I finished my 10th speech and thus fulfilled the requirements for my Competent Toastmaster (CTM) award today. Interesting designation — no measurement or judgmental evaluation is accomplished. Just complete the 10 structured speeches. While I have the pleasure and opportunity to speak through training classes on a regular basis, I have found that the process and exercise of focusing on specific things has improved me still more. For folks without a regular outlet, Toastmasters will be even better. It’s been a great ride. Now on for the ATM-B!Am I competent? I suppose that would depend on your definition. I don’t think so, but simply because my passion and profession is related to speaking, communicating, and training and I have the confidence and delivery skills to wing it, people who struggle in those areas immediately assume that I’ve arrived. My fellow Toastmasters always seem to want to know why I joined. And the reason SHOULD be the same as why they joined — to get better. Like most things that require an extraordinary skill to master, the better you become at speaking only serves to highlight how far you have to go. I am painfully aware of how far I have to go.I spoke to a Rotary tonite and illustrated this to myself in a painful way. One of my three points (and a poem!) was that shorter communication is better. And I proceeded to… Run over! Yikes. How did that happen? I probably spoke too long. But I’ll be better next time.
You can always get better. Strive to do just that.
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First off…congrats! I’m a CTM, too…and I run over on longer speeches.I find that the longer a speech is, the harder it is get the timing right, unless you practice over and over. Ad-libbing or using a sparse outline tend to let you put in more detail, more words, more stuff than what you wanted to.I used to set a vibrating alarm on my cell phone for 5 minutes before I wanted to be off. The downside of that strategy was that I would find I was way behind and had to think on my feet how to get done.If you’re using presentation graphics, sometimes you can put a timer or clock on the secondary display on your laptop…a quick peek and you can pace yourself.But the right thing to do is practice more…now if only I could walk the talk.