I Don’t Know What to Talk About!

Our last meeting was the Club International Speech contest, where we saw David Griffiths once again crowned the winner. Perhaps not surprising since David also won last year and reached the semi finals of 2014 World Championships of Public Speaking at Kuala Lumpur, where he came second. But perhaps what was surprising, was the runner up – Amutha Kanthasamy. An ex-speechcrafter, she has been a member of Parramatta TM Club for less than a year! Just like another rookie Tom Cummins, runner up at last year’s club contest, who eventually reached the District 70 finals.

During the speech contest season, I often hear TMs say ‘I don’t know what to talk about’ or ‘I’m not that good yet’.  Let’s take a look at these two ‘objections’.

I Don’t Know What to Talk About.
Everyday we see and experience interesting, even life changing events, worthy of sharing with others. Ed Tate, 2000 World Champion of Public Speaking, noticed an interesting exchange of words between an airline employee and a passenger while standing in the queue at the check-in desk. From that small observation he wrote a powerful motivational speech which won him the world title!

Similarly Amutha’s speech on the challenges facing overseas students, was based on a small remark made by the President of Dural TM Club, Linda Taylor-Burton, as she opened the meeting. Clearly you don’t have to be Shakespeare to find good speech material, its all around us – everyday.

I’m Not That Good Yet.
Both Tom and Amutha have proved that anyone can have a go and rise to the occasion. Of course they were both committed and invested time, effort & energy in crafting and rehearsing their speeches. Learning, watching and applying the skills of public speaking. In fact Amutha delivered her speech at another club, recorded it and went through it again and again fine tuning.

In the book ‘World Class Speaking in Action’ Craig Valentine says that at ten years old something disturbing happened to him. When his father’s friend asked him about his family, he says ‘I don’t remember what I said, but I never forgot his response. He fixed me in his gaze and said ‘Do you know you have a serious lisp? Craig, if I were you I wouldn’t talk anymore, because every time you open your mouth, you remind me of Daffy Duff!’

Who would have thought that 18 years later, on 21 Aug 1999, he stood on stage in Chicago being crowned TM International’s 1999 World Champion.

So the next time you feel you have nothing interesting to talk about, think about Ed Tat or . . . . . .our own Amutha.

And if you feel ‘I’m not that good yet’ think about Craig Valentine or . . . . . . . our own Tom & Amutha.

Malkit Banwait ACG CL
Club Secretary & Area 37 Governor

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