WSSU LLS Class Presentation

I gave a presentation about Desire, Attitude & Passion to Nigel Alston’s Winston-Salem State University Liberal Learning Studies class today. Here are some of the questions they asked afterwards:

1. How does networking benefit you?
When I focus on Networking for Mutual Benefit, and help others first, many of the people I connect with will help me with the important thinks I ask for help with.  I meet people who become beneficial to my life goals and I in turn offer value to them in return.

2. What did your wife think when you quit your job and her reaction to the cross-country trip?
My wife knew that the transition from a corporate job to a business of our own needed a quiet phase between them.  Even though she was not a fan of long trips, she knew this would be a great trip for us and it was.  We giggle together across the US for 168 hours side by side in the car for a 9000 mile trip that took 30 days.

3. how long did it take you to find your passion?
I discovered my passion for public speaking in the early 1990’s when I joined ToastMasters International.  Afterwards, I always knew I loved to talk in public.  Around 2005 I discovered that I liked to write so I started to write blogs.  It took until around 2007, when I started really networking and building new relationships, for me to decide I needed to live my passion as a career.   Networking and building new relationships not only uncovered my real passion, but encouraged me to “take the leap”

4. What was your favorite place during your trip?
The drive west from Amarillo Texas into Roswell NM took over 3 hours.  It was dusk and the sunset was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life.  Grand Canyon, Seattle, Santa Fe NM and Palo Duro Canyon were fantastic places.  The sum of the entire trip is by far the best thing about the trip.  Do a trip like this with your best friend, not just family.

5. What types of struggles (negatives) did you go through to reach your passion?
Many people think my wife and I had to sacrifice to make the changes we made.  We are blessed and really did not sacrifice anything.  We gave up lots of stuff we no longer needed.  Full hD/DVR Direct TV, weekly dry cleaning, dining out more than we needed, magazines,  newspapers, and lots of stuff that really did not make our life either meaningful or teuly enjoyable. I have the same bills to pay that everyone else has (mortgage on our home, gas, food, insurance, etc), but we trimmed our expenses down to the things we need, while I build my business around my passion for “words”

6. You say you have a passion for words so do you have a favorite song because of the lyrics?
I love Bruno Mars “Just the way you are”. Mainly because I pretend that I’m singing it to my wife, but also because to me the lyrics say to be yourself, you are beautiful as you are.

7. Have you thought about TED Talks?
Not until now, so stay tuned.  Thanks.

8. When did you realize that words were your passion?
In the late 1990’s as a Toastmaster.  Great program – check it out folks.

9. Would you encourage a person that feels “lost” to take a journey as you did?
Yes – if you are not sure about your true desires (goals), attitude about life or what your real passion is do 2 things.  1) Talk with lots of people. (LOTS!!) and 2) find rime for ourself such as a cross country tour.  Don’t just go sight seeing, spend time with a loved one and again, meet new & different people.  Discovery happens thru exploring and conversations.

10. How has your success made you better as a person?
Fist Pump!  Great question.  I used to pop aspirins like candy.  I used to stress out over the dumbest things.  I used to think I had to work 10-12 hours per day @ work.  Now that I’m doing what I really love doing, time is not relevant, I don’t stress out because I know my stuff like the back of my hand & I take no drugs at all.  Really, I don’t. 

Networking According to TLB

I am delivering this speech to the Christian Employment Network on 2/29/10

First things First –what is Networking?

I define Networking as the:

“Act of finding, developing and nurturing relationships that can mutually move people forward thru life.”

Nothing less, nothing more

Ok, we know there are lots of tools that are mentioned when we say networking:

The newest tool available to you is CEN.

There are the web tools like Face Book & My Space, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Twitter,
Monster, CareerBuilder, Hot Jobs, Dice, Eharmony, Match.com, Friend Finder, Great Expectations, SugarDaddie, IDate, OK that’s enough, you get the point and I struggle keeping track of all these passwords anyway..

Oh yeah – the best tool ever for networking – you & all you have to offer.

