This is the text of a speech I originally wrote for the International Speech Competition at my Toastmasters club in April 2012. (I won the club competition and came second in the area competition a week or so later.)
In July I gave a slightly modified version, reproduced here, as a 5 minute Lightning Talk at OSCON in Portland OR. Continue reading →
I’ve been a member of Shannon Toastmasters for several years now.
Toastmasters is an amazing organization: “220,000 members in 11,300 clubs in 90 countries, offering a proven – and enjoyable! – way to practice and hone communication and leadership skills”. It works, it really does, and I’m especially blessed to have a wonderfully friendly club nearby. I’d recommend it highly to anyone – especially if you need to do any kind of presentations.
So anyway, toastmasters has helped me improve my skills in various ways over these last few years. Tonight I discovered it helped me with the local Cub Scouts.
I’ve just started helping out. Tonight I was asked to teach the Recovery Position to a series of groups of 6 or so lively 8-11 year olds. Thrown in at the deep-end!
I had about 10 minutes with each group to try to get the basics across in a way that would make an impact and stay with them. I got them to rotate being the unconscious person and the helper, and dramatised the point that by doing it the right way even the smallest of them could roll over the heaviest of adults.
It only dawned on me afterwards that it was a little like the Table Topics game we play at the start of every Toastmaster meeting: Convey a message with a clear structure and impact in a short space of time.