Toastmasters Convention – Thursday Afternoon

This afternoon’s sessions were both really good. I always hate that I have to choose the sessions, and I feel the need to apologize to Rory Vaden (who I was able to see yesterday) and Jim Key for having to miss their sessions. On the good side, they are our next two visiting speakers this fall and next spring in District 22.

Lance Miller was the first with a great message on finding your voice. Cool thing: He gave out a laminated card (a bit bigger than 3X5) with speaking tips that included a section on finding your voice. I love good freebies and Lance’s style combined with great audience interaction was easy to watch and enjoy (even without the bribe).

The structure of his presentation mirrored the points on the card, which makes it a valuable keepsake to use when thinking about writing that next speech. When I read the point “What are you certain about? …Uncertain about?” I’ll think about his standard of certainty. Lance measures how certain he is by how long it would take someone to talk him out of his position. As an example, he said it would take quite a long time to talk him out of his certainty of gravity.

He then ran an exercise to help the group see how to easily construct a speech in very little time. It went well despite the fact that the room couldn’t hold everyone who came to see him.

You can find all of the points as well as a pdf of his card at his website: www.lancemillerspeaks.com

Later, Sasha Strauss presented on The World of Brands: How Brand Strategy Makes and Molds Minds. He has a very dynamic style that was easy to listen to and very entertaining. He had a really strong theme about how brands (eg. Nike, Mercedes, Disney and McDonalds) make you feel.

Message: you write the script about what the world should know about you.

One interesting point about brands and logos: the logos don’t have to have a reason. Case in point, the Apple apple. Why is there a bite out of it, and why is it an apple in the first place? You don’t even have to know (or care) to understand how it makes you feel. That’s what brands do for you. They free you from having to make choices over and over. By being consistent with your brand, you give your customers that consistency they are looking for.

As a part of branding yourself, you should additionally make sure that your online presence (Facebook, etc.) tells your audience exactly what you want them to hear.

There were some interesting descriptions of the Apple and Microsoft CEO brands. Some of it was “had to be there” stuff, but I liked the description of Steve Ballmer as a bull in a china shop.

He also spoke about Lance Armstrong’s charity LIVESTRONG and how by using the wristbands gives you a feeling of being a philanthropist. He really stressed that theme of a brand that is successful is so because it makes you feel a certain way.

I heard a lot of great comments about both speakers, and I’m really glad I attended their sessions instead of playing golf or something.

On to the Semi-final contests. More to come…

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