Face-Face networking is the most powerful way to Mutually move people forward thru life.

OK – now how do we network?

We do it every day of our lives.

We started this activity when we were in Pre-School and Daycare.

We actually used the phrase – “Will you be my friend” or “Will you play with me”

And even, “I’ll invite you to my birthday party if you invite me to yours”
Even in kindergarten, mutually moving people forward thru life.

We continued Networking in High School – but I assure you, we didn’t call it that.

We joined clubs, Youth Groups and even specific classes, with the primary intention of being a part of a group, to be with people who had similar interest or to meet people of the “Opposite Sex”.

A friend of mine told me that he joined the debate club to be friends with a boy whose father owned the local pizza joint and he wanted to get a job there. It worked. He joined the debate club, worked hard for the club and then was able to get help from the other kid to meet his Dad and get the job.

In college we joined fraternities and clubs to meet people who had similar interests or could help us move forward with our goals.

Maybe the goals started out simple and shallow (beer, girls), but as we matured in college we turned these activities into meeting people who could help us with our classes and move us forward in our degrees and then into internships and jobs.

Finding, developing and nurturing relationships that can mutually move people forward thru life.

As a business developer in the sales world, I network all different ways, in order to find people or businesses that I can help and who could possible benefit from my services. Done properly, it works.

I truly believe that networking has propelled me in my professional and business life.

Getting to know people and helping them with their needs in turn has helped me to create new relationships and numerous business opportunities

A good friend of mine asked me to be on a committee with him years ago and today, he is one of my top clients.

A while back while working on hiring a lady for a new position, I called her references. One of the references was so thankful that I was helping her friend that she introduced me to the Hiring Manager of her company who said we could talk about her hiring needs in the near future.

Years ago, I asked a new acquaintance to help me with a charitable project, he agreed and today he is the insurance agent that serves me and my 4 independent daughters.

I met a lady at a local Chamber group a few years ago and after learning about her as a person and professional, I hired her to manage my retirement funds.

I joined a local Toastmaster club 8 years ago and thanks to one of my good friends in that club, I have the job that I have today.

Networking is the act of finding, developing and nurturing relationships that can mutually move people forward thru life.

Networking works as long as you know people. I call this Your Circle of Contacts.

On the count of 3, everyone turn and look at the person closest to you. If you can, stick out your right hand, shake this person’s hand and introduce yourselves.

1, 2, 3

Now thanks to that task, you may have met someone new. Congratulations, that is step 1 of Networking.

It’s really is that easy.

It may require you get out of your element a little bit, especially if you are not comfortable meeting new people, or going to new places.

I can make it a little easier for you as well.

Let’s use both hands for this next activity.

I am going to name some people. Raise one of your hands if you know any of these people well enough to have a cup of coffee, glass of sweat tea or after 5 drink. Raise both hands if you know more than 2 and start waving your arms in the air if you know more than 5 people in this list.

Brother, Sister, Church member, Mother, Father, Neighbor, Minister, Priest, Barber, Ex-wife, Electrician, Plumber, Good Friend, Mechanic, Brother-in-law, Farmer, Mailman, Another Neighbor, Banker, Attorney, Ex-Fellow employee, Old-Boss, Sister-in-Law, Ex-husband, Newspaper delivery man, Coach of your kids sports, Massage Therapist, Weatherman, Mother-in-law, Grocery Store Manager.

Great – put your arms down now.

Folks – Networking starts simply by talking with people you know.

Ask these people to introduce you to others who they feel could mutually move forward thru life by knowing you.

Maybe people who can help you with the task of finding a new job, career or business opportunity.

And remember – if anyone helps you in any way; be prepared to help them when the asked.

Networking as I have defined it (mutually moving people forward thru life) works best with a growing Circle of Contacts.

Ask your friends to introduce you to others, get to know these new contacts and then follow the edict

Ask them if there is anything you can do to help them.

And – Then Ask if there is anyone else they think could mutually move forward thru life, by meeting you.

There is another group of contacts that I encourage you to meet – these are people who are nothing like you.

