I’m Competing In Two Weeks In A Speech Contest

I won first place at the Area competition and will be competing 15 April at the Division C contest where I will compete against up to seven other people in the English International Speech competition.

No pressure.

All of the previous stressors are the same but MORE.

Of course.

In between winning Club and competing at Area, I wrote out my speech as near as I could remember and sent it around to several people of varying backgrounds for feedback and received a WIDE RANGE of responses.

[Special exquisite THANKS SO MUCH to Esther and Fernand and Sangbreeta and Byron and Robert and Claire and Harry and Kristian and Joze and Johanna and Meyke and Peter and anyone who I totally forgot cause I suck.]

Which was utterly awesome.

And also utterly overwhelming.

I ended up keeping everyone’s response in mind, writing the outline just before stepping onstage, and doing the best I could.

And I won.

The thing is, I’ve given this speech four times now, to audiences:

  1. For the Toastmasters Groningen Club Competition.
  2. At a preparatory meeting between club and area competitions.
  3. At the Area C2 Competition.
  4. And at a Zwolle Toastmasters meeting following the area competition.

The best performance was the first time. Except I KNOW I only stood still and gestured minimally. I know I cursed THREE TIMES. I know many things I did wrong, but the speech itself.

It flowed.

In the three times since, I’ve improved in other ways – less cursing, more movement, more consistency, more precision.

But it hasn’t flowed.

And the opening and closing remain… weak.

Forced.

Lame.

Tonight I was writing, trying to figure out how to open and close. Maybe try to write it out again. Except getting all that feedback before was *REALLY* overwhelming. I’m not sure it’s the ideal path for me.

I want all that feedback – the problem resides with HOW I PROCESS.

The other point that occurred tonight is that I could create a speech as if it were a piece of choreography. How did my strongest pieces start? How did they end?

One point that I won’t need to worry about for the next competition is that I found a business dress and blazer that I can wear with a pair of black tights and black heels.

Very conservative.

Very traditional.

Very boring.

This entire process has been an interesting evolution of finding the balance between past and present. Conservative and artistic. Learning and winning.

The gut and the heart and the brain.

What would you do?

Share this nice post:
  • Christian Gandee

    To end always tie back to something youve referenced earlier in the speach, either comically or adding more insight to whatever it was youve referenced. Keeps you from having the awkward and its done feel, closure. And it has the listener reference something in their memory that youve put there,somewhat like conputer hacking, it somehow make them more receptive similarly to asking someone to borrow a pencil.

  • Amanda Rowcliffe

    Speak from your pure heart. Your dancing is beautiful because you dance from your center…maybe a good metaphor for that balance between left/right,yin/yang, liberal/conservative. Not sure you should go completely conservative in dress…it wouldn’t be you. Can you pop it with some color? Or wear something crazy underneath? Having listened to hundreds of students give speeches for the past 15 years, the ones that stand out in my mind are the ones that flowed, as you said. And that wove a story with some repetitions in the start and end (as Christian said below). Amazing accomplishment already, Rain.