Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Thumb Driving

This presentation by this Toastmaster is different from the initial two (i.e. 4 Misconceptions and FindRecycler) because this is presentation is for a humorous speech contest. There are no specific objectives to be met but there are judging criteria that judges uses for giving marks. Please refer to the ‘Toastmasters Judge’s Guide and Ballot’ below.

Speech Title: Thumb Driving

The speaker starts off confidently with the basis salutation. He states a belief that,
“Skills are developed when you do something repeatedly”.

He proceeds to elaborate on a skill that he developed while being behind the wheel (car) and in a traffic jam, which he calls ‘Thumb Driving’. There are apparently three variation of this skill.

The first variation, ‘Two thumb driving skill’ - by just placing both thumbs on the steering wheel and drive. He made sure he evaluates his driving skill by gathering feedback from his passages, by asking them “if he had driven them to the place safely?” or “if he had driven them insane?”. He proudly declares that he will get a rating of ‘two thumbs up’.

The second variation, ‘One thumb driving skill’ - he illustrates this variation by mimicking his single hand on a steering wheel with his thumb extended and drive. This variation allows the driver to have one hand free to do whatever he wishes. In a humorous manner, he provides examples of what can be done with the free hand.

The third variation, ‘No thumb driving skill’ - this skill uses the remaining fingers while relaxing the thumb. This variation allows the driver to hide part or all of his face (quite similarly to a boxing technique called ‘Peek-a-Boo’), but he nicknamed it as ‘Hiding from the wife’.

He concluded his presentation with an important message about driving safely; that we should prepare our minds with the right mindset and put away any possible distraction so that we can focus on reaching our destination safely.

Strengths of the speaker
  • This speaker is a very animated individual who is comfortable to use his overall body purposefully to enhance his speech. Look out for the part where he lets his hand do the talking.
  • He uses pauses appropriately to allow for the audience to absorb what he is saying and react (laugh).
  • The speaker was able to compose himself and recover appropriately after he encountered a momentary lapse in memory.

Some suggestion for improvement
  • Equal allocation of time for each point. The second point that the speaker was illustrating were allocated a lot more time compared to the first and third. 
  • More practice will allow the speaker to share his message more smoothly and avoid any lapse in memory.

Generally the speaker has a lot of potential, and with his animated and humorous skills will allow him to deliver his messages in a fun and easy going manner that will be easily remembers by the audience. I enjoyed this presentation fully.

How about you? What do you think are the strengths of the speaker, and suggestions you will give to the speaker? Please feel free to comment below

Disclaimer: The observations above about the strengths and suggestions are the personal opinion of the writer and does not constitute as to what is the right (or wrong) way of presenting a speech or the project intended. The purpose for these observations are for us to be self-aware of our styles, and how we can bring our presentation skills to the next level.

Here are the Judging Criteria extracted from the Toastmasters Judge’s Guide and Ballot

Judging Criteria

Content (55%)

Humorous Speech Contest Judge's Guide and Ballot pg1
Speech Development is the way the speaker puts ideas together so the audience can understand them. The speech is structured around a purpose, and this structure must include an opening, body and conclusion. A good speech immediately engages the audience’s attention and then moves forward toward a significant conclusion. This development of the speech structure is supported by relevant examples and illustrations, facts and figures, delivered with such smoothness that they blend into the framework of the speech to present the audience with a unified whole.

Effectiveness is measured in part by the audience’s reception of the speech, but a large part is your subjective judgement of how the speech came across. You should ask yourself such questions as “Was I able to determine the speaker’s purpose?” “Did the speech relate directly to that purpose?” “Was the audience’s interest held by the speaker?” “Was this speech subject appropriate for this particular audience?”

Speech Value justifies the act of speaking. The speaker has a responsibility to say something meaningful and original to the audience. The listeners should feel the speaker has made a contribution to their thinking. The ideas should be important ones, although this does not preclude a humorous presentation of them.

Audience Response reflects the audience’s reaction to the speech. Did the speech hold the audience’s interest? Did people understand and laugh at the humor?

Delivery (30%)

Humorous Speech Contest Judge's Guide and Ballot pg2
Physical presentation of a speech carries part of the responsibility for effective communication. The speaker’s appearance should reinforce the speech, whether profound, sad, humorous or instructional. Body language should support points through gestures, expressions and body positioning. The speaker makes effective use of and stays within the designated speaking area.

Voice is the sound that carries the message. It should be flexible, moving from one pitch level to another for emphasis, and should have a variety of rate and volume. A good voice can be clearly heard and the words easily understood.

Manner is the indirect revelation of the speaker’s real self as the speech is delivered. The speaker should speak with enthusiasm and assurance, showing interest in the audience and confidence in their reactions.

Language (15%)

Appropriateness of language refers to the choice of words that relate to the speech purpose and to the particular audience hearing the speech. Language should promote clear understanding of thoughts and should fit the occasion precisely.

Correctness of language ensures that attention will be directed toward what the speaker says, not how it is said. Proper use of grammar and correct pronunciation will show that the speaker is the master of the words being used.

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