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Thread: Toast Masters

  1. #1
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    Default Toast Masters

    In the Contest thread, Gabe was talking about writing and speaking regularly much like hitting the gym or going to the dojo. I give short training classes weekly and speak with agents individually multiple times a week. However, I would eventually like to move into more of a full-time instructor role. Consequently, I am considering joining Toastmasters in order to polish my speaking skills. Have any of you had success with such a program? Any words of advice when doing so?
    Greg Nichols- Who you are 5 years from now is directly related to the books you read, who you associate with, and how you spend your free time.

  2. #2
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    I have never attended one of their sessions, but I hear good things. In all honesty...a speech is not as well received as a conversational presentation. For example...Barry Obama gave speeches whereas Trump has conversations. Those could be individually as well as to 10,000 people. A transfer of information must be received as genuine. If not...if it seems like a crafted and prepared presentation, most people shut off and there is a difficulty of acceptance. Consider the difference in a speech delivered to the first responder asking about the dead guy in your living room, as opposed to the genuine, yet articulate transfer of information.

    Be genuine
    Live the story you tell

    Hell....BE the story you tell.

    The more practice you get, the more skillful your use of language...both spoken and written.
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  3. #3
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    Default Toastmasters

    Quote Originally Posted by jaowens View Post
    In the Contest thread, Gabe was talking about writing and speaking regularly much like hitting the gym or going to the dojo. I give short training classes weekly and speak with agents individually multiple times a week. However, I would eventually like to move into more of a full-time instructor role. Consequently, I am considering joining Toastmasters in order to polish my speaking skills. Have any of you had success with such a program? Any words of advice when doing so?
    I highly recommend Toastmasters. You will learn various phases of speech making that includes delivery, writing your speeches, protocol that is normally followed in the environment of delivering a speech, etc. I also suggest that you go to several different Toastmaster's club meetings before committing yourself to joining a specific Toastmaster's Club. The clubs are comprised of people who are at various stages of learning the craft. You may find that some of the members are polished and professional speakers. Additionally, you will find that each club has its own personality, which is basically the collective personality of the members. You will learn by doing.

  4. #4
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    I've also heard good things about Toast Masters from a handful of friends.

    I agree completely with Gabe's comments about conversational presentations. I've had to deliver many presentations over the years...conversations always connect must better with an audience.

    That doesn't mean you shouldn't prepare. An outline and a writing down the major points you need to hit are great. Practicing the conversation is often needed (though there's a lot of value in forcing yourself to go live speaking off the cuff).

    I practice bits of teaching or business presentations all the time while I'm driving. I don't need to write a lot of that stuff down because I just know it. But if you don't know the material, you should write it down and practice that until you know it cold.

    I find I often need to write something down...then rewrite it to make it better, more efficient, clear, etc. This is an exercise in achieving clarity - clarity in your mind about the material, and clarity in your delivery. I think that if I can't make it clear on paper, I probably can't make it clear coming out of my mouth.

    Conversational tone is what you'll be using as an instructor and you can absolutely practice that in a Toast Master environment.

    I have no time to look it up now but there are good story telling business examples on youtube. I roll my eyes at a lot of the Ted Talk stuff but some of them are excellent storytellers.
    Brent Yamamoto
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  5. #5
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    If it's a topic you know intimately and are passionate about you can speak clearly and intelligently, with proper order and context. If not, you have to study the topic from multiple sources and come to your own conclusion. I hate to speak or write from someone else's conclusion unless I've drawn a similar or near conclusion.

    Writing is a little different. I make every attempt to make my initial draft sound/read exactly the way I talk. The reason I usually have to rewrite it is because when I speak I will explain things from multiple different angles and in text that gets monotonous, so I will rewrite my explanation I attempt to explain it as clearly as I see it in my head.
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  6. #6
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    A major goal of much conversation is to impart information. A speech is more to make an impression, to sway, or otherwise influence people.
    One who hammers his gun into a plow plows for those who do not....Unknown
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  7. #7
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    I highly recommend Toastmasters. You will give prepared 5 or 10 minute speeches. Each meeting also has "table topics" where the leader will introduce a topic, headline or question and then pick an attendee to give a 2 minute talk (think "micro-statement") based on what you heard, know or make up. You'll get coached on technique, such as eliminating the distracting fillers "uhh" and "like" when you talk. Join a good club and you will be a better speaker. Each club also sends the winners of its internal contests to regional contests and beyond. I won once and had a blast at the regional.

  8. #8
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    Two suggestions:

    One, read more to improve your writing skills. Look for quality works from twentieth century writers. GK Chesterton is a perfect choice ( https://www.chesterton.org/discover/ ). He is called the master of paradox for his use of it. He works are prolific and diverse. Take note of how words are used to create an image or express a thought. Evelyn Waugh is another good choice.

    Two, find and join a debating society in your local area to improve you public speaking skills. Unlike simply giving a speech, debate teaches you to research a topic, develop an "argument", prepare for the opposing "argument" and then deliver and defend your "argument" in a polite, gentlemanly manner. Debating will also help improve your ability to think on your feet, and to address questions, etc. There may be a social debating club, but almost all colleges and universities have one. I'll add here that the goal of debate is to convince an audience that they should decide in favour of your side of the issue. It has rules and is not like a heated breakroom argument over whether Texas or KC BBQ is better.



    (Texas BBQ is better - just so you know)
    Last edited by P.D.; 05-29-2019 at 06:55 PM. Reason: typos

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by P.D. View Post
    ...read more to improve your writing skills.
    This. I have heard Rush Limbaugh say on multiple occasions, when asked to share the biggest single key to his success, that the answer is a masterful "command of the written and spoken English language." And he then encourages whoever asked the question to read, and read voraciously, to improve those skills.
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  10. #10
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    Yeah it's just a tv show, but it's true.

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    Brent Yamamoto
    Suarez International Tier 1 Staff Instructor

    Ready, willing, able. Bring it.

    Instagram: karate_at_1200fps

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