Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Speak the Movie at Cherry Creek

Ed Tate & Rich Hopkins answer Questions at Cherry Creek Toastmaster's Speak Event

Last night, Cherry Creek Toastmasters hosted a local showing of Speak the Movie.

Cherry Creek member and 2000 World Champion of Public Speaking Ed Tate was in attendance, and in addition to offering a few introductory words, participated with me in the Q&A afterward.

The response to the film was as positive as ever, and evoked a number of questions, including:

- Is the contest fair? Are we really honoring our speakers with only one winner?
- What was it like being followed by cameras?
- How do you come up with speech material each year for contests?
- What do your kids think of your journey in the contests and speaking?
- And the obligatory 'why did you almost pass out in the hallway?' :)

This was the first Q&A I've done in tandem with another speaker, much less a World Champion, and it went extremely well. We both answered most questions, which offered the audience two disparate perspectives. Ed only competed once on his way to victory in 2000, while I've competed nine times, reaching the Big Stage twice, winning third in 2006. In the movie Speak, the result was, well - watch the movie and find out. Let's just say Ed and I have different experiences to share, in a very good way for each of us!

Haven't seen Speak yet? Buy a copy from the producers. You can also read my review.

Want to screen a showing of Speak? Want to offer a Q&A? I'm available, as are many of the other featured contestants, and free if you get me out there, put me up, and feed me, like the good folks in Hawaii will be doing next week for the Honolulu showing on 4/29/13.

Thank you to Cherry Creek VP of PR Cindy Price for putting this on and letting me come out to speak, and to Ed for coming out and making a special appearance.

For more pictures from the event, head to my Facebook Album.

Until next time, remember to always Speak....and Deliver!

Monday, April 22, 2013

4 Lessons in Self-Deprecating Humor from a 14-year-old

Jack Carroll in Britain's Got Talent shows a wonderful sense of humor, and an understanding in how to connect with the audience.

- Are you addressing any elephants in the room when you speak?

- Do you use his method of using 'The Voice of the Audience', as he does when he starts with 'I know what you're thinking....'

- Do you construct humor in your speech in the form of a story with an unexpected twist at the end, as in his closing joke?

- And finally, are you confident enough in yourself to totally sell out - that is, go ALL IN with your speech?

When you are, you'll be a lot closer to learning how to Speak....& Deliver.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Speaking of Boston

What do you say after a tragedy?

Letterman and Leno wouldn't even do monologues after 9/11. The bombings in the Boston Marathon don't quite compare in scope, but the events are tragic, frightening, and sad nonetheless.

Stephen Colbert offered his own take to open his show this week. It is a wonderful example of respectful humor and satire designed to honor the situation, motivate the city, and provide the much-needed release of laughter. Note his complete avoidance of political posturing, racial profiling, or even commentary about what to do next. Plenty of time for that....later.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

SAY It This Way - No, Wait, Say It This WAY

Whether you memorize your speech or not, there is one aspect of your speaking you do tend to commit to memory - the Way You SAY It.

Once speakers find a line they can remember, it gets anchored into a certain style, and they will end up speaking it the same why time after time. Unfortunately, this doesn't always serve them well. It can be easy to simply be happy you are remembering what you want to say, instead of also focusing on HOW You Want To Say It.

If you aren't examining where you're putting the EMphasis in your EmPHAsis, you are likely robbing yourself and your audience of some of the power of your message.

How do you police yourself? It's easier than you think, and can actually be a lot of fun!


First, record your speech, and listen to it - just LISTEN - and hear where you are losing power. Ask a coach or friend for input on this as well.

Second, record yourself again, using different voices - cartoon voices, voices with accents, loud voices, quiet voices - go crazy. Give it in monotone, give it as the guy who narrates movie trailers, give it as Lily Tomlin. Go slow. Go FAST - CRAZY fast.

You can do this for the whole speech, or vary within a single practice or two.

This helps you in two ways - A. It stretches your mind and voice, allowing you to be freer as a speaker, and B. It can point out places saying a word or phrase with a different emphasis, speed, cadence, or amplitude will help bring it's full power to the audience.

After you get loosened up by making a fool of yourself a few times, go in to your script and pick out what you think are your power phrases, those words you want the audience to hang on to, and focus this method on them, until you find EXACTLY the way you want to SAY it for maximum effect.

Ironically, it is in our process of memorization that we create bad habits in the way we SPEAK our speech, and it is in THIS process of recalibrating how we say it that we can re-anchor our words and BETTER memorize it than ever before.

Have fun with yourself - be willing to sound idiotic in the privacy of your own house, car or shower. In the long run you, and your audience, will be glad you worked just a little bit harder to SPEAK...and Deliver.


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