You need to know people, who are not like you, don’t have the same interests, from different states, industries and cultures, different religions. If the only people you know are people like you, then for the most part the only things in life you will ever experience are the same things you do now.

Variety is not just the spice of life, but the spice of new relationships, new jobs, new careers, and new business opportunities. Variety is what keeps your Circle of Contacts expanding with the greatest possible value.

Networking is the act of finding, developing and nurturing relationships that can mutually move people forward thru life. Imagine helping someone you don’t know with something you never thought you could do and the benefits you get in return.

Listen to the Billy Currington song “People are crazy” where he tells a story of sitting at a bar, talking and laughing with a guy who, when he dies – leaves all his money to him. It’s a song, but it happens.

A long time friend of mine spent 10 years caring for a very ill older lady in her home town and before the lady passed away, she willed her house to my friend, who desperately needed a new home.

In these two simple examples – it was all about selfishly helping others and in both cases, they helped strangers who were different than them.

Mutually moving people forward thru life.

In the book – The Tipping point, Malcolm Gladwell refers to a study that said:

56% of a survey group found their current job thru a personal contact

Now here is the really interesting number – of the 56% only 17% of these actually “touched” these contacts on a regular basis. They got their jobs thru their Weak Ties.

Never discount your distant friends, former coworkers or distant business contacts.

Here is an example – My March of Dimes work

1) I send an email out every year looking for Chili Judges for an event I am a part of. Every year 100 people help me with this and most of them are my weak ties
2) I send another email out every year asking for donations to my yearly charity. 50 people send me money every year and again, most of them are my weak ties and they are not the Chili Judges.

Because I truly believe that we “mutually move people forward thru life” – if any of these folks ask me to help them in any way – I never disappoint them. I do the best I can to help them out either directly or indirectly, and I do it immediately.

Here is an important point about how to treat your Circle of Contacts, again the people who should be a part of mutually moving you forward thru life.

Never jeopardize your credibility

Be fair, polite and care for your contacts as you hope they will do for you.

And ask them if they need anything and be ready to help them immediately and completely.

And – Never be the one who burns the bridge.

Here is an example of why you never burn a bridge:

Interviewed a guy who disappeared on me.

I have a good relationship with this guy now and have had numerous opportunities to work with him and others that he has introduced me to since then.

Now let me try to bring this home for everyone.

When your business life get’s interrupted and you start looking for new careers, new jobs or business opportunities, good Networking can help you directly & it can work now.

What can you do now?

Use CEN to help you network

Use the web tools – LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and Networking groups.

Get out, meet people, call your circle of contacts and have coffee, lunch, sweet tea or an after 5 drink with them. Invite them to CEN, your home, church or civic group.

Ask your circle of contacts to personally introduce you to new contacts that they feel can mutually move forward thru life by knowing you. You have to ASK!

Share your needs and desires with your Circle of Contacts, especially your weak ties.

And, most importantly, ask them what you can do to help them.

It’s not easy and it takes a leap of faith in your self.

6 years ago I would never have been able to stand in front of you telling you to do this. But I made the decision back then that I had to find a new job and the only way I could do it was to Network. This started me on the path of building a great Circle of Contacts and as a result, my sales career has been far more rewarding than I could have ever expected.

Networking is the “Act of finding, developing and nurturing relationships that can mutually move people forward thru life.”

Take your networking to Whole Nother Level – and I can almost promise it will help move you forward thru life sooner than you can imagine right now.

Speech presented by Teddy Burriss / TBurriss@roadrunner.com

Networking – Teddy Style

These are my notes for a speech that I gave to a group of job seekers in July 2009

First things First – Let me tell you what I think Networking is

I define Networking as the “Act of finding, developing and nurturing relationships that can mutually move people forward thru life.”

Ok, we know there are lots of different Networking tools and we use these tools for

Social Networking – Face Book & My Space

Business Networks – LinkedIn, Plaxo, Twitter, etc

Job Search Networks – Monster, CareerBuilder, Hot Jobs, Dice, etc, etc

Relationship Networks – Eharmony, Match.com, Friend Finder, Great Expectations, SugarDaddie, IDate, OK that’s enough, you get the point and I struggle keeping track of all these passwords anyway..

