The Division E Humorous Speech contest I mentioned in an earlier post was held on Wednesday, October 21st. Unfortunately for me, I did not win that contest. I came in second to a very good speaker that just happens to be a fellow member of the Susquehanna Advanced Toastmasters club I attend. I don’t feel bad about the loss at all. Susan apparently worked very hard on her speech and she executed it very well. I’m also happy with my own performance. All of the practice, came shining through, if I do say so myself. The reasons I didn’t win could very well come down to the luck of the draw, since Susan and I had to admit to each other that we didn’t know who won until the announcement was made.
One thing I may have been able to do better is stage presence. I did use much more of the stage than I have in the past, but I may have been able to be more aggressive in how far I traveled from center stage. In general the more three dimensional your movements are on stage the better. You not only want to move from side to side on the stage in order to engage the entire audience, but you want to move back and forth as well. You move back during less important parts of the speech, so that during the more important parts of the speech you can move toward the audience. This will help to put emphasis on your point.
I don’t think the back and forth was a real problem for me, since there was not a lot of room for that, and what little room I had I believe I used well. My problem could have been the horizontal movements. Generally, unless the speech calls for it, you don’t want to go out to the edges of the stage, but you do want to move out close enough where you can directly engage the audience members on the periphery of the room. I believe this is where I may have failed. I did not engage the audience members on the very edges of the room as well as I could have and that may have cost me, since I think Susan did that.
There are a few other things I need to keep in mind as well; however I will not cover them in this post. I will be pondering all of the many lessons I learned during this competition season and do my best to work them into the international season coming up.