Friday, October 17, 2014

Cooking up a Hearty Stew, Toastmasters Style

A Recipe for a Satisfying Speech
by Gege Sugue

n.b. - Our theme last week was Life Recipes. Part of our Art Series, the meeting brought out the foodies in us as we celebrated the Culinary Arts. 

Every time you deliver a speech in a Toastmasters meeting, it’s like serving a dish to an audience hungry for knowledge and entertainment. Here’s a recipe to help you cook up a delectable and hearty dish.

1.     Read the cookbook or recipe first. In Toastmasters, that refers to your speech manual. This tells you what ingredients you would need for success. It gives you tips and techniques to help you do it right. It might even help to consult a mentor Chef in the process. They have cooked up a lot of dishes in the past and have probably made a lot of mistakes too, so their advice will surely be helpful.

2.     Gather all the ingredients you need to make that speech really yummy. Collect facts, shop for stories, find the tools and equipment you might need.

3.     Prepare the base. Complex stews usually start with a base, usually a rich paste, that supplies the main flavor.  In preparing your speech, make sure you have a strong base—this could be the objectives or your speech paired with a cohesive outline.
4.     Make the meat the heart of the stew. The meat is the message. It has to be filled with substance. You want your speech to nourish their minds and feed their hearts. You want your audience to feel full and satisfied after having a serving of your speech. And maybe they’ll even clamor for more.

5.     Throw in the spices. Add humor, drama, metaphors, interesting twists and surprises to make sure your dish is not boring. Avoid clichés, unless of course, they’re yummy clichés that people never get tired of.

6.     Simmer. Give enough time for your dish to settle into your heart and soul. Rehearse every chance you get. Play it in your head so that when it comes time to deliver, it comes out heartfelt and natural.

7.     Garnish – Top off your dish by delivering it with vocal variety and effective body language. Your audience will surely appreciate that your stew is not just rich and delicious, but that it looks great too.

8.     Serve hot. Deliver; do not procrastinate. When you wait too long, sometimes the speech becomes irrelevant or outdated, or you lose the steam to share your story. 

To cap this recipe, let’s listen to culinary legend Julia Child: “This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!” 

Bon apetit!

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