Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contest

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It’s contest time again at Cogito and this time we’ve got something very special for you, it’s our annual Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contest. If you want a night filled with fun and laughter then the Lantern Centre is the place to be on Tuesday 13th September at 7.30pm.

We start the evening with the humorous speech contest with three speakers  whose only goal is make you roar with laughter then we challenge our members impromptu speaking in our Table Topics contest, and if you though the speeches were funny, you’ll be amazed at what people can come up during table topics.

It’s going to be a great night, we’d love to see you there!

To see the agenda for the contest click here

 

 

image: Robert Yocum (Flickr)

Exciting Events at The Lantern Centre

Thanks to everyone who came to our Storytelling night last week, we had a great night filled with tales of mythical beasts, near-death experiences and wardrobe malfunctions.
But the fun doesn’t end there, we have three exciting meetings coming up over the next few weeks:

 

May 10th – Persistence and Motivation
In next week’s meeting, Jean-Marie asks the question – “How can we stay motivated over long periods as we work towards our goals?”. Join Jean-Marie and our speakers as they explore how to find the motivation that we all need to reach our goals.

 

May 24th – Heroes
This meeting will be dedicated to the heroes who inspire us, those that drive us to step out of our comfort zone and become the people we’ve always dreamt of.
Come along and share with us your heroes, we’re still looking for speakers and other roles to be filled, contact Dermot for more details.

 

June 14th – Evaluation Workshop
Evaluation is the key to becoming a great speaker and we’ve got an incredibly experienced evaluator coming to the club to give us an Evaluation workshop that will equip you with the skills to help your fellow club members improve and grow.

 

 Speaking Tips
And finally, check out our Facebook page for great tips and tricks to improve your presentations, for instance:
  • The 22 rules for Perfect Storytelling
  • How To Cure Stagefright
  • What to Do with Your Hands When Speaking in Public
  • The Neuroscience of Storytelling
  • The Seven Steps to The Perfect Story
See you at our next meeting
Cogito Toastmasters Dublin

The Secret to Becoming an Amazing Speaker

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To become an amazing speaker there is only one thing that you need.

Feedback.

It is through feedback that we grow as speakers because if we don’t know what’s not working then we can’t fix it. The more feedback you get, the better an idea you’ll have of what you need to do to get your message across successfully.

Every time you speak, look for feedback from your audience members. When you practice, find friends or colleagues to watch you practice and get them to give you honest feedback about how you spoke. From them you will learn the parts that were clear or confusing, fascinating or boring, or too short or too long but sometimes the feedback that you get tells you what doesn’t work but doesn’t tell you how to make it better, and that’s where we come in.

At Cogito Toastmasters we love to give feedback. Each time you speak at the club you will be assigned an experienced member who first will watch and listen to your speech and then will show you not only what you did well but more importantly give you tips on how you can make your presentations even better.

Not only that, everyone in the audience also fills in feedback sheets so you get tips and suggestions from 10-15 other people. It is this focus on feedback and improvement that is the secret behind the success of the Toastmasters program.

Come along to our next meeting and see how our evaluations can give you the feedback you need to take your speaking to the next level.

 

If you are interested in learning more about how evaluations are given in Toastmasters you can read some of our posts on evaluations:

 

 

 

Are You Ready To Be A Champion?

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Every year, all across the world, 15,000 Toastmasters clubs hold their annual International Speech and Evaluation contests, this is the first round of a contest that will result in one person being named the World Champion of Public Speaking.

And there’s a lot of people who really really want to become World Champion, they can spend months writing, practicing and refining their speeches, testing them out on multiple audiences and tweaking them until they have that perfect formula.

It’s hard work but it pays off and Jim Key is a great example of this. In 2001 Jim Key won his way through the first five levels of speech contest to get to the World Final and came 2nd. After being so close to winning, in 2002 he tried again, he got through to the World Final again and got 2nd place again. He may have been frustrated but he didn’t give up, as in 2003 he was back again and this time he won. And if you think that’s good,  Jock Elliot fought his way to the World Finals 8 times and finally won in 2011.

