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Sunday, 11 September 2016 00:10

How do I write a good speech for Toastmaster Competent Communicator # 8 project?

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Toastmasters in action! Have you visited a club yet?The # 8 project in the Competent Communicator manual is “Get Comfortable With Visual Aids.”

At the risk of stating the obvious, the idea is to help you gain experience with using visual aids.

I have delivered this particular project fifteen times and have used audio-visuals in dozens of my presentations.

First off, I would suggest forgetting about the need to write a speech that focuses on using visual aids. Rather, you should create a speech that will be even better if you use visual aids to add to your message. Almost any presentation that is educational, instructional or informative lends itself to using visual aids. This project is to get you comfortable with your visual aids. You can only do so … by doing so!

When I first delivered this project, overhead projectors were the technology of the day. We had to learn how to create and copy overheads as well as how to organize them so they were in order. We also had to learn how to place the transparency on the overhead projector and replace them with another without blinding our audience.

In our digital world, audiences are becoming more sophisticated. They expect high-quality visuals to go with your presentation. Handouts are still effective as a way to share your content or provide additional content to what you are delivering. Your handouts should be well prepared and include lots of white space. You will need to decide whether your handout is better passed out in advance of your presentation or at strategic points throughout. I have used both.

Flip charts are still effective for displaying a message to a small group of people that are close enough to read it. This often works well in a typical Toastmasters meeting. I still use a flip chart when I deliver my How to write a speech using Mind Mapping presentation.

I now use Powerpoint presentations for most of my more content-heavy presentations. I think that many people have the idea that PowerPoint solves all problems. It does not make bad speeches better.

As an example, I have practiced the concept of getting comfortable with visual aids on my past three presentations. They were not #8 speeches. I was breaking in a new laptop computer, paired with a data projector that I was quite used to. I was using the latest version of PowerPoint and had embedded a video into my presentation. It worked perfectly on my trials at home.

Just to further the example, here’s how the progression went. First, a small table had to be set up to hold my laptop, data projector and radio for the audio. The laptop has to be turned on, then the data projector. They have to connect with each other. Once your video is projecting on the screen you have to size the picture for the dimensions of the room. Then you have to make sure there is no keystoning take place. Once that is adjusted you have to make sure your audio works when you click on it and that everyone in the room can hear it clearly.

The first time with the new laptop, I clicked on the video in my PowerPoint presentation at a strategic point and the audio wouldn’t work. It had worked fine at home. I apologized to my audience and asked them to bear with me. I eventually figured out that I had muted my audio. Problem solved!

The next time worked fine. The third time, once again no audio. I had to stop and problem solve in the middle of my speech. I had forgotten that the new laptop needed a different connection between the HDMI adapter and my radio. Once I figured that out, I was back in business and continued my presentation.

The point I’m trying to make is that the topic of your speech isn’t as important as practicing using visual aids. Toastmasters is a great place to practice these skills. You aren’t going to get fired or disciplined at Toastmasters as you might if you had problems as part of your job.

One thing to add before I conclude is that props are also considered to be visual aids. As they say that a picture can be worth a thousand words, likely the same can be said about using a prop. Your prop should be appropriate to the message that you are trying to get across and it should only be in view long enough that it is connected to your message. When you move on to something else, remove the prop from sight.

Thanks for the question and good luck with your presentation. Please consider adding audio & visual aids to more of your presentations.

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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


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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.com

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