These tools play a role in the task of Networking for personal, professional and/or career reasons.

However Real Networking is Face-Face.

I believe that Networking is important in life. Because the alternative to Mutually moving forward thru life is something none of us want, as I am sure you can attest.

We all do it Subconsciously and Consciously every day of our lives.

We started this activity when we were in Pre-School and Kindergarten.

In these classes we actually use the phrase –

“Will you be my friend” or “Will you play with me”
And even, “I’ll invite you to my birthday party if you play with me now”
Even in kindergarten, Mutually moving people forward thru life.

We continued Networking in High School – but I assure you, we didn’t call it that.

We joined clubs, Youth Groups and even specific classes, with the primary intention of being a part of a group, to be with people who had similar interest or to meet people of the “Opposite Sex”.

A friend of mine told me that he joined the debate club to be friends with a boy whose father owned the local pizza joint and he wanted to get a job there. It worked. My friend joined the debate club, worked hard for the club and then was able to get help from the other kid.

Finding, developing and nurturing relationships that can mutually move people forward thru life.

In college we joined fraternities and clubs to meet people who had similar interests or could help us move forward with our goals.

Maybe the goals started out simple and shallow (beer, girls), but as we matured in college we turned these activities into meeting people who could help us with our classes and move us forward in our degrees and then into internships and jobs.

Again, Finding, developing and nurturing relationships that can mutually move people forward thru life.

Once we get into the business world, we continue networking.

As a business developer in the sales world, I network all different ways, in order to find people or businesses that can benefit from my services or goods, and I from theirs. Done properly, it works.

Networking is by far one of the most important activities that I feel has helped propel me in my professional and business life.

Networking works as long as you have people to network with. These people do not pop out of the wood work and none of us like cold calling to meet people (even though I do this periodically)

Networking as I have defined it (mutually moving people forward thru life) works best with an actively growing Circle of Contacts.

Your circle of contacts starts with your family and friends and continues with every business, group and person you meet in life. You need to be constantly growing your circle of contacts and keeping track of them all. And I don’t mean collect business cards.

I have a large Circle of Contacts. To some degree or another I know them and they know me.

I have some form of a relationship with every contact in my circle of contacts.

The relationship does not have to be personal and it does not have to be direct business.

Hopefully most of your contacts you know personally and or directly from a business perspective. Even better, knowing your business contacts personally really creates a strong relationship. This does not happen overnight and requires that you reach out to your business contacts for stuff beyond business. There are lots of ideas, some work for me; others will only work for you.

However – there will be contacts that you do not know personally and will only know them professionally and maybe not very well. But you do need to know enough about them to understand them and what value you have for them and what value they have for you. Otherwise they are just names in your Circle of Contacts and have no meaningful value to you or them.

You also need to contact the people in your Circle of contacts as often as possible and appropriate. This varies person to person and based on your relationship. However, they all have to be touched at least a few times a year. Even if just with a simple note or email saying hello and asking them how they are doing.

Otherwise they will forget who you are and what you do and you could forget them and what they do. Knowing each other, even in the basic of ways is what creates the relationship and this happens thru getting together, talking, sharing, etc.

I call it touching.

And, you must be willing to help your contacts when they ask for it, either directly or indirectly by introducing them to others in your circle that may be able to help them.

Mutually moving people forward thru life.

I have many different types of relationship with my contacts and I touch them in different ways and frequencies.

My Family, Close Friends, Fellow Coworkers and Regular Business contacts are my most active Circle of Contacts. I touch these folks daily, weekly and/or monthly.

My Former Coworkers, Infrequent Business contacts, Distant Friends and Distant Business Associates are what I call my weak ties. I got this phrase from a book I just read. I touch these people at least a few times a year.

They are an important part of my Circle of Contacts. – I’ll explain why in a moment.

