Here’s a follow up to my recent post How to Win a Speech Contest – Even if you lose! I’ve done it again, but, alas, not in the same way. Last night I came in 2nd at the Area Contest for the International Speech Contest, but I still walked out a winner. Maybe you’re thinking: “okay, I can understand you sayng that last time because you, ultimately, won the contest. But not this time, surely?”
Well, I’m afraid that it is true. How did I win this time then?
I did exactly what I did last time, I made the speech count towards a speech module on one of the Advanced Manuals. David West, my evaluator, gave me some very useful feedback for how the speech could be improved for the module. It was valuable because I can see how I can improve my technique for the remaining modules in this particular manual. So there was a nice win.
The biggest win of the evening came from the feedback that I received from most of the audiences members after the show. Virtually everybody I spoke to connected in some way to the speech that I delivered. They felt as though I was speaking to them about their story. You can’t make trophies out of that!!
Not only that but my speech writing and presentation skills have improved enormously as a direct result of me competing in the contest. I still have an award-winning speech on my hands which will provide the basis for a keynote speech further down the line.
I’m reminded of a quote by American composer Charles Ives who said: “awards are merely badges of mediocrity”, but I’m guessing old Charlie boy never won one. For me, it was great to win at club level and, of course, it would’ve been fantastic to win the Area contest.
But, whether you’re a Toastmaster or not, set about creating the best damn speech that you can and make sure you connect with your audience so that they have a great takeaway message.
Aim to be original and convey your personal story then you can create something timeless. That’s where true art lies. Then you’ll have members of the audience come up to you afterwards telling you how much they enjoyed your speech. That’s your reward and how you can really win a speech contest, even if you lose!
I’ve just discovered my previous post How to Win a Speech Contest – Even if you lose! got picked up by one of the Toastmasters District websites. It’s District 2 Toastmasters in the U.S. and serves Western Washington from Kent to the Canadian Border. Here’s a link to the page where they talk about my article (there’s a link back to my blog on there so you can go round in circles). So thanks a bunch to those guys for picking up and linking to my article!!