The End of Your Speech

What do you do at the end of your speech?

When judging speech contests, it’s a recognized phenomenon that the first and last speakers are the ones that get the most brain space in the judge’s mind.  It’s the same with our speeches.  People remember the opening and the conclusion.  We hope they will remember our call to action.  This is why it is critical to put effort into the end of your speech.

This is my worst skill.  I struggle over conclusions.  Despite my insistence on this podcast to write your ending first, I still fail to nail the landing more than I succeed.

Today on the podcast, we’ll talk about the end of a speech:  how to build to a great conclusion – as soon as you know what that is.

INTRO

Are you looking for a way to change the world?  To make an impact on the people and situations around you?  Then you need public speaking and leadership skills.  That means you need Toastmasters.  Every week, you can spend an hour learning the techniques and finding your voice and have fun while you do it.  This is Toastmasters 101 and I’m your host, Kim Krajci.

The End of My Speech:  Crash and Burn?

Last week, I gave a speech from the Visionary Communications path from Level 5:  Develop Your Vision.

The irony dripped from this speech.  The purpose of that project is to develop a vision and long-term goals to achieve a specific change in your life or your business or organization.

I have issues with this idea.  Frankly, I think we spend a lot of time spinning our wheels talking about vision statements and mission statements and goal setting – and wear ourselves out, drowning whatever motivation we had in the swamp of building expectations and plans.  Ok, so that’s my take.  I know that I’m not in agreement with the rest of the world, but hey, I do me.

If you have a problem with a speech project, it’s hard to do it.  And this is why this project sat on my to-do list for so long.  It’s been 5 months since I finished all the other projects for this path.

Irony in My Speech

And frankly, although I say I don’t like visions, missions, and goals, essentially, that was what the whole “create a storytelling path” was.  As I said, lots of irony here.

I created a presentation to go along with my speech – I had the perfect graphics, including pictures of the references I used to put this path together.

But when I started the presentation – all of the graphics disappeared.  They were there before and they’re back – but for the 10 minutes of this presentation, they were not to be seen.  Which means I skipped to slide 4 where my text was visible.

That noise you hear?  That’s me banging my head on my desktop.  I didn’t want to take time to reboot or reload, so I went with it.  I had the notes under the black slides, so I did the best I could to remember what the images were supposed to prompt me to talk about.

Then we got to the end of the speech.  Another blank slide.

The End of My Speech Slide Deck is Blank!

I took a deep breath and completely forgot what it was that I wanted to say as a conclusion to this speech.  I’m sure that it was something witty about the irony of giving a speech about how I fail to appreciate the power of developing visions and missions and goals when that was I had just spent the last year doing.

Instead, I said something else about how we need to take the Toastmasters Pathways projects and make them work for us, regardless of the project’s goals.  I’ve got 3 Distinguished Toastmasters awards, including one in Pathways.  No other path interested me, but storytelling does, so creating a path that meets my needs and challenges me is a lot more important than filling the letter of the law.

Then I remember we have a guest:  Marta.  Marta is brand-new to Toastmasters and is preparing her first ice breaker speech and here I am, telling her to ignore it if it doesn’t work for her.

Oops.

I thought I was droning on and I was a bit worried.  But I wrapped it up, finally, and waited for Mo, my evaluator, to nail me on rambling on my conclusion.

Evaluation at the end of the speech?

Instead, I got compliments on it.

My take-aways from this:

  1. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to take away that if I feel like I’m rambling at the end of the speech that I am doing better.
  2. I have learned my lesson that I need to check a third time to be sure my presentation is going to play properly before the meeting starts.
  3. The call to action needs to be specific, personal to the members of the audience (not general) and put some persuasion – logos, pathos, and ethos – into it.

With all this in mind, let’s take a look at your conclusions.

Your call to action must be crafted, not thrown on at the end of your speech.

I have said many times that you need to know where you’re going in a speech to make sure you get there.  That’s why you start at the end, and after you write the rest of the speech, you come back and refine it.

