“I don’t like entering competitions – I’m not very competitive.”
“I’m not going to enter the competition – unless I know I will win.”
“I’m entering the competition – because, if nothing else, I’ll grow and learn from the experience.”
No prizes for guessing which of those three statements resonates most with me!
Today marked one of the three London Finals for the Toastmasters International Speech and Evaluation Contests. Think of it as “Round 3″ of the Contest Season, with five speakers in each, representing a total of 20+ public speaking clubs across central and south-western London.
But in the morning, we had two workshops which shed valuable light on the benefit of entering public speaking contests.
First up was Bob Ferguson (UK & Ireland Champion of Public Speaking in 2002) who spoke of the tremendous positive impetus that the pressure to compete gave him. Lessons learned included the value of:
- always having a log-book to jot down ideas
- recognising that a great speech is 99% perspiration, 1% inspiration
- treating contests as an opportunity to step outside your comfort zone
- never EVER throwing a speech away – archive it!
Next up, the thoroughly entertaining and impressive Gayna Cooper – herself a seasoned competitor within the public speaking world. For Gayna, my sense was that contests have given her an opportunity to develop and hone material which can then be used outside of the public speaking club environment.
Fantastic. I’m reminded of an observation made by Warren Evans, professional speaker and former President of the Canadian Professional Speakers Association: audiences expect your best content, not your ‘untried-untested-experimental’ new content!
For this reason, it’s a pleasure to give a ‘shout out’ for Gayna’s upcoming humorous speaking tour of the UK later this year!
Irrespective of whether you’re in the public speaking world or not, when’s YOUR next opportunity to put yourself under real pressure?
When will you next compete?
Go on, dare you…
The Division L London Toastmasters Finals will be held on Friday 26th April in central London – click here for details.
The UK & Ireland District Conference in Torquay will be held on 10th-12th May 2013. Click here.
If you’d like to develop YOUR public speaking/presentation skills, check out Simon’s next ‘Master Your Presentation Skills’ course on Friday 17th May 2013. Click for details!
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