Kitty Brandal, ACG-CL represented the Lorain County Toastmasters at the District 10 International Speech Contest this year. Kitty won the District contest and competed in the semi-final contest for the World Champion of Public Speaking competition in Las Vegas, NV in August. She is sharing some ideas that may help you if you want to compete in this contest.
From Dr. Kitty Brandal, ACG-CL, Westside Advanced Toastmasters Club
1. Start early with your speech(es).
Contests are often held in January (right after the Holidays). Be prepared BEFORE the Holidays. Start working on your speech early because this allows you time to present the speech to a few people before competing. Our lenses can be shaded; we may say something that doesn’t seem offensive to us, but is blatantly offensive to other people.
Also, start preparing early for psychological reasons. Giving a speech at your club and giving a speech at a contest “feels” different emotionally. Starting the speech writing process early prepares your emotional pathways for something out of the ordinary. This works! This is psychology.
2. Consider having a few different topics to choose from.
I had six. That’s a lot. I decided to take four of those topics and mind-map them. (Perhaps, I can do a workshop on this in the future. I show people how to Mind Map in my Creativity and Innovation in the Workplace Workshop). I mind-mapped four speeches; I wanted to see what the value was in each speech. I looked for humorous, emotional, and relevant elements during my mapping process.
3. The speech: Start strong … end stronger.
That doesn’t mean start semi-strong and end stronger. It means…..start STRONG and end STRONGER. You are planting what I call, “mental scripts” in a person’s brain throughout your speech. Plant the strongest one last.
4. Ask for help.
Find a small group of people who can listen to your speech the first time you give it. Try to grow and develop with those people. Then, once in a while, go out and give it to a whole new group of people and take note of their feedback. I made the mistake of getting in front of almost 200 Toastmasters in two months. It was time consuming, expensive (I live in Huron), and it became downright confusing. I wouldn’t do that again. I loved meeting everyone…that was my favorite part. But, the feedback became overwhelming.
Find a mentor or a few mentors who can guide you on this journey. From my perspective, it’s a good idea to have mentors who have competed at these various levels before. The speech is only one component of the competition, there is a great deal of “emotional” guidance you may need too (this is more important than you may think).
5. Be prepared to write another speech.
If you win the District contest, you will need to have a second speech ready in case you win your semi-final competition. Please, don’t count yourself out. Be ready to give your second speech on that stage! You give your District winning speech at the semi-final contest. If you win, you will compete in the World Champion of Public Speaking and this requires a new speech.
If you win the District contest next year, feel free to contact me and I will explain the process I went through this past year. It was incredibly exciting! If you want to compete…but…you have the jitters…CALL ME! I am happy to help you with this. We have the talent in District 10 to win this!
I don’t want to overwhelm anyone. If you have specific questions, please feel free to E-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call me: (419) 239-5732
Dr. Kitty Brandal, ACG-CL
Westside Advanced Toastmasters Club
Want a printable version of these five tips? Click below!
Download: Lessons from the 2015 International Speech Contest
Dr. Kitty Brandal shares five lessons she learned as a competitor in the 2015 International Speech Contest.