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Writing a Speech for the International Speech Contest What makes a winning speech?

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1 Writing a Speech for the International Speech Contest What makes a winning speech?

2 Introduction This presentation was originally given at the District 11 TLI in January, 2008. At that time I had entered the International Speech Contest four times, never having progressed before the district level. In 2008, though, I progressed all the way to the International final. So, I have since modified this presentation to include lessons learned from that experience. If you are entering this year, good luck! It can be a wild ride…

3 International The big one! Six levels –Club, Area, Division, District, Region, International Think: –What do you remember from the best contest speeches? –What do you remember from the best speeches youve heard outside TM?

4 What Do The Judges Want? This is the wrong question –Practically speaking, judges are a very heterogeneous group –Moreover, when you get up on any stage, you should be speaking for the audiences benefit, not for the judges The better questions to ask yourself are: –What do I want the audience to get out of this? –What do I want to get out of this? –What does the ballot ask for?

5 Questions to Ask Yourself What do I want the audience to get out of this speech? –As I prepared for the WCPS final, Darren LaCroix (WCPS Champion, 2001) repeatedly told me, This is not about you – its about the audience. –Do I want to move them to action? –Do I want them to change the way they think? –Do I want to bring about an emotional state?

6 Questions to Ask Yourself What do I want to get out of this? –The speech contest is also a growth exercise –So, its worthwhile to ask how you are hoping to grow from this exercise as a speaker, and as an individual

7 The Ballot In terms of the contest, think not in terms of judges, but in terms of the ballot The ballot does allow a lot of subjective judgment However, attention to the ballot can help you understand why sometimes the speech you remember most isnt necessarily the one that wins

8 The Ballot on Content Speech development (20 points) –speech is structured around a purpose, as a unified whole Effectiveness (15 points) –audience response, subjective judgment, clear purpose Speech value (15 points) –responsibility to say something meaningful to the audience, a contribution to [the audiences] thinking

9 The Ballot on Content Be sure to think about all of these –Coming up with your core message is the most important step in speechwriting –Darren LaCroix and Jim Key both told me that I should be able to summarize my key message into 10 words or less –Within the speech, you should challenge your audience to think about how your message relates to their lives, and give them time to think about this

10 What One Champion Says Jim Key, 2003 World Champion: –Johnny Carson has said that people will pay more to be entertained than educated; however, if you can educate while entertaining, then you're truly hit upon something. –Talk about something you completely believe in, from which you sincerely believe that the audience would benefit.

11 Structure The ballot emphasizes being clear of purpose Use a clear structure –Grab attention immediately –Have a clear introduction –Develop a meaningful, coherent speech body –Revisit introduction or body in conclusion

12 Delivery Consider the statement on the next slide –First, imagine it as delivered by the most boring professor in the world –Then, imagine it again, as delivered by a professor who is dynamic, dramatic, and really cares about her material

13 Delivery So with PET scans, MRIs, CAT scans, EEGs, and BEAM imaging we have all sorts of brain imaging equipment at our disposal; however, psychology still cant address Descartes original question, of how the mind is connected to the brain. Psychology still cant tell us what consciousness is.

14 Delivery From this exercise you should have learned that its important to think about how you deliver every sentence –This is not to say that every sentence should be delivered with maximum drama –Rather, there are no throwaway sentences; every sentence is important, every sentence can benefit from thoughtful consideration as to its delivery

15 The Ballot on Delivery Physical (10 points): –appearance should reinforce the speech, body language should support points through gestures, expressions, body positioning –What can you do? Move around – but not excessively! Use the entire speaking area Address the whole audience Videotape your rehearsals and performances –Sometimes what the audience sees is different from what you think they see

16 The Ballot on Delivery Voice (10 points) –flexible, variety of rate and volume, clearly understood –Think about pauses, tone and pace Darren LaCroix emphasizes the use of pauses to let the audience think and absorb your points A great contest speech is often like a rollercoaster ride - you lift the audience up and down, around corners in directions they never expected. You steer them using your delivery

17 The Ballot on Delivery Manner (10 points) –indirect revelation of the speakers real self, enthusiasm and assurance, interest in the audience and confidence in their reactions –Dont just let the audience hear a speech, let them experience you as a speaker Your confidence and enthusiasm send the message that your message should be as exciting to them as it is to you

18 The Ballot on Language Smallest component of the point scoring, but may be the easiest place to lose a few points, or to set yourself apart to gain points –The higher the level of the contest, the more likely that the top speakers will only be separated by a point or two

19 The Ballot on Language Appropriateness (10 points) –words that relate to your speech purpose and to the audience. Correctness (10 points) –proper use of grammar and correct pronunciation to show you are the master of the words being used –have someone whos grammatically knowledgeable listen to your speech a few times, to catch things you might not notice

20 Language Try to develop a few powerful turns of phrase, things you want the audience to remember This is not a matter of complex wording, often quite the opposite –Straightforward wording can pack real power: I have a dream Ask not what your country can do for you Tear down this wall

21 Language Exercise Change the language to make this sentence more interesting: George got out of bed, went downstairs, stepped outside and picked up the mail. Think about ways you could change the wording to make this more vivid and have the audience feel what George feels

22 So, What Else? Practice Jim Key practiced at 20+ clubs for each of regional and international levels, and hundreds of times privately Darren LaCroix: –"I knew I was not the most talented; not the best speaker in the world. But, I thought, I can be the best prepared."

23 Finally… Before contests, get your game face on –Drink enough water to avoid dry mouth –Make sure your energy level is up –Walk up there with a spring in your step and a sense of enthusiasm Enjoy the rush!

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