Saturday, March 04, 2017


My Winning Table Topic (Impromptu Speech) on Following Rules versus Fun

Problem Darren Tay gave a session at Thomson Toastmasters club. When you are in a contest most speakers will opt for the conventional approach. If you can say the opposite you will stand out as different and original. (Plus memorable! Have been a judge many times, I know how important the memorable speech is when you go to pick the first place speaker. I shall write another post on judging competitions.) When I heard the table topic - fun or following rules, I remembered a recent death reported in the Singapore newspaper ('Today')I had an instant reaction of almost outrage. A little voice inside me was shouting, "NO, NO, NO!" I had been shy about pushing myself forward to speak. An official had tried to make me sit in the back row. I took that as a message that I should allow the club members, officials, and guests who were relatives and supporters of speakers to speak and be seen. But I had spoken to Darren in the interval, was wearing my red dress (to encourage myself more than be noticed.) To my surprise others opted for the choice of one of 28 numbers on the screen. I knew I wanted to answer the topic. My answer was: No - this is a recipe for disaster, Rules are there for a reason. How many of you read this week about the boy who died jumping over the barrier? (Hands went up.) I am a mother. How many of you are mothers? How many of you are fathers? (Don't you feel for the parents of the boy who died?) You are all potential mothers and fathers or grandparents and know how your parents would feel if you died. This accident would not have happened if the people involved had said: We should obey written and understood rules. Just ask yourself, would my parents do this? Would my teacher or had teacher do this. Would anybody in charge, an responsible person do this. If not, don't do it. There are many ways to have fun. You can play monopoly, play cards, do things which are fun but not dangerous. Live to have fun another day, have fun today, tomorrow, and your whole life. (Be safe, safety first.) Follow that rule. Tip To see Darren Tay's prize winning speech go to: Angela Lansbury, author and speaker. Member of Harrovian Speakers, HOD Speakers, Braddell Heights Advanced Speakers. Author of: Quick Quotations Who Said What When



Should you give positive or negative messages?

Problem I struggle with my natural caution to give upbeat messages. How do you turn a negative story into a positive one, such as a story about your deceased grandparent or parent? The same question arises for an uncle, child, friend, acquaintance, or stranger you read about in a newspaper. They are all strangers to the audience. But the speaker can depress himself or herself, as well as the audience. Stories 1 My Story I have come out of Toastmasters meetings and for at least five years after the deaths of my mother, uncle, and father, which happened in overwhelming succession, I found that even an apparently positive speech mentioning them revived painful memories. 2 An Icebreaker Speech Where The Man Telling His Life Story Cried I went to a Toastmasters International meeting at an in-house club in Singapore. We had only one speech. The speaker spoke about his parent who had encouraged him to travel overseas and saved to help him. That relative had died. He started crying in the middle of the speech. He sat down. After much encouragement to tell the rest of his speech, after a senior member said we would allow him a minute to recover, we momentarily moved on to another announcement by a senior member, then he got up and finished his speech. That's another challenge - what do the organisers do? Looking back on the event, I would say that a new speaker at a new club needs a mentor. Ideally first write the speech, then record it. Then read it three times. By this time, the speaker should have revealed if any part of the speech is too troubling. The vocabulary can be changed to more positive words. Or cut out the parts and only imply the death. For example, instead of saying: "Then my mother died. After that ..." Start a sentence positively. For example: "I still remember her last encouraging words to me ... :" The speaker telling their life story can contains events which upset the audience. Darren Tay's Take On Positivity I went to a training session run by Singapore' champion speaker, Darren Tay, who won the world Championship of public speakers in 2016, above 30,000 members of Toastmasters International worldwide. He had won his club contest, then the area contest, then the division contest, then the district contest, the semi-finals, and finally the Finals. He said at one point, "Many of you probably known this already, but my message will reinforce it." He told me that you end or focus on the positive message from the person who has passed away. (Passed away is a British phrase - American say passed on or simply passed - as if they have passed a gatepost or finishing line and are still on the other side.) Author Angela Lansbury, B A Hons, member of Harrovian Speakers in London, England, HOD Speakers in London, England, and Braddell Heights Advanced Speakers in Singapore. Author of: Quick Quotations for Successful Speeches. (Quotations by subject matter.) Who Said What, Where, When (Quotations by day of the year; plus birth and death dates and brief biography summary of people who on that day were born, died, married, or featured in a notable event.) See my books on and

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