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With the Toastmasters year coming to a close, many clubs are racing to get those final goals completed and choose their officers for the coming year. It’s an exciting time but it’s also a time where people are looking into their own futures as speakers. So it got me thinking about my involvement with Toastmasters over the last couple years and how much fun it’s been to work with so many people from this great organization.
I’ve had a number of Toastmasters clubs contact me through the years for everything from permission to link to an article on this blog to inviting me to speak at their club if I’m ever in their area. The two topics that seem of most interest to them are how make their clubs successful and how to speak outside of Toastmasters.
With use of social media on the rise, it’s not uncommon to see people misusing it. While spamming, cyber-stalking, cyber-bullying and identity theft are some of the misuses that often make the news, the most common misuse is people posting things they shouldn’t.
Now it’s debatable as to what’s acceptable to post to social media depending on your particular situation. You may not be identifiable or have your security settings mastered so only people close to you see what you post. But one thing to consider is that even if you have your profile locked down is that social media sites are prone to bugs and policy changes – both of which can give access to people you don’t want looking at your profile. So here are ten things to never post to Facebook.
A few summers ago I did some running in my neighborhood. I’d start at my house, run until I hit what I felt was a good halfway point, then turn around and run home. I’d always like to push myself, especially with this big hill I’d run partially up so as I’d start to get to tired, I’d tell myself “just one more mailbox.”
Sometimes that next mailbox was twenty feet away, other times it was fifty. While running an extra mile or two seemed like something out of my reach, certainly I could go another twenty feet. And then when I hit that next mailbox, the next one was only a little farther away so I could repeat that process until my legs started to wobble.
It’s amazing what can happen when someone overhears something out of context. Frankly, some of the word choices we make can be improved significantly, mainly the way we talk about ourselves. A lot of us are guilty of self-depreciation – I tend to use it a lot in my classes just to add some humor and levity to the class. But I’ve seen some people take it a bit far where their entire personality is dumping on themselves. It’s not the best way to become a confident and successful person.
Let’s face it, speeches are a lot more fun to watch when the speaker is energized and engaging. Plus you also pay closer attention and learn more too. Chances are that if you’ve ever fallen asleep during a presentation, the presenter’s style had more to do with it than the content of the presentation. I’ve seen presenters take a dry topic such as software testing and make it entertaining. I’ve also seen presenters take an exciting topic like getting rich and bore the audience to sleep. And yes, I’ve been guilty of giving a less than enthusiastic talk and could feel the drain of energy in the room.
So how can you take your speech and make it more fun and interesting for the audience? Well, first you don’t want to overdo it. A lot of speakers, especially those whose speaking experience is primarily at Toastmasters clubs, tend to overdo it. They overuse gestures and body language, do goofy things to get the audience’s attention like shout or make them do silly exercises or they throw excess humor into their talks. The good news is that you don’t have to go through all that bother. Simply be excited about your talk and do what comes natural. Here are the three areas to focus on.
One of the things I’ve learned recently as I’ve started to seriously workout again is that achieving a goal is a lot less complex than we make it out to be. Really, there are three basic steps: set the goal, create the action plan and then follow through with it. As I’m sure you can guess, most people fail on one of the last two steps.
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