Area 31 International and Evaluation Contests – March 18, 2014

Evaluation of Vangie Williams’ Speech
Tony K. Dahlman
March 18, 2014
Toastmasters Evaluation Contest
District 27, Division C, Area 31
Federal Communications Commission Headquarters
Washington, DC

“You Better Be Running”
Tony K. Dahlman
March 18, 2014
Toastmasters International Speech Contest
District 27, Division C, Area 31
Federal Communications Commission Headquarters
Washington, DC
(Unfortunately the introduction was cut off of the video. The intro has not changed from the club contest, and it is simply the quote “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be eaten. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter if you are a lion or a gazelle, when you wake up in the morning, you better be running.“)

It was another successful day in my 2014 spring contest run, as I was able to take first place in both the evaluation and international speech contests and will be advancing on to the division level on April 8.

The test speaker during was Vangie Williams, a very talented woman I have seen at several Toastmasters events in our district. She gave a speech on time that was very interesting with a lot of good stories. She told me afterwards that she purposely only stayed on one side of the room in an effort to give the evaluators something to talk about. While I understand her sentiment, I find it very strange to purposely make mistakes during a speech. I generally have treated the few contest test speeches that I have given as an opportunity to practice with the bonus of getting several evaluations instead of just one. I haven’t practiced my evaluations as much as I should have (because I have been working on the International speech), but I should have some more time to dedicate to evaluating.

I believe my International speech is a vast improvement over a few weeks ago. Probably the best change was just a giant step forward in terms of memorization. And the reason why I was better memorized was because during a surprise birthday trip to Florida this past weekend, while Karla and I were driving across the state to watch a Nationals spring training game in Jupiter, Florida we went through the speech with the script about half a dozen times.

Nationals Spring Training

A baseball game and finally memorizing your contest speech (in March!) is not a bad day.

I still have a lot of areas that need to improve. I feel like I can better use blocking to improve my movement around the stage, but that is going to take a lot of trial and error. I need to stop stepping on the audience laughter. I am trying to decide if the end needs to be re-written to more fully explain the “keep running as a metaphor for life” concept that I am trying to drive home. And as always, I need to add more energy.

I feel bad even saying this out loud, but it has always been my dream to compete at the International Convention. While the speech isn’t there yet, I really feel like I have a concept that has the ability to get me there. But as I need to tell myself, “I better be running.”

Again, any feedback on either speech would be greatly appreciated.
Video credit: P. Martinez, 2014

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Posted in contest, speech, Toastmasters

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