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 2011

Naoki Tamura
Tokai Toastmasters Club
It can be attributed to lots of factors but I would like to pick one point each in three categories of speech basics: Preparation, Practice and Execution.

"WHY" is more important than "WHAT." When you make a speech, which one do you think is more important: what or why? People often say, "What's the conclusion? What are you trying to get across? You have to make sure that you have to have one strong message you want to convey to the audience through the speech."

Well, that's true and I don't disagree on that point; however, in my view, the message itself is not as important as the reason you give to support the message. When you give a speech you are not reporting business performance to your boss, but you are entertaining your audience.
A main message itself may often be too universal and familiar such as "stick to your dream," or "have the courage to do what is right." A message alone does not live long in people's mind but a message with strong reasons does.
My speech, "Rival," was based on my real experience with a little extra flavor added. The WHY part representing my feelings is way more important than the WHAT part representing an obvious articulated message.
I believe that a speech contest is like a competition of "art of reasons."

A speech contest is a team competition just like baseball or soccer is. Just 16 hours before the contest began, 21 members of Tokai TMC were "clubbing" me, literally. On May 14th, a day before the contest, the 21 members enthusiastically and relentlessly gave me tons of positive and negative feedbacks just after my practice speech for the contest.
I might have told them before delivering a practice speech to feel free to say whatever comes to mind and negative comments are more than welcome.
And they bombarded me with various comments as if the contest was in the next month instead of the next day! They verbally clubbed me as if I were a bounce back punching bag!
All of the members in the club took it seriously and tried to do whatever it takes to make it happen, to increase my chance of winning as much as possible until the last minute.
All of the members in the club were willing to get involved and share the aspiration.
The next day as I was delivering the speech on the district contest stage, I was with 13 Tokai TMC members rooting for me in the audience seat as well as the 21 sheets of feedback bound into one piece in my pocket. It all helped me gain confidence. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the value of the team.
A speech contest is not an individual match, it's a team competition. A club that best implements the principle wins.
In the awards ceremony, when my name was called as the 1st place winner, the song "We Are The Champion" played in my head.

Never expect that you can carry out the same as you did in practice. I would call it "The Theory of 75%," meaning that you can only show 75% of your ability in the contest Stage.  What this theory suggests is that you may want to allow for some mistakes, try not to do better than you could in practice, and take it easy because it's not the end of the world.  With this theory in mind, I did not feel any pressure, knowing that I could blow up as much as 25% of the speech and that's the way nature does it.
This way of thinking really helped me take a huge burden off of my shoulders and I was able to enjoy the contest stage very much! It was like a 7-minute zero gravity experience. It felt so good, so good that I was feeling like I was flying on the stage.  I got "stage flight" instead of stage fright!
I believe these three ideas, among other things, helped me get a good result in the contest.
Interestingly enough, I used to have totally different viewpoints on the three points 5 years ago when I became a Toastmaster;
<Preparation> It's the strong message that really matters.
<Practice> I know myself better than anybody else.
<Execution> Give it all you've got on the stage.

It's hard to tell what is right. There is no clear answer. What works for me today may not work tomorrow. But the three ideas that I introduced above worked very well for me at least in this spring.
Each Toastmaster has her or his own styles and theory that work best at any given time, and we have to be aware of the fact that they may never be the same tomorrow.
Lastly, I would like to thank all of you for the amazing experience you gave me. I am extremely privileged to move on to the next stage, Las Vegas.
We'll keep on fighting till the end!

International Speech Contest Japanese Champion 2011

Kazuo Yamaguchi
Momiji Toastmasters Club
(Japanese Only) 



「今を生きる」具体的な例として、① 野生の動物達が生きていくために目の前の事に一心不乱で働く姿 ② 指揮者が一音一音大切に指揮をしている様子 ③ 出口日出麿氏の詩の一節 ④ 私達の日々の生活の様々なシーンをあげ、聴衆の方々の共感を求めました。

① スピーチの練習は以前 シューベルトの歌曲を歌った時の練習方法で取り組みました。 例えば ドイツ歌曲を1曲、ステージでピアノ伴奏で1人で歌うには曲を完全に覚えて(ドイツ語歌詞、発声、旋律、表情記号、速度、強弱、声の音色、ピアノ伴奏部分等)から最低300回以上を練習が必要です。 
②  日本語の発音、アクセントは 広島弁ばかりではいけないと思い、NHKが出版している日本語発音アクセント辞典を使用して、スピーチ全ての日本語(単語)を洗い出し、1つ1つ発声法を確認して練習をしました。日本語にはこんなに複雑な発声・発音・アクセントの基準等があることを初めて知りました。
③  ジェスチャーなどの手の動きは・・・日頃指揮をしている時の手の動きで、勝手に動いてしまうのです。ステージでの動き、マナーなどは、友人から舞台の演出家の方を紹介していただき、指導を受けました。やはり専門家のアドヴァイスは、驚くほど学ぶものがあります。(私はそれ以来、テレビや映画を見ると、今まで気付かなかった俳優さん達の演技の素晴らしさが少しわかるようになりました。)
④  とても大切なこと、それはイメージトレーニングです。コンサートで指揮をする前、  必ず指揮をしている姿をイメージするのです。そうすると、本番のステージでは最高の演奏が出来るのです。人間の持っている神秘な能力です。スピーチの本番の日から前の1週間、毎晩寝る前の1分間が勝負です。その効果は絶大です。ぜひ、学んで実行されるようお勧めします。その不思議な力に驚きます。


① クラブの皆さんのサポートにより、より皆様と親しくなりました。
② 日本語の話し方がレベルアップしたため毎日の生活、また仕事において会議での発表も自信を持って臨めます。
③ 毎日、何に対しても更に前向きになりました。
④ 当日の会場の皆様から頂いた、私のスピーチへのコメントはまさに宝物です。 

原稿は、もみじトーストマスターズや広島トーストマスターズの皆さんから素晴らしいアドヴァイスをいただき、大きく12回書き換え、そのたびに、充実していきました。また、私のスピーチのDVDを取っていただいたり、広島の神社のお守りをいただいたり、夜遅くまでスピーチの原稿を見ていただいたり等・・・。皆様に感謝です。 自分が全く気付かない所まで丁寧に指導していただきまし事。 心からお礼申し上げます。ありがとうございました。  


(c) 2010-2016 Toastmasters District76

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