I also have a group that I call my Nope List – These are contacts that I will not do business with, or recommend. They are in my list so that I can keep in touch with them. Sort of the old adage, keep your friends close and enemies closer kind of thing.

For your Circle of Contacts to have any value for you and for them, you & they have to be willing to participate in “mutually moving forward thru life”.

Most of the people in my Nope List don’t understand this and I can’t help them.

Back to the weak ties – Here is an example why weak ties should be important to you:

In the book – The Tipping point, Malcolm Gladwell refers to a study that said:

56% of a survey group found their current job thru a personal contact

Now here is the really interesting number – of the 56% only 17% of these actually “touched” these personal contacts on a regular basis.

They got their jobs thru their Weak Ties.

Never discount your distant friends, former coworkers or distant business contacts.

If you network well within your full circle of contacts, any one of them could help you with your need or desire.

Here is an example – My march of Dimes work

1) I send an email out every year looking for Chili Judges for an event I am a part of. Every year 100 people help me with this and most of them are my weak ties
2) I send another email out every year asking for donations to my yearly charity. 50 people send me money every year and again, most of them are my weak ties and they are not the Chili Judges.

Because I truly believe that we “mutually move people forward thru life” – if any of these folks ask me to help them in any way – I never disappoint them. I do the best I can to help them out either directly or by sharing their need and desires with my circle of contacts.

Mutually moving people forward thru life is a 2-way street.

It’s also important to keep in mind – If you want to mutually move forward thru life – keep expanding this circle of Contacts.

Keith Ferrazzi wrote a book Titled “Never Eat Alone”

Who has read it?

If you have not, go to the library and borrow it – it is well worth reading for anyone who wants to mutually move forward thru life.

Ferrazzi says that the best way to expand your Circle of Contacts is to help someone and more specifically, help them personally. And he says that when you offer to help someone, you must do it Immediately and Completely.

He goes on to say that as you expand your Circle of Contacts you are directly expanding your personal and professional opportunities, exponentially.

Here is an example – Dad of College Grad asking me to help his son.

Networking is finding, developing and nurture relationships that can mutually move people forward thru life.

I boldly network every waking hour. Ask my wife, she hates it, but she knows it is who I am.

I believe that by regularly meeting new and different people, we benefit from the natural effect of “an auto expanding circle of contacts”

Different is more important than just new. You need to know people, who are not like you, don’t have the same interests, from different states, industries and cultures. If the only people you know are people like you, then for the most part the only things in life you will ever experience are the same things you do now.

Variety is not just the spice of life, but the spice of new jobs, new careers, and new business opportunities. Variety is what keeps your Circle of Contacts expanding with the greatest value.

I traveled for many years where I met people from all walks of life and lots of different industries.

Each time I left a city, I would guarantee there was at least one person in that City who would never forget Teddy Burriss. I strived to leave a good impression everywhere I went.

However, I am human and I am a man, there are probably a few memories out there of something foolish I did. But, I assure you, these memories are few and far between, and my picture has never hung in a post office.

I know that by leaving a good impression, one day the people who remembered me, could possibly help me or need my help. Again, mutually moving people forward thru life.

Here is one example – 20 years ago I did some development work for a guy in Abington Va. I didn’t do any work for him since then. 5 years ago, he needed help with this software, and I couldn’t help him, so I introduced him to someone that I knew was still using that old development tool. He offered to pay me for finding the help he got. I said thanks anyway. I told him that maybe I’ll need his help one day.

Last year he gave me a $100 donation to one of my charitable causes and I’m sure if he can, he will do it again this year.

Networking has to be mutually Beneficial or it will fail.

We may enjoy saying “It’s all about ME!!”, but it can’t be.

Networking has to be a 2-way street, and according to many experts – it has to be more about the other person.

Here is an important point about how to treat your Circle of Contacts, again the people who should be a part of mutually moving you forward thru life.

Your credibility is vital to your circle of contacts – never jeopardize it.

Be fair, polite and care for your contacts as you hope they will do for you.

And ask them if they need anything and be ready to help them immediately and completely.

