Speeches that Matter – by Chris Boden

Speeches that Matter – Creating a Speech to be Remembered

If you missed Wednesday night’s meeting you missed a good one. I think this was the most inspiring evening we have held so far! There was a really good vibe in the room with a number of visitors from other clubs and many new guests.

Kris C as Sergeant at Arms got us off to a flying start calling us to order.

Debs was Toastmaster of the Evening, introducing the speakers and managing the evening’s events.

The main highlight of the evening was definitely Chris Boden’s 40 minute workshop “Speeches That Matter – Creating a Speech to be Remembered”. He was fabulous!

These are the tips I took from Chris’s speech:

·      Carry around a notebook for speech ideas. Write down your idea before you forget it (especially before bedtime).

·      Don’t write a draft speech – you write differently to how you speak. Instead record it straight away and transcribe it into a draft.

·      We speak at average 120 words per minute. 120 x 7 mins = 840 words. Target 750 words to allow for pauses, audience laughter etc.

·      For speeches beyond club level get help / find a mentor. The higher you progress in contests the more experienced the mentor will be required.

·      Video your speech and watch it – you are your best evaluator!

·      Chris and others formed a mastermind group and together they won many awards over a two-year period.

·      In a contest look at the judging criteria – this will tell you where the most marks are given so make sure you maximise your chances.

·      Essentials

o   a purpose – what is the one single thing? What one thing do I want the audience to think, feel and do after the speech?

o   Humour

o   Stories

·      Delivery

o   Practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice

o   Know your speech to “Happy Birthday’ level. (when you sing Happy Birthday you don’t have to think of the words as you already know them). Know your speech to this level.

·      What to talk about – talk about something that matters to you.

·      Luck – commit to the speech and put the effort in. There is no substitution for hard work! If you want a great speech that matters, you have to put the work in. As a famous golfer once said “the more I practice the luckier I seem to get”.

·      Rewrite, refine, rehearse! Crhis’s world semi-final speech had 37 iterations!

·      Do you know your worst habit on stage? Cure it! Find the next one.

Just before the break an ex-Maidenhead member, now London club member, Michael Williams gave his club contest winning speech as he wanted lots of feedback before the area contest. It was a great opportunity to see a very inspiring contest speech. Michael really showed us how to deliver a speech with passion. He talked about watching what you eat and drink and his story of his own irritable bowel syndrome. His message was “every time you eat or drink you are either feeding or fighting disease!”

After the break and more delicious cake (thanks again Debs) Chris Boden gave his evaluation of Michael’s speech. He made this an interactive evaluation as Chris asked the audience for their participation.

Lorraine Hamilton came again to support us, this time as Table Topics Master. Her theme was set around Toastmasters and she asked some very pertinent questions. Although she said to me afterwards she had a list of prepared questions she cleverly changed them around to suit the mood of the meeting. Many of the new guests were invited to the stage to break the ice with their speaking and all did very well. There were two highlights for me:

·      Rajeev answered the question “what are your goals in Toastmasters for the coming months” where Rajeev said that before the meeting he wanted to improve his speaking skills but now, having heard Chris and Michael speak, he wants to go on to become a successful speaker – so he has really upped his game!

·      Another Michael, a new visitor spoke about his life-changing brain injury 12 years ago and how he has had to relearn everything. When he started speaking on a stand-up comedy course he found he really enjoyed it. I am sure he will join us so you are likely to hear him speak again. Michael won the best table topic speech, which delighted him!

Nikita Park’s returned to give us an evaluation of all the table topics.

Bushra kept us all to time and reported well on everyone’s times.

Christmas Social

The meeting started as normal. Ranjit opened the meeting well as [email protected] with a little joke.

Our President Nick welcomed everybody and made a request. Does anyone have a contact in any of the large companies in the Slough area as it would be easier to swell our membership numbers with company employees? Please contact Debs or Nick.

Special guests Norman and Joyce Rhodes were welcomed. Norman has been a Toastmaster since 1980 and has started many new clubs in the area and continues to support new clubs. Joyce, now retired, has been a very active member of Maidenhead Speakers Club for many years.

Jacqui Hogan from Ascot and Chiltern Speakers was our Toastmaster of the Evening this week. She wasn’t wearing her corset this time! As an experienced speaker and mentor she guided us smoothly through the proceedings and introduced all the speakers.

Ikenna was our first speaker giving a prepared speech on ‘Neuroplasticity’; how our brain makes new connections in response to learning. Ikenna did a great job by speaking without notes, an excellent start for his first, ‘ice breaker’ speech.

Bindu followed up with an extended speech on how she overcame nerves in her long speaking career. I am sure many members and guests alike will take something away from this well thought through presentation by Bindu.

Teresa was Table Topics Master offering anyone the opportunity to give an impromptu speech on one of her chosen ‘Christmas’ subjects. Ian, Ahmed, Kiran. Arun and Kasia all delivered a polished answer to their given topic. Ian won the best table topic award.

Afterwards, it was time for the feedback sessions with Debs and Lorraine giving positive feedback to the two prepared speeches. In particular, Debs highlighted Ikenna’s confidence, which could have been better if he had moved nearer the audience and Lorraine drew attention to Bindu’s fluent presentation with no sign of nerves which could have been enhanced with more pronounced arm gestures.

Duncan kept us on track with an accurate report of everybody’s speech times. Bushra summed up with her assessment of the numbers of crutch words used and how nearly everyone managed to squeeze in her word of the day ‘Celestial’.

Our president then closed the meeting with a thanks to everyone who took part and the guests were invited to comment on what they thought of the evening.

Finally, members and guests were invited to stay for a social gathering to celebrate Christmas and to get to know each other better over a mince pie and other snacks and drinks. There was so much food brought in by everyone that we could have fed the whole of Burnham!

Debs and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2020. 

We look forward to seeing you in the New Year where our first two meetings are 8th and 15th January. Kind regards

Nick Bailey
President, Burnham Speakers 

Lauch Meeting

The launch of a new Toastmasters club, Burnham Speakers on Wednesday 16th October was very successful. There was a good energy in the room and everyone felt welcomed. A number of guests said they learnt tips on how to improve their speaking skills and asked about joining. We meet at 7.45pm on 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month. We meet again at 7.45pm on • Wednesday 6th November • Wednesday 20th November • Wednesday 4th December • Wednesday 18th December The address is: Burnham Park Hall Windsor Lane Burnham Buckinghamshire SL1 7HR Please arrive by 7.30pm as we like to start on time. Our vision is to create a Toastmasters speaking club full of friendly, confident and self-expressed speakers. If you know of anyone who lives or works in the Slough/ Burnham area and may be looking to improve their speaking skills and confidence I would be grateful if you would pass on the good news. They will soon be speaking confidently in front of small groups after seeing how we do this in our friendly and supportive group.

We look forward to meeting guests on 20th November. Come along and see if you like it. Don’t forget to bring your friends too.