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Tuesday, 30 August 2016 02:37

Do Toastmasters speech contests exemplify the best in public speaking?

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 The 2016 World Championship of Public Speaking wore his underwear over his suit. This gets attention, yes. But is this what people should strive for in their public speaking? Really?

Have you pushed an envelope lately? How about pulled one?This is a question that leads to an opinion-based answer, rather than a definitive yes or no answer.

I’ve chaired some 30 or more speech contests at the club to the District level in my Toastmasters career. In my introductory comments I usually factor in the comment “Toastmasters speech contests are for those that want to challenge themselves. The cream rises to the top …” Or something to that effect.

I usually also mention that there are at least two contests going on here. At the one level, we are choosing a winner of this speech contest, who will rise to the next level of the contest and represent us. But even more importantly to me is the fact that each of our contestants is in competition with themselves. They are stepping out of their comfort zone and challenging themselves to do the best they can. Whether they win or not, they will be better speakers for it.

I haven’t seen the video yet for the 2016 World Championship of Public Speaking. I’ve seen almost all of the last decade or so that have their videos posted on Youtube. In watching the videos, it becomes evident that as a speaker and a wannabee champion, you have to stand out in some way from your competitors.

Perhaps we need to expand upon how we think of public speaking. I’ve shown some of the championship videos at my club and a common comment from the viewers is that they felt that the ‘speech’ was more of a stage performance, rather than what one thinks of as traditional public speaking.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I guess the answer lays in your own views and if you are a purist or not. As speakers and presenters, we are in competition with television, radio and on-line media in our desire to capture our audience’s attention. In many cases, as a result of TV and the media-byte phenomena, we have to find creative ways to grab our audience’s attention and keep it for the duration of our presentation. Maybe we have to resort to devices such as wearing underwear over our head to attract attention. I’ve thought about doing so in a speech. As kids, we used to pull our underwear over our heads and pretend we were astronauts or deep sea divers. It was a cheap costume!

I believe that speaking is evolving for the better and sometimes that involves shaking up your audience, taking them somewhere where they are uncomfortable. I’m left wondering how the winner would have fared if he had worn woman’s underwear. I look forward to seeing this video. You have caught my attention.

Thanks for the question!

As originally answered on Quora.com

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Rae Stonehouse

Author Bio:

Rae A. Stonehouse is a Canadian born author & speaker. His professional career as a Registered Nurse working predominantly in psychiatry/mental health, has spanned four decades.

Rae has embraced the principal of CANEI (Constant and Never-ending Improvement) as promoted by thought leaders such as Tony Robbins and brings that philosophy to each of his publications and presentations.

Rae has dedicated the latter segment of his journey through life to overcoming his personal inhibitions. As a 20+ year member of Toastmasters International he has systematically built his self-confidence and communicating ability. He is passionate about sharing his lessons with his readers and listeners. His publications thus far are of the self-help, self-improvement genre and systematically offer valuable sage advice on a specific topic. He is a long-time member of Kelowna Flying Solo Toastmasters and is the driving force behind its long-term success. 

His writing style can be described as being conversational. As an author Rae strives to have a one-to-one conversation with each of his readers, very much like having your own personal self-development coach. Rae is known for having a wry sense of humour that features in his publications.

Author of Self-Help Downloadable E-Books:

Power Networking for Shy PeoplePower Networking for Shy People: Tips & Techniques for Moving from Shy to Sly!

PROtect Yourself!PROtect Yourself! Empowering Tips & Techniques for Personal Safety: A Practical Violence Prevention Manual for Healthcare Workers.

E=Emcee SquaredE=Emcee SquaredTips & Techniques to Becoming a Dynamic Master of Ceremonies.

Power of PromotionPower of Promotion: On-line Marketing for Toastmasters Club Growth

 

Phone Rae 250-451-6564 or info@raestonehouse.com

Rae’s social … are you?

Twitter: http://twitter.com/RaeStonehousehttp://twitter.com/RaeStonehouse

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Copyright 2015 & 2016 Rae Stonehouse. The above document may be freely copied and distributed as long as the author’s name and contact info remain attached.

To learn more about Rae A. Stonehouse, visit the Wonderful World of Rae Stonehouse at http://raestonehouse.comhttp://raestonehouse.com.