Over time your circle of contacts will grow into great relationships of people who you trust and who trust you.

And – Never be the one who burns the bridge.

Here is an example of why you never burn a bridge:

Interviewed a guy who disappeared on me.

I have a good relationship with this guy now and have had numerous opportunities to work with him and others that he has introduced me to since then.

Your Circle of Contacts will change regularly, hopefully increasing more than you can imagine right now.

Now let me try to bring this home for everyone.

My points are:
· Networking with a Growing Circle of Contacts is vital to your personal and professional growth
· Networking is face-face (Networking tools help you to meet and virtually touch your contacts)
· Your circle of contacts needs to be expanding constantly with new and different people, people from the past and your Weak Ties.
· Be willing to help others with any request they put to you, whether directly or indirectly by introducing them to others in your circle of contacts, Immediately and Completely.
· Never be the one to burn a bridge

When your business life get’s interrupted and you start looking for new careers, new jobs or business opportunities, your Networking can help you directly now.

How do we grow our Circle of Contacts and benefit from Mutually moving forward in life:

Use the Network tools –LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and Networking groups to find new contacts that you can develop and nurture into mutual relationships.

Get out, meet people, call your circle of contacts and have coffee, lunch, sweet tea or an after 5 drink with them.

Ask your circle of contacts to personally introduce you to new contacts that they feel can help you either directly or indirectly. You have to ASK!

Expand your circle of contacts with new and more importantly different contacts.

Share your needs and desires with your Circle of Contacts, especially your weak ties.

And, most importantly, ask them what you can do to help them and if they have a need that you can help them with – do it, and do it before you do anything else.

Face-face networking will get you a job far faster than any other activity you could be doing.

Don’t waste a lot of time on the job boards or jump out of bed dying to read the newspaper to find a job listing that you can send your resume to.

Don’t send resume after resume to blind email addresses of fax numbers hoping and praying for an interview.

It’s not easy and it takes a leap of faith in yourself.

5 years ago I would never have been able to stand in front of you telling you to do this. But I made the decision back then that I had to find a new job and the only way I could do it was to Network. This started me on the path of building a great Circle of Contacts and as a result, my sales career has been far more rewarding than I could have ever expected.

Networking is the “Act of finding, developing and nurturing relationships that can mutually move people forward thru life.”

Take your networking to Whole Nother Level – and I can almost promise it will help move you forward thru life sooner than you can imagine right now.

Take the Terror out of Public Speaking

Your voice waivers, your knees quiver, your pulse is increasing fast.
Your heart feels like it’s going to jump up and out of your throat
Your palms are sweaty and you may actually feel sweat on your forehead.
Your mind is struggling with what words to put out first.

No – it’s not Love – that’s another story. You are suffering from Speech Anxiety or what we refer to as – The Fear of Public speaking.

Mr. Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters and guests. I may not be able to help you handle the fear of falling in love – but I believe I can help you with Taking the Terror out of Speaking.

It’s a common thing for both the experienced and the novice speakers.
The difference is that experienced speakers know ways to control the symptoms and can appear to be confident in front of an audience.

Today I will address some of the causes of Speech Anxiety and methods you can use to manage it.

Do you recall the first day of school, a first date or the first day at a new job? These are similar situations in that you may not know what to expect and this causes nervousness.

At school and at the new job – you may have been afraid that you would fail

On the first date – a lot of things could go wrong and you may have feared being humiliated.

People fear public speaking because it is new to them, and some people fear that they may appear foolish or bore the audience.

Stage fright, butterflies in the stomach and the shakes are all symptoms of nervous energy that Public Speaking can create.

Our bodies fight this nervous energy by pumping more adrenalin into our blood stream. The adrenalin causes the heart to pump harder. The extra blood and oxygen rush to our muscles and brain. This “RUSH” is natural and provides the “extra energy” that can enable you to think and respond quickly.

Until you get more experience with public speaking – you may not know how to harness this energy. As soon as you notice these symptoms – use them as a psychological indicator that “you are ready to give a speech” and you will think clearer and quicker.

