Friday, September 16, 2011

Toastmasters Friday: Crowdsourcing Your Speech

Oops. Toastmasters is tonight isn't it? You're scheduled for a speech, right? There you sit, with nothing. No time. All you can think about is finding a good excuse to not show up so you don't have to look your Club President in the eye and tell them "I didn't have time to write a speech".

Oops. You forgot, didn't you? YOU'RE the club president too!

Okay - it happens. A lot. More than it should. There are ways you can fix it, but right now you're STUCK! No amount of hindsight will save you. but Crowdsourcing just might.

Crowdsourcing is basically using your facebook/LinkedIn/twitter accounts to get opinions and ideas about a particular topic. This is your chance to go beyond telling people what you had for lunch, or putting up yet another Martin Luther King quote. It's time for your friends to put up or shut up - and help you write your speech!

Last week, I posted on facebook about my photoshoot tomorrow - and asked if speakers dressing up was a dead concept based on the dressing down I witnessed at the Toastmasters Int'l conference from both our opening ceremony speaker and the Golden Gavel recipient. Could I get photos of me in just a nice tee-shirt, slacks, and a coat?

The discussion was a lot of fun - it started at 9:30 am, and by 5 pm I had 50 responses. Using their examples and thoughts, along with some of my own, I was able to quickly cobble out a speech that sounded like I'd spent weeks researching the topic. The speech wasn't perfect, but it beat not showing up and leaving the club without a speaker that night!

Some ideas to effectively Crowdsource:

1. Interesting or Controversial Question: Ask something that actually pertains to your friends and followers. Perhaps state the question in the voice of the "Devil's Advocate" to spur on discussion.

2. Interact: Let people know you're reading, and that you appreciate their input. Ask follow up questions to get further comments.

3. Use multiple platforms: Not everyone uses Facebook. Put the question out to as many audiences as you regularly communicate with.

Next time you find yourself behind the eight ball with just a few hours before your meeting - give Crowdsourcing a shot instead of ditching the meeting at the expense of your poor Aunt, who has died so many times in the past she's tired of being your goto funereal excuse!

Your club, and your meeting's Toastmaster will thank you for it! 


  1. Chatting with friends on FB helped me develop my Icebreaker, and refine ideas. I had a general idea, put it out there and friends (non-toastmasters commented on it). I think they're getting sick of me by now, but at times, FB is great for fine-tuning speeches!

  2. I also think TI should crowdsource to develop projects for presentation software projects, podcasting projects, teleseminars, video (YouTube) projects etc, to get them into the 21st century. These are real needs for speakers, trainers, managers in organizations, community leaders...real people and real public speaking training needs that are being ignored by TI.

    Want to start one?





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