and use your voice, your face and your gestures to tell them the story.

Then you can sit down and start thinking about where you are going to display your trophy.

International Speech Contest Japanese Champion 2010

 Midori Hirota
Kagayaki Toastmasters Club
(Japanese Only)

 今回は1月半ばのクラブコンテストから5月まで、「夕日に託した人生の生き方」というスピーチのメッセージを通 じ、また家族の介護という経験を通じて、このスピーチとトコトン向き合いました。優勝できて本当に嬉しく思っています。
今回の経験で、特に「勝つために必要だっ た要素」について、以下にまとめましたが、なにより肝心なポイントは、上記だと思いますので、特筆いたします。

「何故、健康の衰えた母に夕日の迫力を感じたのか」 推敲の結果たどりついた結論は、自分の信念です。「メッセージを練り上げて信念を語る」ことが、勝つための基本だと思います。
「フィードバックを多角的に入手し、マインドマップ、ビデオのような手段でその価値を高める」 これからはこのようなスキルや機会の確保が、勝ちすすむための重要なポイントとなるでしょう。


(c) 2010-2016 Toastmasters District76

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