Stage fright is directly associated with the way we perceive a situation. You will need to take steps toward changing the perception that giving a speech is a fearful situation.

The big question is how do we do this?
There are three proven methods of doing this:

1) Experience
2) Mental Rehearsal
3) Relaxation Techniques

Experience – Lots of studies show that the best method for reducing anxiety is to practice speaking in front of an audience. The more you speak in front of an audience, your confidence will increase and your fear will decrease.

After a few speeches you will begin to put your anxiety into perspective.
You will realize that the audience is not armed, hostile or bored.
You will realize that you probably do not make a fool out of yourself.
You will also realize that if you stumble, miss a word or make other small mistakes you will be forgiven.

How do you gain Experience?
Join Toastmasters. At Toastmasters we will give you opportunities to speak and evaluate your speaking skills in a non-threatening environment.

Speak in front of your community, school, church, clubs, and/or at work any time you can.

Mental Rehearsal – Another method of controlling speech anxiety is mental rehearsal. Your thought processes can cause physiological changes, which affect performance. Mental Rehearsal helps you to use your thought processes to achieve positive results.
Research shows that vividly imagined events are actually recorded by the brain as memories. The mind cannot distinguish these events from actual physical events.

Have you ever thought – “Did I dream this, or did it actually happen?”

If you vividly imagine yourself delivering a successful and effective speech your mind will experience this as if it actually happened.

Once you have a few of these mentally rehearsed speeches in your library of experience – the likelihood of actually presenting a successful speech increases.

How do you mentally rehearse a speech?
Close your eyes; imagine that you are being introduced to an audience.

Visualize yourself walking up to a lectern with confidence as you smile back to the audience.

Breathe deeply several times before you start your speech.

Then picture yourself speaking clearly and forcefully, remembering all of the points that you want to make.

Visualize your audience being captivated by your words, your gestures and your use of vocal variety.

When you are finished, imagine your audience applauding in appreciation as you leave the lectern.

Now repeat this rehearsal again and again in your mind, each time notice how your confidence increases and the terror of speaking decreases.

Relaxation Techniques – Even with ample speaking experiences and the use of mental rehearsals – tension can still build up before you give a speech. Don’t worry – Relaxation and breathing techniques can help with this.

Isometric exercises reduce stress by increasing circulation and the flow of oxygen to the brain. You can perform these exercises discreetly in a crowded room.

Focus your attention on the muscles that feel tense. Tighten or flex these muscles for a few seconds – then release them. Systematically do the same for other major muscle groups – start with your toes and move upwards across as many muscles as possible all the way thru your facial muscles.

If you have the luxury of a little privacy before speaking – you can do other exercises to relax as well.

Stand up, stretch to the ceiling and take a deep breath and exhale as you bend and touch your toes (or reach down as far as you can). Repeat this several times.

Hold your arms out to the sides, parallel to the floor and rotate them in circles forward 10 times and then backwards 10 times
Drop your head to your chest, rolling it the right, backwards, then to the left.
Repeat this several times and then reverse the flow.

Reducing tension is important prior to a speech.

Nervousness often causes shortness of breath. Breathing from the diaphragm can help. When you inhale, make sure that the diaphragm and stomach, not the chest, are expanding. A trick you can use to learn to breath correctly – lie on your back with a book on your stomach. Take a deep breath. Your stomach should expand, causing the book to rise. When you exhale – the book should fall as well.

Even with all of the experience, mental rehearsals and relaxation techniques – you may still feel nervous and uneasy before your presentation. This is normal. You need the adrenalin flowing to help you speak with energy and enthusiasm.

Your audience will not notice managed nervousness. Audiences can be unaware of many of the small things that you may feel are embarrassing.

If you walk to the lectern with confidence and if you deliver a effective speech, the audience will not know that your palms are sweaty or that your heart is pounding out of your chest.

The next time you are to give a speech and you heart is beating hard and fast, the butterflies are bouncing around in your stomach and your knees are quivering as your palms begin to sweat – take control

Turn your nervousness into positive energy using some of the methods that we just discussed.

