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 2014

Drian Von Golden 
Leadership Toastmasters Club
Banzai

'Banzai, kimi o suki de yokatta'. The words sprang from my voice. 1998, Gasoline Ally, Tokyo. The same live house 'The Alfee' found their fame. My guitar was aligned close to a dynamic floor mounted mic and my vocal mic, a Shure SM 57, standard Rock Music vocal mic. I bounced my guitar off the mic with an irritating crash so often because there wasn't any free space. That was me playing my debut concert, in Tokyo, with my group I named 'Little Big Mouth'. 
The Fame of  'The Alfee' didn't follow my debut but the sensation of that night lives forever.

The first time you take to the stage with a fresh audience, you never know how the gig will go. Will it succeed or bomb? That sense of thrilling excitement closely paired to the potential for complete disaster. I never expected to experience that same level of adrenaline again, you can only debut once, right, but I did experience it again in 2013, Nagoya. 
No, it wasn't a gig with 'The Alfee', it was the District 76, International Speech Final. 
I took to the stage after Naoki Tamura. Could I have had a tougher act to follow? You Decide.
30 seconds into my speech, my throat dried out like the Sahara desert, my lips felt like porcelain that was about to shatter into a mil-lion fragments. 
So what went wrong after almost 20 years of stage performing? 
A single cause, 'Confidence', I had lost it. 
I hadn't been able to run a complete rehearsal of my speech that was a sure sign my speech wasn't working. Up to that day I'd isolat-ed my practice into three areas, the intro, the body, the conclusion. 
So I took to the stage and relied on my old friend 'Improvisation' to fill in the missing gaps. Not a great strategy for a contest final. I crashed and burned. 
Yes, not once did I run my speech from beginning to end.
Why not? Glad you thought that question.
I had listened to too many improvement suggestions, too many criticisms and too many new ideas. I had lost ownership of my baby. Sure all the words were still mine minus my heart and soul, my story was now safe and sterile. 
No Risk, No Reaction. 

I took third place in the contest but first place in learning a valuable lesson. 
'Never loose the love of your Speech, never let your speech become someone else's message'.

I needed a new Speech for the new 2014 Season of Speeches. 
I had to adapt a new strategy as my old one had failed, crashed and burned. I binned my 2013 Strategy. 
My topic had to be Universally Understandable. For me this was 'Bullying'.
My Speech needed to have some short, succinct, catch phrases that I could hook my message to. 
My Speech needed to have enough characters so I could enjoy performing my personalities on stage. 
My Speech needed to start with my title and conclude with my title. 
But there was still something missing...my secret ingredient...

Going into the 2014 International Speech Season, I had a new strategy. I would build one Speech, keep tuning my message and commit to my concept 100%. All the way through from club level onwards.
And that one secret, which you must promise not to reveal...
I would listen to everyone's comments, criticisms and suggestions, oh, doesn't sound like a revealing secret does it? Yes I would listen to everyone, but, I would pass those comments through a secret filter. 
I remind you that you have promised under oath not to reveal my secret to any other person, alien or any moderately intelligent cat that might quiz you.
That secret filter? 
The one and only ‘one’ person I would completely believe in, for any judgment, even if that person's judgment seemed strange, con-fusing or contradictory, I would follow that advice and comply. 
That person is my most trusted 'Muse'. 
A Muse is a creative person who inspires us artists, and we are all artists, and challenge our Status Quo, to break out of our safety zone. 
So my best-kept secret, my Muse has been prodding, pushing and placating me. My Muse has been there to keep me on track, keep me believing in my ability even when I doubt myself and have lost confidence. 

If you've never felt that thrill of debuting live in a Theatre Production, or playing live music in Tokyo, or Osaka, and you have done 6 CC manual Speeches. Compete in a Contest, the energy, excitement and growth you'll get from this experience will lift you way be-yond the safe and secure progress you get by only speaking in front of your regular members in your familiar home club. Get out there and join multiple clubs and discover the diversity of the audience. 

My gratitude goes to my one secret that you have all sworn an oath not to reveal. 
Thank you my Muse, you know I wouldn't have broken through District without you.

See you in the International Finals. 

Banzai!

Drian Von Golden

International Japanese Speech Contest Champion 2014

 Yoshiko Kinomoto
Urawa Toastmasters Club

 (Japanese Only)
 

みなさま、こんにちは。このたびのDistrict76春季大会では多大なるご支援、また心温まるコメントをいただきありがとうございました。勝ち進んでいく中でいただいた励ましやアドバイスは気づきや、やる気をいただきました。

私は2年前の夏、当時浦和クラブのメンバーだった松尾未希さんからお誘いいただき、軽い気持ちで例会を見学したのですが、その内容の素晴らしさに衝撃を受けて即日入会を決めました。その後まもなくの2013年秋季大会で、松尾さんが優勝され、「いつかあのステージに立ちたい!」と思い、その後一層トースト熱が高まっていったことを覚えています。
とはいえども、浦和クラブは強者揃いです。CC終了までの10回のスピーチの中でベストスピーカー賞をいただいたことは一度もありません。「すてきなパートナー」は昨年の暮れ「楽しませるスピーチ」という目的で披露し、初めてベストスピーカー賞をいただきました。それに気をよくした私は「よし、今度の大会はこのスピーチでいけるかもしれない!」と思ったのです。
しかし、内容はとても内々のことでメッセージ性はあるのだろうかと悩みました。最後までそこが気にかかるところでしたが、今回いただいたコメントの中にその答えはありました。
例えば、「今、パートナーを捨てようか迷っていましたが思いとどまることにしました。」といった内容のコメントをいくつかいただきました。これらのコメントこそ私が望んだことでした。私の経験は誰にでも起こりうることですが、捉え方を変えるだけで人生は大きく変換するでしょう。
よく言われることですが、「相手を変えるのではなくまずは自分を変えること」そうすることでまた笑顔が見られると信じています。

「ヒーローズジャーニー」にのせて
このスピーチは勝ち進む中で原稿を何度も練り直しています。ノンフィクションですから内容自体は変えることはしていませんが、構成はクラブのみんなで作り上げていきました。
その中で、「ヒーローズジャーニー」という作り方に沿っていることがわかりました。
ヒーローズジャーニーとは…「スター・ウォーズ」「マトリックス」「ハリー・ポッター」に用いられている作り方です。
日常の世界があり→何らかの理由でその日常が得られない状況になる→賢者(指導者)と出会う→後戻りできない冒険に乗り出す→新しい世界のルールを学び、宝を持って日常の世界に戻って幸せを手に入れる。
これを用いれば人々を熱狂させ感動させる鉄板の「シナリオ」になると言われています。
最初からこれを意識して作ったものではなかったのですが、みんなで作り上げていった結果、たどり着いた鉄板の「シナリオ」でした。

こうして、私たち浦和クラブで作り上げたシナリオは最高の形で幕を閉じました。
途中でモチベーションが保てなくなるような時もありましたが、この喜びへと導いてくれた仲間に改めて感謝しています。
そして、さらなる神話を作るため仲間と共に新たな冒険へと船出したいと思っています。


 


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