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Tag Archives | Public speaking

Helping sportsmen with sincere mustaches reach hipsters with ironic ones

MAFWAI often wonder what, if any, impact my articles have. Sure, they’re (usually) fun to write and (hopefully) enjoyable to read, but do they lead anyone to action? Beyond reader comments after the article, social media posts, and a few nice words (sometimes) from my parents, it’s hard to gauge.

Last month I spoke with the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ (MAFWA) communications officials. They were discussing ways to recruit and retain hunters. On the heels of my feature for Louisville Magazine, “The Deerslayer,” they asked me to discuss “leveraging media to a non-traditional audience.” Basically these people with sincere mustaches want to figure out how to reach folks with ironic mustaches.

So for about an hour, we talked about how they could engage foodies, locavores, hipsters and the like. Hopefully our conversation left them with insight into reaching an audience that includes a lot of non-hunters who might be interested in filling up their freezer with fresh, organic, local game meat.

Thanks to Brian Blank at the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources for the invite.

Photo: Courtesy MAFWA

The airing of the links

Originally I’d intended to write posts about each of these links separately, but my notebook is starting to fill with great blog posts to share. So instead I’m just posting this list of some of the better communication-related articles I’ve found recently:

The thrilling conclusion to the Toastmasters’ humorous speech contest

Saturday was the final round of the Toastmasters’ Humorous Speech Contest. While I was pleased with my performance–I was told it was my best rendition of my speech, “Zach Everson’s entry in the humorous speech contest”—I didn’t place. As in the previous round, I had a few jitters beforehand, but felt calm when it was my turn.

I went first, which is a handicap. As in Olympic events like figure skating and gymnastics (and the comparison of Toastmasters with the Olympics ends here), judges often are reluctant to give early competitors high marks so they can leave room to score possible great performances from subsequent contestants. Also every other participant had been a Toastmasters member for at least six years; I’ve only been participating for seven months. All of the other speeches, however, were fantastic. They were both funny and well delivered.

Nevertheless, I didn’t join Toastmasters to compete, but rather to hone my public-speaking skills. And Saturday night I did just that, speaking on a stage and with a microphone, both for the first time, in front of 200 people. I am glad the contest is finished, however; I’ve been practicing this speech since August and am bored of it.

Tomorrow night I am giving another speech at my club. Standing before an audience of just 15 people is a lot easier now.

I advanced to the next level in Toastmasters humorous speech contest

Well, I joined Toastmasters to improve my public speaking by getting experience talking in front of an audience. And while I’ve tried to give a speech at every meeting I’ve attended, the Humorous Speech Contest is helping me achieve my goal.

A week from last Friday I won the district contest, meaning I will compete again—this time at the division level (pictures from the competition, including one of me looking like I’m about to get a hook in my mouth, are on my club’s site). There were about 50 people at the district contest; the audience at the next level is expected to be than 200.

As for the contest, I went fifth out of the six contestants. When it was my turn I knew that my speech was funnier than the ones I heard. My concern, however, was my delivery. Some of the other contestants were Toastmasters veterans with a polished stage presence. My other problem was that I came close to running over the 7:30 time limit and had to cut off the ending.

There’s a month before the next competition, however, so I have ample time to hone my delivery.

District-level Toastmasters humorous speech contest time, date, and location announced

I have no idea why Toastmasters officials don’t provide the time, date, and location of the next round of the Humorous Speech Contest at the previous competition, but the district contest will be 6:30 p.m. October 6 at 810 Vermont Ave., Washington, DC. Yes, I’m spending the Friday night of a long weekend at Toastmasters. Perhaps I shouldn’t just compete in the humorous speech contest, but also should enter the dork off.

It’s unfortunate that contests are on weekends, as many people will not be able to compete: a friend of mine won the first two rounds of the humorous speech contest in Louisville, KY, with a hilarious spiel about the plight of redheads, but had to forfeit because the next round is on a Saturday morning and he’ll be out of town.

Anyway, I need to get back to rehearsing: members of my club gave me some great suggestions for improving my speech (add another imitation, don’t use the podium, and project myself more), and I need to incorporate them.