Do you like taking online quizzes? Pathways thinks we must all love them since they give us so many to take. The Leadership quiz or Communications quiz always shows up in Level 2 of Pathways.
This project is fairly simple: take the quiz, give a speech.
This causes a lot of concern – if everyone in Toastmasters is taking the leadership quiz or the communications quiz, aren’t we going to get a lot of identical speeches?
Let’s take a look at the Leadership quiz and the assigned speech project and see what really happens.
The quiz you’ll take has about 25-30 questions – scroll down to see them all. Like the Assessment, I think you’ll find the results are worth the time.
Leadership is a skill, I think. I don’t think it’s an innate talent. Toastmasters doesn’t seem to believe it either – or why would they teach leadership skills? No, I think the purpose of this test to show your personal leadership style as it is right now.
I’ve asked a few people who work in the training field about this. They say you don’t really change much as a leader over time – it’s based on your personality. Are they right? What do you think?
Kim’s Chili Cook-Off
I recently had the opportunity to run a chili cookoff with a new group of people. I’ve done this 10 times in the past – I know what I’m doing and how to do it. With this new crowd of people, I didn’t handle the process the same way as I had the first time I’d handled this project. Earlier, I didn’t have as clear an idea of what I wanted to do and needed more help, so I was a lot more dependent and open to ideas. This time? I wasn’t willing to talk people through what I wanted to do. I just did it.
Was that leadership? Probably not. I still finished the project and raised the money I wanted.
I learned some important aspects of leadership from this one experience. Leadership doesn’t say to the other participants “Do it my way” without consequences. The other members of the team didn’t learn anything. They just did what they were told. As a leader, I failed them because they didn’t learn – because I didn’t teach them. Another thing I learned was how important it is for the leader to adjust to the needs of the team, not the other way around.
If I went back and took that leadership test again, I wonder if I’d get a different answer…
Then there’s the speech
Deliver a 5- to 7-minute speech at a club meeting to share some aspect of your leadership style or leadership styles in general. You may choose to discuss your style preferences when working with others, your style, and how you can adapt it to situations, or leadership styles in general and how they impact a group.
-Pathways Level 2 Leadership Style Project
This is your 5th project speech in Toastmasters. I call it the Paradox speech.
You’ve been given a topic and the results of your test.
You’ve been told what to talk about:
- an aspect of your leadership style OR
- leadership styles in general.
You may include your style preferences when
- working with others
- how to adapt to working with others
- leadership style impacts.
What are you going to give a speech about? I’ve heard maybe a dozen of these speeches. The paradox? No two speeches were alike.
One speaker talked about leadership – and the Star Wars movies. Another speaker compared her leadership styles to how the government runs (and how she thinks it ought to be done.) Both were based on this project!
How did they go so widely different?
Here’s one of the other weird things you’re going to discover about writing speeches. Constraints are good.
Constraints in Speech Writing
Why? Because constraints force you to be creative. Instead of looking at the constraints as limiting, you’re now required to think in a different way than you normally would.
There’s this “management paradigm” out there called the Theory of Constraints. It’s basically this: you’re only as fast as your slowest system.
So you need to work with whatever is the slowest and either fix it or find a way to make it work at its maximum potential. That’s called “exploiting the constraint.”
In the case of writing a speech, you need to exploit the constraint of what you’re expected to talk about. I’m not saying you need to go around it or fix it – frankly, you’re not doing the project if you do that.
If you stick to reporting statistics – you’ll lose the audience. If you explain what the statistics mean, you might keep their attention. But if you tell your story with emotion, using body language, vocal variety, and staging, you’ll entertain and engage your audience.
You need to look at all the material in front of you – your test results, the topics, the material they encourage you to include – and tell your story. Nobody else is going to do that.
Emotion vs. Logic
This is not the first time nor the last time I’m going to talk about story. It’s undoubtedly the most powerful tool in our speaker toolbox. Use this speech to express your thoughts in ways that make sense to you – what inspires you? What influences you? How does your leadership skill shine – and where do you need to improve?
This speech looks like it can be a bit… dry. The Leadership Quiz isn’t very emotionally inspiring. You may want to research your speech and give a very logical presentation. (Don’t let me stop you, especially if you’re quoting Mr. Spock.) However, logical presentations need to convey material in a way that interests the audience. How can you do that?
I think a creative way to present your material is to compare and contrast it to a topic that the audience understands. Compare Obi Wan’s leadership style with Darth Vader. Or The Avengers: Tony Stark vs. Thor.
Look, if a speaker can take a character from Star Wars and show leadership skills – you can take a leadership story and tell it in any way you want! Superheros – sharks – sentient computers – go for it.
Or tell a story where you were a leader and how you should have applied different leadership skills for a different outcome. Or a historical story, or an Aesop’s fable.
Leadership Quiz Scores – with yourself
So take your Leadership quiz and learn something about yourself. Then share your story with your club.
Next week, we discover what kind of communicator you are.
"Mariachi Snooze" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/