Your audience will be impressed with your confidence and listen to every word you say.

Remember – practicing, using Mental Rehearsal and relaxation techniques will help you to “Take the terror out of a talk”.

Going Beyond Our Club – Practice makes Perfect

“Practice Makes Perfect”

Our teachers, coaches & parents preached this to us when we were young
Ask any pianist, basketball or football player & they will empathically agree with this mantra

Then it only makes sense that the more we practice our Toastmaster skills, the better we can get at public speaking and leadership.

Every interaction you have – be it talking to your boss, a peer, the waiter at the restaurant, or your daughter’s assistant principal who mailed you the detention report that your daughter forgot to give you – are all opportunities to practice & improve your speaking & leadership skills.

Beyond the everyday interactions – there are other ways to improve your skills

There are a variety of Toastmaster events outside of our own club designed to stretch your speaking skills & hone your leadership abilities.

If you are new to Toastmasters – you may not know about the series of contest we have each year.

Now granted – not everyone is excited about competing in a “Contest”

To some the fear of not winning or of being “beat” by a better competitor can be overwhelming.

Even if contests are a prominent aspect of Toastmasters – the most important competition is always – Your against your own abilities.

Competing against your own previous skill levels is the greatest value.

Another key value to our contests is the opportunity to meet & hear other Toastmasters with different skills and talents.

There are many different competitions where you can compete against yourself and with other competitors:

Table Topics Contests
Evaluation Contests
Tall Tale Contests
Humorous Speech Contests
International Speech Contests

Most of these contests start in our Area and continue on to the Division and then District Level
Some contests go on to the Regional level and then to the International Contest at the annual Toastmasters Convention in August – where contestants compete for the

“World Champion of Public Speaking”

The contests offer many chances to participate beyond being a contestant.

Emcee or Toastmaster of the Contest where you get to manage the flow of the event and introduce the speakers and other participants

Judge – Many contests require the assistance of a Chief Judge and the individual judges. This keeps the competition both fair and impartial

Vote Counters are needed in all contests

Timers – Every contest needs participants to operate the stop watches and timer lights

Sergeants at Arms – Many of the contests need the assistance of a Sergeant at Arms to escort contestants and audience members in and out of the contest room at the appropriate times

And then

Audience members – every Toastmaster event requires an audience. The audience members reaction to speeches and the contestants are another measure of the improving skills of speakers and presenters

No matter what contest role you decide to take – participating allows you to learn by observation, meet other talented toastmasters and – oh yeah – have fun

Your leadership and speaking skills can be further improved by participating in many different levels in the Toastmaster International organization.

Area Level – where multiple clubs are overseen by the Area Governor and a volunteers working on committees

Division Level – Division officers are the link between the Areas and Districts – in some cases providing assistance building and rebuilding clubs.

District Level – There are normally 50 clubs or more in a District. District level leaders work with the clubs, communities and even business leaders outside of Toastmaster to build new clubs and help existing clubs grow membership. There are numerous District level officers – District Governor, Lieutenant Governors of Education, Marketing, Public Relations and Treasurer are just a few.

Board of Directors – This is not that far fetched of a leadership role – every Director was once just like you – a new Toastmaster working thru the Communications and Leadership Manual and taking on leadership roles in their club.

Conference leaders – Our conferences need the help of numerous committee members related to registration, hospitality and facility setup. These roles can be challenging and therefore skill building and then rewarding.

During the Conferences your speaking skills and leadership abilities can benefit from being a presenter of an Educational Seminar, a Speech Contest and by spending time with other Toastmaster Comrades.

Now as a newcomer you may feel that all of these choices and opportunities are overwhelming – I assure you that as you work your way thru your first manual – you will see the advantages of increasing your involvement in numerous Toastmaster International events and activities.

Congratulations to each of you – Your participation at our Club Level is the first key step to improving your speaking and leadership skills.

Increasing your involvement in Toastmaster International Activities beyond our Club will open you up to endless possibilities to fuel the Mantra

“Practice making Perfect”