Let’s get specific:  use the persuasive techniques at the end of your speech in that call to action to move your audience into action.  Appeal to their character, whether it’s their competitive spirit or their inner call to excellence.  Lay out the rationale for why this action needs to be done and when.  Capture their hearts with emotional benefits of doing what you ask.

It works.  But you work to do it.  I don’t believe this trio comes naturally to most people.  We have to think about it.

Consice or rambling at the end of your speech?

That’s why I felt like I was rambling.  I didn’t have it as concise as I normally do.  I spelled out my call to action in my appeal to my audience’s self-interest.  I downplayed the structure of the path in exchange for their goals and reason for joining Toastmasters.  I said that this method of using the Pathways program will be the best way for them to grow.  I offered to help.

Ethos.  Logos.  Pathos.  Accidentally, I hit all three.

Often, I put those in the middle of my speech, not at the end.

Put the middle in the middle.

In scriptwriting, it’s called laying the track or laying the pipe.  It’s prepping the audience before the ending that what ultimately happens is reasonable, fair, and appeals to us emotionally.  We want the villain to fail, we want the hero to succeed.

You have to know what that ending is first.  By identifying your call to action, your middle is built to support that.

In my speech, I spent some time talking about the way that I changed up the elective in Level 5 for this path to be more about storytelling.  There were several project choices in Level 5, but none that I felt truly fit in with storytelling.

So I merged “Ethical Leadership” and “Moderate a Panel Discussion” into a story slam.  Story slams are contests between storytellers.  Our club had its January open house turned into a story slam.  Each story told by the speaker was about an ethical question they faced in their lives.

The members loved this meeting.  We had a few guests – we need better marketing – but every time it comes up in conversation, the people who attended say how much they enjoyed it.

I could have ended the speech with that.  “We had fun, let’s do it again sometime.”

Nope.  That belongs in the middle of the speech because it lays the pipe for the final conclusion:  change the path to suit your needs.  Call it foreshadowing.  Call it warming up the audience for the big finale.  Call it whatever you want, but put it in the middle.

Sum It Up?

Should the end of your speech just sum it all up?

The school of thought of “Tell them what you’re going to tell them, Tell them what you’re telling them, and tell them what you told them” means that in your conclusion, you’re telling your audience the same thing three times.

Do you like being told the same thing three times?

I don’t love that.

Then there’s the summation.

How is this not repetition?

It’s not a repeat if, at the end of your speech,  you help your audience draw conclusions that lead into the call to action.

For example:

We’ve examined the need for better dandelion breeding and our commitment to developing this undervalued plant as a food source.  You may never have considered what you do to dandelions and how it has an impact on your lawn.  Now is the time to reconsider your use of pesticides as a way to control these valuable plants – not weeds – to improve your gardens.  The next time you look at a dandelion, remember the good that this singular plant has and instead of ripping it out of the ground, give it a little loving pat and an encouraging word.  Let that yellow flower bloom and grow!

End your speech with actions that result from the information you gave in the middle of your speech.

End of Your Speech Podcast Ending?

I’m at the end of my podcast now.  I guess I should say something really insightful and witty, right?

Don’t signal to your audience that you’re about to wrap up.  They’ll figure it out.  That’s why “in conclusion” isn’t worth the breath to say it.  Just get to your final words – which is why although my podcast show notes almost always say “Wrap it up, Kim” I never say that.

When you end your speech with a challenge, with an emotional kick that motivates people to action, you’ve nailed your conclusion.

That doesn’t happen by accident.  I encourage you to write your conclusion first, then the body, and then the intro, but don’t forget to come back around to make sure you’ve got the right conclusion to your speech.  You may need to edit and make changes to bring it home with strength and verve.  It’s worth the effort and time to make your speech as powerful as you need it to be.

 

Wrap it up, Kim

Toastmasters 101 is a podcast production of Toastmasters District 10

Our music is from incompetech.filmmusic.io

When you write your speech, how do you do it?  I’d love to know if you agree with me or if you start at the beginning?  Let me know by going to the Toastmasters 101 podcast Facebook page and answering my poll.  The link is in the show notes, or you can search Facebook for Toastmasters 101 PODCAST.  There’s a Toastmasters District 101 and they have a podcast, too!

