Toastmasters: Lance Miller in KC


Editor’s note: this post is a compliation of my notes from Lance Miller’s visit to Kansas City on 17 March 2011. 52 Toastmasters attended the 2-hour session. I’ll edit it in the next couple of days for better clarity. Lance’s site is where you can find free materials and information.

Don’t be afraid to speak up. 

Can we stand up and make a difference when we need to make a difference.

International Speech Contest: 5-7 minutes to speak to the world – you’re always speaking to the world

Individual to individual, we get along great. It’s group to group where we start to have problems

Message should be concise, 5-10 words

What is your passion, conviction, humility, your message?

Stay in your power center as a speaker.

Ask yourself the questions to find out what your passion is.

Some of his questions:

What is your story? – you don’t need to have a tragic story (I.e. Homeless heroin addict). Your story comes from “why did you do it?” what motivated you to take that action? Living vs. Existing. Ask yourself in the morning, am i more interested in going out and doing something than staying in bed and doing nothing.

What is your philosophy? – Honesty? Fairness? Timeliness?
what Lance learned on the farm (shoveling manure) One scoop at a time. Don’t let work pile up. Any job is a promotion.

What are the defining moments of your life? – firing someone, “anyone can fire somebody. Getting them to work, that takes leadership”. All of these moments can make great speeches.

When you come to a fork I the road, how do you decide to which way to go? Stopping short of previous goals helped Lance decide to press forward with other opportunities.

What is “that one thing” you know about life?

Can you find the Extraordinary in the Ordinary? – parking tickets, chair, etc. That’s what we do when we speak.

In your life, what is you attention on right now?

What are you certain about? …Uncertain about? How long would someone have to talk to convince you otherwise? 

What would you be willing to die for?

What issues do all human beings struggle with? – Can your audience identify with it?

Lance is working on a course on what is your philosophy in life?

Worked on creating a speech using a common object
– Picked a rubber band, and asked the audience for extraordinary attributes of the ordinary object.
– Many of them centered around stretching. lance made the correlation with people being stretched. Next, he looked for experiences in the audience about turning points in their life, and explored what “stretch” occurred there to develop a speech.
– Have you ever felt stretched in life?
– You should be inspirational/motivational with every speech you give

Have you ever flicked a rubber band and have it snap you on the hand? 
All the power is there when it’s stretched 
Told story (in first person) from Henrik about camping in a meadow for 6 weeks when I was just 8 years old. … This stretched me … 7 years later my dad died, and that stretched me.
Never broken
Found that I had strengths I didn’t know I had
We never get stronger standing still, it’s only when we stretch

Comes with accepting the concept. Saying “we only get stronger through challenging ourselves with adversity”, some people may not agree with you. But by describing how a rubber band is stronger when it’s stretched, you get the audience to buy into the concept. Then you make the analogy with life, and the audience already buys into the concept and you can deliver your message without having to force the message down their throats.

Lance also does e-critiques through the World Champions Edge. There are specific prices for that, so you’ll have to check the site. Affiliate link alert: World Champions EDGE. This link will take you to the Edge website, where you can see some free materials or sign up for just $1 for the first month.


  1. Rob:

    Lance Miller brought up some interesting Big Questions. Most of us bump into some of them when writing our Ice Breaker speeches.

    On Wednesday I blogged about The Joy of Listening to Ice Breaker Speeches:

    I mentioned six Big Questions from the Babylon V science fiction TV show:

    Who are you?
    What do you want?
    Why are you here?
    Do you have anything worth living for?
    Where are you going?
    Who do you serve, and who do you trust?

    Stories from common objects also can be a good Table Topics question, as I discussed in a May 6, 2010 post on What stories are you carrying in your pocket?

    Richard Garber

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