Three Ways to Become One of the Cool Kids, Part II

On May 16, 2015 I competed at the District level International Speech contest, and I won! I will be moving on to the semi-finals in Las Vegas! That’s where the cool kids are!

In a previous post I illustrated how I made it this far by applying the Three P’s of Empowerment:

  • Preparedness
  • Principles
  • Promises

In that same post, I told you how I’ve prepared so far, and encouraged you to become a Preparation Partner for this next phase of competition. So many of you have said, “I’m IN!” and I’m overwhelmed by your support.

I’m taking on P number 2 today – PRINCIPLES

PRINCIPLES:

Toastmasters International lists their core values as

  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Service
  • Excellence

These are principles I also identify in my book SELF Centered Leadership: Becoming Influential, Intentional and Exceptional. Your life, relationships and purpose are empowered when you live by core values and principles, and never compromise them.

As I considered the message I wanted my audience to hear when giving my competition speech, I was guided by principles I’ve adhered to my whole life. I decided to tell a very personal story about my tragic childhood. The message in short is that, “Love overcomes hate, fear and anger. No matter how your story begins, with love you can live happily, even after.”

The message is universal, and has been well received. I believe it’s because the message is true. It makes sense, and even if life has been tragic, we can see that the happy times have been sprinkled or frosted with love.

Whether you’re giving a competitive speech, giving a report to your HR Manager, or teaching your child a skill, your message must be true. Everything you say must be straightforward, clear, and honest. If you can accomplish this, you will be credible, and your life will be empowered.

Humility is not my strong suit, but as Lee Amatangelo and others helped me prepare my speech for different levels of competition, I had to be humble. I had to consider their suggestions, and try them. If they weren’t right, it was obvious quickly. Most suggestions were right, and my speech was enhanced when I implemented them. Mind you, I never compromised my principles. Instead, I let my principles guide me as I humbly considered the feedback of others.

I found during this process that the most important aspect to my message was genuineness. If I didn’t believe what I was saying, the audience knew it. And boy, I had to get really vulnerable! I had to avoid narrating my story, and instead bring the audience into the story with me. That meant that I must not “perform”, but that I needed to truly be in the moment of a past experience while on stage in the present. Not easy, and a part of my speech I continue to perfect.

Isn’t this how we should live life? Shouldn’t we be genuine, vulnerable and humble, while at the same time adhering to our core values and principles through every experience? Shouldn’t we take lessons from past experiences and allow them to guide us in the present moment? I believe so.

Consider your core values and principles. How have they guided you, and what was the outcome when you compromised them?

Now, I must write, and prepare to deliver a second speech. Please comment below with principles I should focus on as the subject matter of my next speech. For those of you who’ve read my book, is there another moving story contained therein that would make a good speech, or parts of a speech?

What topics inspire YOU the most?

What topics do you feel would appeal to an international audience?

If you haven’t yet read my book, you can order from my website, from Amazon, or you can get one from me when you see me next. Your purchase will help me eat when I’m in Vegas.

Please comment here on my blog with questions to the above questions. Part three – PROMISES will be posted soon.

2 thoughts on “Three Ways to Become One of the Cool Kids, Part II”

  1. I hope to see your speech soon so that I will be more prepared to respond to your questions. (I’m going to try to make the SPEAKOUT meeting.) I do want to confirm that being genuine is so important to any speech, but especially the International Speech Contest speeches. There is a reason that the word “authentic” has become a buzz word.

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