We’ll talk again next time on Toastmasters 101.

 

 

 

How Toastmasters Clubs Work

Have you ever walked into a situation where “pandemonium” and “disorganization” and “Who’s running this mess?” crosses your mind?  (I hope it wasn’t a Toastmasters meeting.)  You know there’s a leadership problem when you find yourself in this place.  People aren’t doing the work, or it’s unclear what they’re supposed to do.  Fortunately, in Toastmasters, we have some leadership roles that should prevent that chaos.  Today on Toastmasters 101 podcast, we’re talking about how Toastmasters clubs work.

INTRO

How do you develop your leadership skills?  Are you looking for simple steps that stretch you slowly but teach you in a safe place to find the leader inside you?  Then you need Toastmasters.  We will give you the training and  opportunities to become a leader.  This is Toastmasters 101 and I’m your host, Kim Krajci.

Toastmasters: Where Leaders Are Made

Leadership doesn’t come naturally for everyone.  We all know those charismatic people who draw followers.  It’s not just Instagram influencers.  I’ve met a few young people in my life that became leaders in the schools or social groups without any specific training. Continue reading “How Toastmasters Clubs Work”

Toastmasters Debate

Why You Should Look at Toastmasters Debate Clubs

We’ve all been there.  That discussion that you want to have, that we need to have.  Whether it’s politics, society norms, or the intrinsic value of moosetracks ice cream – you want to discuss it.  You want to explore it with friends, family, or the person in front of you at the ice cream stand.  You want a debate – an honest-to-goodness discussion with facts, explanations of why these facts are important and the impact of the topic on the world – ok, your ice cream choice.  You want a debate.

Debate often has a bad smell to it.  In the US, we have these abominations called “presidential debates” which are nothing more than people slinging sound bites at each other for the media.  Then we have the current “social media” debate, which appears to focus on insults and accusations.

Whatever happened to civil discussions?  Have we lost the ability to have them?

Today on Toastmasters 101, we’re going to talk about an increasing need for the ability to communicate with discussions where people don’t agree, and a terrific rise in the Toastmasters grassroots community to discover the power of debate. Continue reading “Toastmasters Debate”

Great Toastmasters Speech Evaluations: How to Get and Keep Them

Great Toastmasters Speech Evaluations don’t happen by accident.

How do you get them and how do you keep them?

Toastmasters speech evaluations are the key tool to improving your public speaking.

I just came across a speech evaluation that I have a picture of on my phone.

I don’t know why I had it.  It didn’t have the evaluator’s name or the speech title on it.  No date, no project, no recognizable phone number.  Someone had sent a picture of it to me.

So… essentially, I had an evaluation that did nothing for me.

Are you struggling with the online evaluations process?  Let’s put some thought into how we are handling our speech evalutions online – from the speaker side and from the evaluator side.

Intro

Do you want to improve your public speaking? Are you effective in spreading your message to impact the world?  Toastmasters provides you with a fun and safe meeting to give you the opportunity to stretch and develop your public speaking skills online and on site.  This is Toastmasters 101 and I’m your host, Kim Krajci.

Why we need Toastmasters speech evaluations

I’m attending an online conference this week about podcasting.  This is my fifth year attending.  Sadly, we’re not in person this time. Even more sadly, I’m watching these presentations online and I’ve seen a significant number of speakers who need Toastmasters.  I want to give them Toastmasters speech evaluations. Continue reading “Great Toastmasters Speech Evaluations: How to Get and Keep Them”

Toastmasters Level 4 Project: Create a Podcast

Does the Level 4 Create a Podcast intimidate you?

Did you ever get a two-fer?

Like being in college and writing the same paper for 2 classes. Or discovering that you have a vacation day and being given an extension because the office is closed.

I hear people say they don’t have any ideas about speech topics. They can’t think of anything to talk about.

I think it’s simple: if you’re doing something in your life, you can talk about that. I’ve listened to dozens of professional speeches in Toastmasters and I never mind it. I enjoy learning about other people’s jobs. Surveying streets for new sewer lines? I’ve heard it. How to do renovations – which might have been better called “how not to do renovations” – I loved it. How to open your own business, how to close your business, how to… how to anything fascinates me.

