Mar 27

Toastmasters Mystery Speaking – The Hidden Benefits

I’m going to extol the virtues of being a Mystery Speaker at Toastmasters again. I did another stint as a Mystery Speaker at a club called Tube Talk last night. Tube Talk’s run by a company called Metronet Rail. According to their website they are “responsible for maintaining, replacing and upgrading all infrastructure on nine of London Underground’s Tube lines”. They’re a closed club available only to Metronet employees.

I got the gig thanks to their Treasurer, Iain Duthie whom I met at a recent seminar. I delivered the same speech that I delivered for Meridian Speakers, my last Mystery Speaker gig. Although I cheekily reworked the ending this time.

I got some nice laughs and another 3 great evaluations, taking the evaluations for that speech to six. In the bar afterwards, I also had an evaluation from Rory, one from Iain and one from David Jones, who won the International Speech Contest at Excalibur Speakers recently. This brings my total to 9 evaluations! 9 evaluations for one speech! That’s just ridonculous. But, oh so great.

Are you beginning to see the benefits of being a Mystery Speaker?

I’ve now got all these different opinions on how to improve that particular speech. I even had a suggestion to enter the Humorous Speech Contest with the speech later in the year. I’ll probably pull something else out the bag for then though.

Now, there is a slight danger of being overwhelmed with so many different opinions that you don’t know who to listen to and end up being overwhelmed. But I felt that in my particular case there were a lot of aspects to my evaluations that I could take up and address. The recommendations I had mainly focused on structuring and the speech’s theme and not really on the delivery or the humour.

There were one or two comments about my delivery, which I hadn’t noticed and no one else and picked up on before, so that will prove valuable. But as I said the main areas were the structure.

I try to always tape record (my digital dictaphone’s a bit rubbish, hence the use of dead technology) my speeches so I can play them back later.

When I play them back I generally script them so I have a record of the speech and also something I can edit based upon my evaluations and a PAR review if appropriate.

I’d like to get my speeches videotaped because then I’ll see exactly how I delivered things and where I can improve. Sometimes it’s not always easy to picture a recommendation based on a delivery. But if you can see what they see then so much the better.

As it stands I’ve been able to work in some more material that will help with the development of my after dinner speech and I know the key areas that I need to improve.

If you have the opportunity to be a Mystery Speaker, either now or in the future then grab the opportunity by the lapels.

If you haven’t joined Toastmasters yet, then do because not only do you get the benefits of the “Competent Communicator” and all the other manuals, but you might be able to be a mystery speaker too. You can rapidly improve because of all the evaluations you get for one speech and you will also be enormously helpful to the club that you speak at.


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  1. Rory Marriott

    After 9 evaluations – 7 of which I know the content. What would you say are the key things you would incorporate/change to your speech if you delivered it again.

  2. Jason Peck

    Just noticed I never responded to this post… I think that perhaps I needed to make it more of a speech. I experimented with starting off with street jokes first and then finding the theme to work around that.

    In hindsight nearly a year later (at least I’m replying even if it is somewhat late), I would create the speech first before uncovering the humour latent within the content.

  1. Pro Humorist » Blog Archive » How to Win a Speech Contest - Even if you lose!

    […] wanted to enter the contest at all.  Why? Well, I had a lot on my plate already. I’d been a Mystery Speaker twice already in the last week using a completely different speech. I have been mentally focused on a larger […]

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