Being Coached makes the difference

Last night – 19th September 2013 – I won the Area 45 Humorous Public Speaking Competition in Toastmasters’ District 70.   Although I’ve probably entered dozens of contests over my thirty odd years with Toastmasters this is the first time I’ve ever won at Area Level.  I put it down to one thing in particular, for in every other instance I thought I had the right material and had put in plenty of practice – I put it down to having been given specific advice; I put it down to coaching.

For that I have my friend, Allan Davies, to thank.  Allan is not only a Toastmaster of considerable experience but a stand-up comedian.   I asked him to look at my written speech; sent it to him by email.   He came back with some corrections and advice.  We then spoke on the telephone.  He gave me more hints and ways to get a laugh.

They worked.  I took along an audio recorder which I placed some distance away on a table.  I wanted to analyse how I went.  Well, as I said, I went very well – won the prize in fact.  So I’d like to tell you just a little about the presentation.

It had to fit into a five to seven minute time slot.  It went for 6 minutes and fifteen seconds.   Laughs?   It got plenty.  On playing it back I got thirteen very clear audience laughs and three chortles or chuckles from people close to the recorder’s microphone.  Oh, and I dressed for the part, wearing just a dark blue singlet and a dark beanie and black pants.  I know that attire got the audience in the mood for something different right from the start, possibly because so many know me as a rather conservative dresser.

The opening one-liner didn’t get the laugh I expected, so there is room for improvement here.  Likewise, the final word of the speech did not get the big laugh I’d anticipated, even though the audience was left laughing.   I would have like something particularly memorable here.

Overall, though, it went very well.  And, to reiterate, I now believe that it was those important little pieces of advice given to me by a master of humour, my friend, Allan, that made all the difference.  So my advice to you speakers, if you want to improve, to get beyond your present ‘plateu of accomplishment,’ get yourself a public speaking coach.

About Tom Ware

I'm into speaking to audiences. My particular forte is telling stories. Morevover, I've addressed over 750 audiences and in excess of 40,000 people during the past eighteen years - excluding those I've addressed in my Toastmasters clubs. Additionally, I've presented classes to adults on Metaphysics and Spirituality (non sectarian) and Popular Psychology between 2001 and 2008. I'm an avid writer, been at it for forty-five years. Speaking is a passion, of course, as mentioned above. I started in 1972 with Toastmasters. My speciality is Storytelling and some years ago people began to flatter me with the titles: Prince of Storytellers, and Master Storyteller. Also, Tusitala Tom (Tusitala means Storyteller in Polynesian) I am also into 'serious' meditation (Vipassana as taught by S N Goenka) Started that in 1986. Additionally, I'm an Automatic Writing practioner and have been able to 'channel' for over forty years. Bit about me. Born in London UK and migrated to Australia in 1951. Started my first job day after my fifteenth birthday in that year. I've been a postal worker, sailor, aviation air-ground man, overseas telegraph operator. I've worked for an electrical power-supply company, been a truck driver, a foundry labourer, laboratory assistant, a police radio operator, and office worker - even an Antarctic expeditioner. Worked and lived in a number of countries, but am now 'retired' and enjoying life - probably as never before. I've been married - yes to the same woman! - for fifty-three years and have three grown up children and four grandchildren.
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