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What are some appropriate topics for speech project 4 in Toastmasters?

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As originally answered on Quora.com ...

How to Say It? Good question! The number four project is designed to help you experience the difference between crafting your speech for the spoken work verses the written word. Is there really a difference? Most certainly!

When you write prose, you use punctuation marks in your story to let your reader know extra information that they need to understand the written material. A ? lets the reader know that a question is being asked. An ! at the end of a sentence would indicate that the preceding sentence has some importance. As readers, if we aren’t clear or are confused about something we have just read, we can usually easily go back and reread the previous section for clarification.

Writing for the spoken word is different. Since you can’t use punctuation marks, you have to provide your listener with audio and visual cues to help them interpret what you are saying. Hand gestures, your posture and facial movements all come into play to help interpret your message, at least for a sighted audience. To speak effectively to an unsighted audience or audience member, you need to paint pictures with your words.

You need to keep your sentences short, so that your listeners can focus on what is happening in the moment, not trying to process the relationship to this sentence to the previous one or trying to process subclauses of an ongoing sentence. I hope the previous sentence illustrates the point. It was long and contained multiple clauses separated by commas. To speak the same content, you would need to break it down to multiple, short sentences.

This question asks about appropriate topics. I have completed this #4 project 15 times so far. I don’t think in the terms of ‘appropriate’ topics. I find that the best topics for this particular manual project is stories that I have shared with other people over coffee, or perhaps family get-togethers. The last time I presented this project was entitled “Adventures with Bob.” It was a story about an eccentric former work colleague. His antics gave me lots to work with.

Toastmasters encourages us to write out our speeches in advance to help us edit and fine tune them. In 22 years of speech creation, I have probably only written a handful of them. I craft them in my head and edit them in mind. This is my style. For the most part, it works for me. It can cause problems though with speaking to time. However, looking back through my manuals, I see a list of speech titles and only have a vague recollection of what the speech was about. I’ve also missed the opportunity to harvest my past speeches, to be able to repurpose them and write articles and create new speeches from them.

I would suggest telling a story that you love sharing. Keep your sentences short and to the point. If this is your first time through the manual, try incorporating some of the ideas that you practiced in your previous presentations. In addition, give consideration to factoring in the feedback that your fellow club members have given you on your previous projects.

For me, the most important thing is to have fun! Learn from your evaluators. You can always do the project over and over again as I have done throughout the years.

Rae Stonehouse

Author Bio:

Rae A. Stonehouse is a Canadian born author & speaker. His professional career as a Registered Nurse working predominantly in psychiatry/mental health, has spanned four decades.

Rae has embraced the principal of CANI (Constant and Never-ending Improvement) as promoted by thought leaders such as Tony Robbins and brings that philosophy to each of his publications and presentations.

Rae has dedicated the latter segment of his journey through life to overcoming his personal inhibitions. As a 27+ year member of Toastmasters International he has systematically built his self-confidence and communicating ability. He is passionate about sharing his lessons with his readers and listeners. His publications thus far are of the personal/professional self-help, self-improvement genre and systematically offer valuable sage advice on a specific topic.

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