When is a speech project in Toastmasters not a speech project?
When the speech projects asks more of you.
Three speech projects in Level 3 aren’t simple, and will take more time for you to complete. It’s one of the frustrating things about the limited access to the speech project descriptions – you can’t know that Focus on the Positive requires two weeks of preparation before you give the speech until you open the training.
Two of these projects are assigned as required projects in some Pathways. We talked about Active Listening and Connect with Your Audience projects in our podcast number 16 that’s Toastmasters101.net slash 16. You’ll hear more about these projects there, but we’ll recap them here too.
Active Listening Speech Project
The Active Listening Project isn’t a speech project at all, but it will teach us important skills.
Communication theory teaches us there are three parts to communcation:
- the speaker
- the message
- and the audience.
We don’t forget about the audience. That’s why we’re here – to be able to reach them. It’s not just about me and my message! That’s why Active Listening is a key skill – and it will affect your style.
Your task is to be Table Topics Leader – and to comment appropriately after every Table Topics speaker.
This is designed to make you pay attention to the speaker and to the audience as you comment and transition to the next speaker. Part of me thinks that they’re making this harder than it needs to be, but maybe I’m wrong. I like the idea behind this – is it effective?
Putting this all together, this project expects you to
- Prepare table topics prompts
- Give a one minute or less explanation of Table Topics for guests and lay out the general topic for consideration.
- Listen to the speakers.
- Comment on their presentation
- Transition to the next speaker.
Then, when you’re done, make sure you update your role records in Pathways. The instructions are found in our podcast Toastmasters101.net slash 10.
There’s a lot of work in there.
But listening to your speaker and your audience is apart of building your speech skills that everyone needs if they’re going to be a meeting leader. You’ll do it with your sense of style.
Focus on the Positive Speech Project
You’ll need to focus on the positive if you open this project and expect to give the required speech quickly – because this project doesn’t get done quickly. In fact, it takes 2 weeks of work before you can get on the stage to give it.
Because you’re asked to track your emotions – positive and negative – for two weeks before you write your speech.
I’ve heard from a few Toastmasters say that they felt shocked. This isn’t your average speech project.
So let’s focus on the positive here: understanding the ability you have as a speaker to convey a message in a positive way isn’t an option. If you’re in business and have to give a technical brief with some bad news at the end, or handling PR for a crisis, being able to focus on the positive isn’t optional.
However, this speech project focuses a lot more on your feelings rather than the audience’s feelings or reactions. Perhaps the project designers decided that if you know more about your own feelings, you’ll have a better understanding of how to present material to others. Which leads us to
Connect with Your Audience Speech Project
We did cover this in a previous episode, but this speech project gives you an opportunity to really have some fun. I recommended that you go this project outside your club because it’s too easy to adjust to an audience you know. This speech requires a lot of vocal variety and descriptive language as well as attention to the audience’s responses. When you know that in your club, Amanda will react one way when Todd reacts another to a specific message, you have to step up your game to be able to elicit different responses to your message.
If you know your club well, then seriously – go wild. Go outside your box. Present a speech on the other side that you’ll never agree to. In debate, the winners are always the debaters who understand the strengths of the other side of the argument – so in this speech project, go research the other side of a position you hold very strongly. You’ll stun the club members and get new responses from them. Then you’ll get to respond and adjust accordingly.
Don’t Let Me Discourage You
Active Listening is a part of many pathways. Whether you do it in Level 2 or in Level 3, it’s designed to get you to think on your feet – to apply the skills we learn in Table Topics in meeting management. Professional speeches require a specific mindset and to focus on the positive is to start to develop it. In the end, audience management is an advanced skill and frankly, when I did this speech, I told the audience they could do whatever they wanted. And they did. And I bombed this speech project – but it will be one that I will never forget.
Thanks for Listening!
Thanks for listening to Toastmasters 101 podcast. If you like the podcast, you can subscribe using your favorite podcast player or by going to our website subscription page Toastmasters101 dot net slash subscribe.
Tell your fellow Toastmasters about our podcast! Use it to inform people about what they can expect and how the Pathways program works. If you’ve got a specific question about anything we’ve covered, ask and we’ll try to answer it for you.
Our podcast music is from
"Mariachi Snooze" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/