Level 4 Create a Podcast

Which brings me to today’s podcast:

This is a two-fer.

I was asked to give a presentation at one of District 10’s officer training sessions and apparently, the Level 4 Create a Podcast Project is on people’s minds.
As I was writing that presentation, it occurred to me: this is a two-fer. I haven’t talked about podcasting on the podcast, but as a podcaster, I have experience that I can share.

So I can do both with one presentation. I WIN!

Today on Toastmasters 101, we talk about the Level 4 Create a Podcast, and a few thoughts I have.

INTRO

Are you interested in spreading your message to the world? Do you need to develop the skills to do it well and make an impact? Then Toastmasters is for you. In an hour a week, you can learn public speaking and leadership skills together, and have fun while you do it. This is Toastmasters 101, and I’m your host, Kim Krajci.

Podcasting Equipment Fried

You might have noticed that I’ve missed several episodes of the podcast. That’s because on Christmas Day, my power went out 4 times in about 5 minutes, and it fried some equipment that I use in podcasting.

School of Podcasting Recommendations

A friend of mine, Dave Jackson of the School of Podcasting – schoolofpodcasting.com – loaned me some equipment to tide me over when my pusher – I mean the company I buy my equipment from – said the supplier was predicting a ship date to Sweetwater.com was moving further and further out.
So let me start this by saying a huge thank you to THE Dave Jackson, who has been my mentor in podcasting since I started and I recommend his podcast to you.

Why am I starting the podcast with a thank you?

Because Dave helps people understand that podcasting isn’t just about monetiziation. For most of us, podcasting is a hobby.

How to Start Your Level 4 Create a Podcast Project

That’s why I don’t start with what equipment do you need, what software do you need, what platform should you be on. That’s Step 2, or maybe even Step 7.

You must start with your topic, who you want to get your message to – who’s your audience – and how much you are willing to commit to the project.

I just went through the Level 4 Create a Podcast training on Pathways. It took me about 15 minutes.
Granted, I do know this field, so it didn’t take me long to process the lessons. But there’s a lot NOT said in that training and I want you to be prepared for that.

What you need to know

Continue reading “Toastmasters Level 4 Project: Create a Podcast”

The Most Important Speech You Have to Give

Giving a speech is an art.  That’s my firm belief.  It’s art like singing or dancing – it’s the creation of a moment that has an impact on those who present and those who partake.  When we’re faced with the most important speech we have to give – we need to have that same grace that only comes from lots of preparation and acute understanding of how to build on the basics.

Today on Toastmasters, we’re going to talk about the most important speech you have to give – and what I think it is in the Toastmasters Pathways education program.

INTRO

Do you need to give an important speech?  Whether it’s a keynote, a commemoration, or a quick bridal toast, Toastmasters can help you.  In an hour a week, we can teach you the skills you need to create a memorable presentation to achieve your goals.  This is Toastmasters 101 and I’m your host, Kim Krajci Continue reading “The Most Important Speech You Have to Give”

Thanks Giving in Toastmasters “Thank You, Toastmasters”

Should you say “thank you, Toastmasters” at the end of your speech?

We are celebrating Thanksgiving here in the United States this week.  It’s a time to think about the things we’re grateful for and express our gratitude to those who have blessed us.

I am extremely grateful to many Toastmasters I have met over the years.  My life has been blessed by men and women who have demonstrated public speaking skills and leadership skills.  And frankly, they’ve made my life a lot more fun.  Where else would I have learned about self-priming jiggle pumps?

I should thank my club for teaching me about painting with diamonds or why your arteries are like pumpkin roll pastries – neither of which I knew before tonight.

Yes, an audience should thank the speaker.  But what about the speaker thanking the audience?

It’s a Toastmasters controversy.

