Toastmasters 2011 Convention – E is for Excellence in Speaking and Leading


Dana LaMon in an Accredited Speaker and World Champion of Public Speaking. His session, E is for Excellence in Speaking and Leading was in front of a full house (over 400 seats plus SRO)

To get the greatest benefit from TM – you must be committed to excellence

Dana presented Eight Principles from his book, The Excellence Book: 104 Principles for Living and Working.

Improvement (#1) – To excel is to do better today than you did yesterday. It is from our mistakes that we learn. Striving for Excellence – is excellence over there, and me over here? You should be Striving in Excellence. Excellence starts within you. Is excellence to be the best? no. Excellence means using yourself as a measuring stick. And excellence means using your own judgement, not depending on someone else to judge you.

Use your evaluations in Toastmasters to help improve. Really use them, and make adjustments to your next presentations.

Development (#70) – Excellence seeks to discover and develop unused talents. As you start taking steps in development, you see new paths open up for future development. It’s never too late to get unstuck. Continue to work your Toastmasters manuals, and even repeat manuals when it can help you develop.

Movement (#32) – Excellence welcomes change. Callback to last night (Dave Logan) – “most of the world doesn’t welcome change.” We look to stay in our comfort area, whenever possible. Slight change results is small adjustments to stay comfortable, big changes tend to result in fighting change.

“When you change your environment, you change your opportunities.” – quote from Dana’s son.

Change bring chances, and not all chances are opportunities. Opportunity is coupling chance with your purpose. Lead with purpose. Be willing to show why you do what you do. Remember, you cannot have followers until you start moving.

Tenacity (#9) – A commitment to excellence prompts you to run a little harder in the face of opponents. Overcoming the doubt from others. Until you have the challenge, you don’t make the attempt.

Adjustments (#66) – Excellence makes adjustments where mediocrity makes excuses. As a blind person, Dana had the opportunity to make excuses. He heard, “He’s blind, he can’t.” so when he didn’t want to do something he could just say “I’m blind, I can’t”. Sometimes we get weak, and we make excuses. Age, gender, money, experience, time? Are you making excuses for not doing that next advanced manual? Joining the Speakers Bureau? Writing that article?
“You don’t have to see the ground to hit the ground. All you have to do is jump.”

Possibility (#95) – The realm of possibilities and field of uncertainty occupy the same space; their difference is in how you approach them. If you see uncertainty, you may be hesitant or reluctant. If you look out and see possibilities, you may say “yes.” Gives you the impetus to making things happen. Are you able to say “yes” when someone asks, “is it possible?”

Teamwork (#43) – Team excellence requires a what’s-in-it-for-us rather than a what’s-in-it-for-me way of thinking. There is very little that you will ever do in your life that doesn’t involve working with someone else. In Toastmasters, we operate under what’s-in-it-for-you.

Love (#90) – Quality can be controlled and time can be managed, but people must be loved.Love includes, love shares, love encourages & love builds. Love is the connective force in relationships. The natural tendency of relationships is love.

Whether you are pursuing speaking, leadership or both, you must be committed to excellence. Your innate greatness is revealed through excellence.

Note on some of his techniques
Used a show of voices (“oh, yeah”) instead of a show of hands
Asked “is it possible?” then said, “men is it possible?”, “women is it possible?”, “toastmasters, is it possible?”, then “non-Toastmasters, is it possible?” After that yes (about 6 people) he said “lets get them some applications.”

Dana presented an amazing program. This one was worth getting on video or at least audio.

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