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

English Table Topics(TM) Contest Champion 2016
Japanese Table Topics(TM) Contest Champion 2016

Tomohide Oshima
Bashamichi Toastmasters Club
So Lucky to Win Both Contests!

I am more than happy to have both titles. As long as I challenge a contest, I don’t say I don’t care whether I win a contest or not. I think I deserved it all since I had given all I had to win both contests.

This time I gave a table topic speech serious thought by asking, “What is a table topic speech?” in the preparation for the contests.

My finding were two holds; 1) it is 2 minutes public speech presentation before audience, 2) a speaker does speech presentation with his own knowledge and do it as he/she fit. After clarifying the meaning of table topic speech, I finally came to find how to prepare for contests. I noticed the question does not matter because I can only talk about all I know. So I think the most important thing is to keep my mental condition relax to able to access to what I know on the stage. So I have read books about psychology and have studied mental training and relaxation theory in preparation.

I was so surprised to have a question when I was on the stage in Japanese contest. Because I didn’t think I was asked about space things. That year Astronaut Dr. Koichi Wakata was known as recipient of Communication & Leadership award 2017. So I assumed that any question about space was unlikely to be on the list, but it did. So I started to talk on the stage with surprise. I was wondering how to develop the speech even when I said couple of sentences there. When I was speaking, “When we go to the station…” I took slight pause to think. At the next moment, I said, “Nothing! Nothing there!” Then I said something I could not return and developed it along the idea. And I went on and talked about “Wabi Sami” taste theme park that makes people think of the meaning of life. The reason why I mentioned about life and its meaning was simply because I liked to read books about philosophy and got some inspiration from it. On the stage, I had a feeling about some scene of the movie “Space Odyssey 2001”. I was really enjoying talking about the space story as if I were warped to the space station!

In the English contest, I had hard time to understand the question. I noticed the question was not difficult but rather easy to answer when I got back to a seat in an auditorium after I finished my performance. Probably I was bit tensed on the stage. Without clear understanding, I started to talk on the stage. Some said the beginning of my speech was too long but I needed to talk long time to clarify the question to develop. By deciding a direction I went then, I said, “ I want to do something to support my wife!” And I was mentioning about her as a candidate for Karate in Tokyo Olympic in 2020. The idea “Karate” naturally leaded to “sandbag” , but before spelling it out, I thought very quickly whether I went too far, because it sounded like a tale tall.

Through these contests, I strongly realized even table topic speech had two-way communication. Language, Japanese or English, does not matter. What matters was give and take with audience. I always found and said words after “hearing” from audience’s reaction. The reaction was audience’s facial expressions, laughter, and the atmosphere. By sensing those “words” from audience, I could say “Wabi Sabi taste” and developed to “MU-nothing”, and I joked “I become a sand bag” but “I was afraid to be injured”. Therefore, the two speeches I did in both contests were collaborative work with audience and me. I don’t think I could do it alone and it was first experience for me to feel that it was dynamism of table topic speech. I think I had marvelous experience on the stage.

I have been doing Toastmaster activity for over 25 years. I still would positively like to challenge whatever comes, attending more contests, facilitating workshops, and doing any roles in regular meetings. It was my honor to win trophies in same timing in both languages! Thank you very much!








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