INTRO

Do you want to learn to be a great public speaker?  Do you develop your leadership skills?  Then Toastmasters is for you.  We will give you the opportunities to learn and grow in an hour a week!  This is Toastmasters 101 and I’m your host, Kim Krajci. Continue reading “Thanks Giving in Toastmasters “Thank You, Toastmasters””

Reflecting on Your Path: Toastmasters Finale

Let’s take a look at the Toastmasters Path final project:  Reflect on Your Path.

Reflect on Your Toastmasters Path

Have you ever cleaned out a garage or storage shed and had the great sense of completion that one gigantic task is done?

It’s so satisfying when you close the door and you know that it’s done… for now but right now… Ahhhhh.

This summer, my husband and I have been cleaning out not our own garage, but my parents’ garage.  My parents have lived in this home since… since… Ok, 50 years.  Over the years, they have accumulated objects that well, have some sentimental value, some tools that have lost their value, and a whole lot of dead leaves and spider webs in the corners.

Bit by bit, we’ve tackled this task, and this week, we addressed the back wall – the place where half-full bottles of bug spray and undrinkable soda pop go to die.  The wall of unloved tools and broken ladders and that shelf that we’re all afraid to look behind… Ok, maybe I’m getting a bit over-descriptive here.  But you know what I’m talking about.  That final hurdle of the big task that justifies sitting down with your feet up and something comforting to drink in your hands.

We brought home a trunk full of recyclables, a backseat full of donations, and a significant number of things that just don’t have any value to anyone anymore.  What was left behind?  My childhood sled and a spool of string.

What’s this got to do with Toastmasters?

When you’re done… are you done?  What do you do with what you’ve got when you’re done with a Toastmasters Path? Continue reading “Reflecting on Your Path: Toastmasters Finale”

Toastmasters Speech Contest: Are You In?

Sometime in the next few months, your Toastmasters club is going to hold a contest.  For new members, a Toastmasters speech contest sounds maybe a bit… childish?  unnecessarily competitive?  waste of time?

I suspect that you’ve never seen a Toastmasters speech contest.

On today’s podcast, let’s take a look at one of the biggest events in Toastmasters around the world, and the benefits to you and your club when you hold a contest.

INTRO

Do you need to be able to speak to groups of people?  Do you have ideas that can help create a better world, if only you could get them out?  Then Toastmasters is for you.  In an hour a week, we can teach you public speaking and leadership skills and have fun while we do it.  This is Toastmasters 101 and I’m your host, Kim Krajci.

Toastmasters Speech Contests

I joined Toastmasters because I was a high school speech and debate judge.  My experience with public speaking was already competitive, so a speech contest in Toastmasters didn’t surprise me.

Whether or not you’re competitive in nature, it’s pretty natural for people to compete against each other.  My kids used to compete over whose side of the car had the better Christmas decorations on the houses that we passed as we drove around town.  Yes, that makes no sense.  Don’t try to figure it out.

Competition is built into us.  There are certainly those who think we ought to outgrow it when we become adults.  We need to be cooperative, not competitive. Continue reading “Toastmasters Speech Contest: Are You In?”

A Professional Presentation at Toastmasters?

I’ve mentioned my friend Terry in previous episodes.  Terry owns a painting company here in Ohio.  Because of his successful business, he was asked to give a 45-minute break-out professional presentation session at an international conference about how he built his business.

If you were in his shoes, what would you have done?

Many people join Toastmasters because their jobs require public speaking and presentation skills.  But most of those professional presentations aren’t limited to 5 to 7 minutes.  How can you use Toastmasters to help you build a longer professional presentation and how can Toastmasters help you practice?

Today on the podcast, let’s chat about your professional presentation.

INTRO

Do you need to develop your professional presentation skills?  Whether it’s a short impromptu answer to a question at a business meeting or a major project presentation, Toastmasters can help you craft the professional presentation you want to give.  This is Toastmasters 101 and I’m your host, Kim Krajci.

“My boss told me to join Toastmasters”

We hear this a lot.  I’d bet that at least half of the people who walk through our doors join Toastmasters for professional reasons.  Either they’re going to be speaking as a representative of their company, or speaking to other employees, a lot of people walk into a Toastmasters meeting for their job. Continue reading “A Professional Presentation at Toastmasters?”