Every contest is adventure for anyone who takes part as you never know how far you might go but there is one thing guaranteed you will be a better speaker and communicator afterwards.

To get you in the mood for the contest, from Friday onwards we’ll be posting the World Championship winning speeches on our Facebook page.

Come along to our contest on March 8th to see some potential World Champions as they eloquently deliver their speeches and charm, inspire and entertain you.

 

image: pixlars (Flickr)

Celebrate Innovation at Our Next Meeting

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On the 23rd February 1455, the Gutenberg Bible was published for the very first time. The technology that printed the book, the printing press, has been ranked as one of the top innovations since the invention of the wheel.

Our next meeting is this Tuesday 23rd February and our theme will be Innovation and throughout the meeting we will celebrate the people and ideas that changed the world.

We’ve got a great line-up for the evening, strong speeches from Derville, Jean-Marie and Stefan, the always inventive Dermot will give everyone the chance to get up and speak during Table Topics and our special guest, Stephen, will guide us through the meeting.

The meeting begins at 7.30pm in the Lantern Centre so come along and help us celebrate the spirit of innovation.

For more details of our meeting click here.

 

Image: Thomas Hawk

 

Making Your Message Memorable

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What happens when you finish a presentation? What happens to your words and ideas? Are they carried in the hearts and minds of your audience out into the world or are they instantly forgotten?

As presenters we want to give our words and ideas a long life and a good way to do this is to use Chip and Dan Heath’s SUCCESs model to burn your ideas into your audience’s minds.

The SUCCESs model defines the six elements that your speech should have to make it memorable:

  1. Simple – Your message should have one and only one message, it should be clear to the audience what your message is.
  2. Unexpected – You need to surprise your audience because they’re more likely to remember something that  is unexpected. Think about it, when you talk about your day in work, do you tell people about all the normal everyday things that happened or do you tell people about the unplanned, the unexpected? We tend to remember better that which surprises us, like the twist in a movie or book, or the time your sister fell off her bike and broke her tooth. In order to make your message memorable, you need to surprise your audience. Subway’s Jared story is a perfect example of this with its memorable illogic – “He lost weight by eating fast food? That’s impossible!”
  3. Concrete – Make it real and tangible for your audience, add details because details help them to imagine better what you are trying to tell them, the more you help your audience imagine, the more likely they are to remember.
  4. Credible – In order to make us believe in the message, we need to make it credible, and we can do this in a number of ways, we can use experts (scientists, engineers, doctors), we can use people that our audience look up to or find inspiring (celebrities, respected public figures, speakers) or we can use someone that has shared our problem and has found a way to solve it, a real person, just like us.
  5. Emotion – A great way to get people to remember your message is to get them emotionally involved, make them care, make them angry, make them want to do something as a result of hearing your message. We can do this with stories but we also need to make the story’s hero someone that the audience can emotionally relate to – a girl suffering from malnutrition who could be their daughter, niece or friend, or a man who has money problems, we all know someone like that, we can relate to their problems and their situation.
  6. Story – Think about when you were a child and how effective the story about “the boy who cried wolf” was as a lesson to you, would your parents telling you not to lie have been as effective? We love stories, they involve us, they spark our imagination, they help us remember.

 

This book is all about how to get your message across clearly and effectively and it does exactly that. It takes the six principles of its SUCCESs model (Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotion, Stories) and applies them effectively throughout the book. But where it comes out strongest is in its use of Principal 6 (Stories) as each point they make is illustrated by a collection of well-chosen stories.

The stories are great, the type of stories that stick in your mind. There’s one about how one teacher explained racism to a class of young children after the death of Martin Luther King by dividing them into blue eyes and brown eyes and treating each group differently and that lesson was so powerful for the class that they all remember it 30 or 40 years later and it’s a story I won’t forget anytime soon.

Their message is simple and clear and the way they get it across is both thoughtful and entertaining. Definitely a book worth reading for anyone who wants to become a better presenter and speaker.

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die – Chip Heath & Dan Heath