Danielle, Jessie and Melody discuss their experience at the Toastmasters Convention and analyze some of the speakers
Melody and Jessie were kind enough to help out at the Inspired Coaching booth at the Toastmasters International Convention last week. We got chatting about our experiences at the Alum Open Mic evening. . .
Jessie: I guess my favourite part of the convention was just meeting all these people when they were coming to the booth and what I got to learn about them, their background and what they were struggling with and their public speaking journey. I liked speaking to people, getting to know them, and it was good to see that they were very interested in what Inspired Coaching has to offer.
We had a really long in-depth chat, so we won't post the whole thing here. Please read the full article, watch the other videos and check out our photos.
In my line of work, I hear two things over and over again: “but I need to control my emotions, I can’t be all emotional!” and “But if I’m so passionate about this, why can’t I summon up any emotional expression on stage?” I usually hear these from the same person.
We have all these rules. I can't feel. I can't suppress. I can't fake it. Wait... I can't feel? Who said that? Oh right, society.
If you know me, you may have heard me rant about how emotional shaming is running rampant in the world today. We’re expected not to feel, or not to show it anyway, not to let anything affect us, but then as soon as we’re put on stage we’re expected to manufacture this deep meaningful and truthful emotional life from… well from all that stuff we’ve been told to suppress for decades. That’s easy and healthy. It’s just like a switch right? Or less like a switch and more like a tap where you can masterfully eke out just enough, without being bowled over by the torrent.
Nothing says luxury to me like having the time to read a book. I'm so grateful to have these two weeks off over the holidays to relax, rejuvenate and read.
The harder I work, the more I recognize the importance of relaxing and feeding my soul. It's taken me almost all year to figure out what that means to me (fun time always used to be time spent building my business or working on theatre projects, but now that's my full-time gig I've had to find something else to create variety) but I think I'm starting to get the hang of relaxing again after years of being on the go non-stop.
This morning I went to the first Transforming Speakers TED training that I have been able to attend in a while, having missed the last two due to previous commitments. It was inspiring to see how far each member of the group had come in their journey while I had been away. Today we shared our topic ideas, and gave each other feedback on how to refine our messages and build cohesive talk structures.
The meeting felt more like a mastermind session than a report on a homework assignment. Everyone got stuck in, asking probing questions and offering suggestions. The room was full of ideas sparking off of one another in little fizzles of inspiration. We're all still in the early stages yet, rough outlines only, but the hard part is over.
It's been a crazy few weeks and my goal of evaluating at least three TED talks a night has been abandoned.
I may have to resign myself to doing these evaluations in longer sittings, giving up on the ever elusive concept of consistency and surrendering to my more familiar binge-watching tendencies. Today I watched ten TED talks in a row. I am still hopelessly behind. I also missed the last training meeting with my group because I was teaching my own workshop. I feel like I've bitten off more than I can chew.
Still, I am feeling really hopeful about this project with Transforming Speakers. The TED talk evaluation process comes naturally to me. The advantage of binge watching videos is that seeing multiple talks in a row gives me more perspective on structure and content, dampening my usual preoccupation with the speaker's vocal delivery, which is always first and foremost to my enjoyment on a personal level. The talks from this evening's list were less inspiring than the first batch. Perhaps I am getting jaded already.
I have signed up for an extremely cool course on TED training through Transforming Speakers. We will meet in person six times and be given assignments and coaching on how to discern our key "TED" idea, and prepare a powerful message. The course is based on the book "How to Rock a TED Talk" by Cathey Armillas. As a speaker and a coach, I am not only excited to be exploring how to craft and study TED talks for personal reasons, but also so that I can be of more use to my clients.
The first meeting was quite intimidating.
Mattias Martens wrote a beautifully eloquent post on his own blog about a talk I did at a Friends in Wonderment Atheist Group Meetup in Vancouver, BC. I have included the full text below, but I highly recommend you check out his blog and his other writing. In fact, he's looking for Beta readers for his new novel! If you (or anyone you know) is interested please sign up now to get first peek at the new novel.
The Science and Practice of Speaking and Being Heard - February 19, 2016
Danielle, a professional voice coach who deals frequently with the challenges of public speaking, delivered a talk on human acoustics. First we heard some of the history of acoustics, beginning with the architectural techniques the Greeks used to make their actors and orators heard in crowded amphitheatres. Then we moved on to the acoustics of the body itself. Through the body, it’s possible to apply some of the tricks the Greeks used to make their actors boom, and unpack an amphitheatre wherever you might need one.
Valentijn Dhaenens came to Vancouver BC with his touring solo show, BigMouth, a tapestry of the world's greatest speeches woven together with snippets of song. The results was riveting. I wrote a review for Plank Magazine, I have included a snippet the text below. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE.
Plank Magazine is a fantastic resource for honest and down to earth peer reviews on live performance. We're always looking for more reviewers so if you have opinions and would like to share them online, let us know!
BigMouth - Makes You Think
"Valentijn Dhaenens explained to the audience in the opening night talk-back of BigMouth that he wanted to provide an unfiltered experience, full and unapologetic, leaving his audience free to think what they please. I must admit, going into the performance at the York Theatre earlier that evening, I was expecting something of a dramatized lecture, speeches interspersed and contextualized by commentary. Instead, Dhaenens plunged headfirst into his material, transitioning from one oration to the next with only a live soundscape, a whiteboard projection and his chameleon physicality to keep us on track.
It was a strong choice. If presented any other way, this piece could have been dustily academic, scattered, or overly biased. Instead, the speeches came to life. They shone and burned so brightly that the darkness between them provided a startling depth of perspective..." READ THE FULL REVIEW.
If you're like most people, you experience some jitters around the idea of public speaking. These 5 steps won't make your nerves disappear completely, but they will make your life on stage A LOT easier.
1. Rehearse your links:
You don't need to know your speech word for word. You don't need to spend hours rehearsing every day either. All you really need is to know which points to hit when. But you need to know that backwards. Make sure you have very clear, logical links from one point to the next. Practice them out of order to make sure it's a logical link, not a memorized one. If the links have a logical progression it doesn't matter how blank your mind goes you will never get lost. You don't need to hold the whole speech in your head from beginning to end, all you need to know is the very next step.
Have you ever wondered what the point of tongue twisters was? Ever felt like they don't do very much? You probably learned tongue twisters as a child. When you're a kid the entire point of tongue twisters is to go faster than the kid next to you. So what possible application can they have in real life?
Contrary to popular belief the point of tongue twisters is NOT to go a fast as you can. Not initially anyway. The point is to limber up your facial muscles in order to create greater dexterity and precision. Tongue twisters are extremely effective. When done properly.