The accredited speaker panel was one of my “must dos” for this event. Hearing from five existing accredited speakers really helped clarify how the program works, and why I should be pursuing it.
Spoiler alert – there are changes to the program for next year, and many of them are listed in this post.
Note: Here is the official link to the new information
Sheryl Roush, DTM AS
Jana Barnhill, DTM PIP AS
Robert Barnhill, DTM PIP AS
Karen Twitchell, ACS AS
Dilip Abayasekara , DTM PIP AS
Started by answering questions that were sent in
What percentage of applicants become Accredited Speakers?
Fewer than 10 percent
Why did you want to earn your AS?
Dilip – “someday I’d like to make a living doing something I enjoy.”
Karen – “if you go throught the journey of becoming an AS, you will become a better speaker.”
Robert – “I saw what [others] went through…going through the process made me a better DG and ID”
Jana – “People coming to me saying, ‘you really ought to do this'”
Sheryl – “my dream was always to become an AS…for me it was the journey”
Discussed eligibility – there are some changes just off the presses today that will apply starting next year (after December 2012)
Change – must have a minimum of 20 people in the audience
Change – At least 15 of them must be a paid presentations
Change – audio for level one will be replaced with video
Can you give the same presentation to a few different groups?
Can the 25 speeches be counted toward an NSA designation?
Yes – they are two different programs for two different organizations
Jana discussed the presentation styles
5 seminar/discussion leader
Every professional speaker should be a well rounded speaker, and be able to cover all of those styles
Karen talked about the journey – she applied in 2009, then again in 2010 when she was selected. She mentioned that as she approached the Convention and giving the presentation, it consumed her time. She also mentioned hiring a coach, videotaping her speeches and getting feedback from the 2009 audience. Oddly, this sounded a lot like the methods used by World Champions of Public Speaking.
She also mentioned how the designation makes a difference on her resumé. Even when the reader doesn’t know about Toastmasters, they’re still impressed.
Robert talked about the benefits of the destination. The AS program helped him develop the skills to handle evaluations that consistently gets him repeat business.
Dilip talked about the added credibility that the designation provides. And how that drove him to a higher personal standard as well.
How do I get started?
Find a mentor
Set the goal
Prepare an introduction
– professional introduction should be of a quality like any professional presentation
DON’T – have the introducer mention “this is for a Toastmasters Accredited Speaker submission”
Submitting level one – audio
DON’T – edit. Any editing results in immediate disqualification
Problems with audios – reasons for level one submissions being rejected
Can’t hear you on your audio
Poor quality recording
Lack of energy
Needs to grab and hold their attention
Shouldn’t read in a sound studio (it’s happened)
Shouldn’t edit in laughter (it’s happened)
Level two – live at the Convention
Just like the Trident Gum test, 4 of 5 judges have to like your speech
Differences in the AS and WCPS (contest)
– time frame 20-40 vs 5-7
– competing against a standard, not against other speakers
– the only program in Toastmasters you can fail in
How do the judges arrive at a final decision after a Second Level presentation?
– Judges convene after the presentations wit chief judge and 2 members of HQ staff. After they complete scoring and discuss
The judges ask themselves this:
– If I had hired this speaker, would I be pleased? Would I rehire them? Would you recommend them?
Common mistakes at level two
– Inappropriate language, slang (must be in English)
– Lack of structure
– Lack of audience interaction
– Don’t add possible errors (props you could do without, etc.)
You didn’t pass the first time you applied, what changes did you make?
Accepting the judges opinion
Be who you are – don’t change because it’s a “Toastmaster audience”
Overcome family saying “don’t go through it again”
Definitely a must-do!