3 of 30 speeches finished this week. This one was from Speciality Speeches #1: Mastering the Toast.
It was a bit of a curve ball in that I was challenged to use the meeting theme rather than making a toast to an individual or a cause which would be more typical. I'll include my speech notes below for your amusement:
To our guests and newer members please take this opportunity to fill the glass in front of you so I don’t catch you by surprise at the end.
Tonight a Toast to food:
Food comes in a variety of tastes, flavours, colours, textures and smells.
Speeches can be sweet, sour or bitter. A speech honouring a couple at a wedding “tastes” different than a eulogy at a funeral or a professional presentation in front of a board of directors at work.
Speeches can come in different colours through our vocal variety - whether bright energetic excitement or dark deep and somber.
Speeches can have different spices through different literary devices - for example, Shakespeare was famous for his alliteration in A Midsummer Nights Dream:
“whereat with blade, with bloody blameful blade he bravely broached his bloody boiling breast”
Food can be good for your health or it can be bad for you.
Martin Luther King Juniors “I have a dream”
JFK’s “Ask not what your country can do for you”
These compare with Hitler’s address to the Reichstag or Mussolini’s “People of Italy, rush to arms”
Food can come with a recipe or you can throw together what you have in the fridge.
Public speaking similar benefits from preparation and review. Do you have the right “ingredients” on hand? Do you have a strong opening and a strong conclusion? Do you have opportunities to practice your body language and gestures? Do you have material that lets you make an emotional connection with your audience?
Have you ever tried to cook a recipe for the first time for a large gathering of friends? Doesn’t it go smoother if you practice it at home for your family first? Similarly practicing our public speaking before we present leads to a tastier meal.
That being said, an experienced cook can make a good meal out of whatever scraps are laying around because they have the vision and expertise to do so, whereas a novice cook benefits more from learning the basics first. As Toastmasters, it is better to prepare and work through the speech projects as they are intended before you.
Please charge your glasses and rise.
In the banquet of public speaking, may you always be a mindful cook.
Take pride in the quality of your ingredients.
Practice those favorite recipes so they go down well.
And above all else, please join me, bon appetit!