2015 Prep – 5 Speaking mistakes to avoid

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2015 is bound to be a great year. If you’re the type to make a New Year’s Resolution and stick with it, the I imagine you’ve already decided on a course of action for 2015. But if you’re more like me, resolutions can sometimes lead to positive results, but not usually the wish you had […]

Does everyone agree?

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When I speak, I have a tendency to ask a lot of questions. I do this for at least three reasons. First, to check in with the audience and keep them engaged. Second, to help them see that they aren’t alone. Third, to learn something about the audience so I can tailor my message (if […]

Winning the Toastmasters Speech Contest

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A few years ago, I wrote a post about contest speaking called Why you won’t win your contest. This included many of the things I see speaker do at contests all the way up to the World Championship. Since that post in 2011, I’ve seen a few more examples and even competed myself. Instead of […]

I know funny and you’re not it

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Even the funniest people in the world – professionals with well thought out material – occasionally lay an egg. And if they bomb with something they practiced and prepared to perform, is it so shocking that you and I miss the mark when we try to be funny without really trying?

Toastmasters: Winning your Division Contest

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It’s been nearly two months since my area contest win, and yesterday I competed in our Division Contest. I was representing my club in the International Speech Contest category. Again, I told the story from my club and area contest, about my experience joining the US Air Force after graduation from High School. I did […]

Toastmasters: Winning your Area Contest

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Just one short week after my club contest win, I competed in our Area Contest. I was representing my club in the International Speech Contest category; I did not compete in the Table Topics category. I retold the story from my club contest, about my experience joining the US Air Force after graduation from High […]

Winning the District Evaluation Contest – Toastmasters D22 Conference

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What does it take to win a District Evaluation Contest? Before I answer, let’s back up a bit. This year was rare for me. For the first time in over six years I found myself eligible to compete in our District’s fall contest season, including the humorous speech contest and the speech evaluation contest. I […]

Pro tips: Bring your own gear

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Recently I was asked to speak at a conference, and in the pre event discussions we talked about set up and equipment needs. I was asked to bring my own laptop, and the projector would be provided. Since I rarely use PowerPoint visuals, I was able to assure them this wasn’t necessary. When I asked […]

Inside humor

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Have you ever heard a speaker deliver an inside joke? Did you feel included? If not, did the joke make you feel left out? Now imagine yourself with the inside joke. You know it will be funny to a few people (or maybe just one), and you know it will be funny to you. Do you […]

Are you a selfish speaker?

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When you get on stage, is it for the audience, or for yourself? Don’t confuse “on stage” to mean only a physical stage in front of a large audience. “On stage” can include a job interview, talking to your kid, training some coworkers, or even taking on a leadership role. No matter what “on stage” […]