Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Inspirational Speech

The first meeting of Toastmasters was held in 1929.

Toastmasters became incorporated in 1939

They developed a manual, then a curriculum, several more manuals, published a periodical, and then...

The first woman joined Toastmasters in 1973. Her name was Helen Blanchard.

She joined under the name of Homer.

A few years later, the by-laws were amended to permit women to become members of the club.

I joined Toastmasters in 2009. In just 9 months, I have made 10 speeches, and completed the Competant Communicator manual. The last specch is the inspirational speech.

I'm not sure if I can inspire others, but I have discovered what inspires and motivates me. I need a challenge. A deadline. A goal. Toastmasters provides this.

In just 9 months I have learned a few things about crafting a speech.

1. Preparation. Writing a good speech is not good enough. After writing the speech, you need to read it, edit it, say it out loud and edit some more. You must rehearse it at least 3 times before delivering it. And this is for a speech of any length. The Competant Communicator speeches are all 5-7 minutes long.

2. Enthusiasm. The speech must be delivered with enthusiasm!

3. Confidence. Toastmasters really helps here, because the only way to develop confidence in your communication skills is to practice. You must do it.

"You must do the thing you are afraid to do." Eleanor Roosevelt said this. I don't know if she was referring to Toastmasters.

4. Notes. It is recommended to rehearse the speech often enough that you do not need to bring a copy of the speech with you. I write a few words on an index card. These serve as triggers, just in case I do not remember something, which is wont to happen when I am in front of a thousandr people. It has even happened in front of 5 or 6. But that's okay, as I am now unflappable. See #3.

Thank you Helen Blanchard, who has been the inspiration for this inspirational speech!

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