\\"Compete? I don\\'t want the pressure of competition. I\\'m not good enough to compete. No one wants to hear me speak, I\\'m just comfortable speaking at my own chapter.\\"
Does that sound like anybody you know?
I feel the same way as you probably do. I have *no* desire to be the International Champion of Speaking, nor Table Topics. I\\'m happy where I am, thank you very much. But I do like to learn and improve.
..and who enters a competition if they have no desire to win? The answer may surprise you: People who want to learn. People like you, and me.
Let\\'s change things up a bit, and focus on what really matters. Forget competition. There are two learning opportunities coming up in Toastmasters. In both cases, you\\'ll receive feedback and evaluations from several people, so you\\'ll learn others\\' perceptions of you from several points of view with just one speech. If you do well and the evaluators can\\'t find much for you to improve, you\\'ll be asked to give the speech again until the evaluators have identified a way to improve your technique.
- The first \\"project\\" is a 5-7 minute speech on anything you want. You\\'ll be judged in the usual categories -- eye contact, use of space, voice inflection, choice of words, speech organization, and pauses. You can talk about whatever you like. A little humor is nice and adds a lot of entertainment value to the speech. The prerequisites are that you must have completed at least 6 speeches in your Competent Communicator book, and you must have paid your Toastmasters membership dues.
- The second \\"project\\" is a Tall Tale project -- an exaggerated, funny story. It\\'s shorter: only 3-5 minutes. Anyone who is paid up in Toastmasters dues may participate. You can use props or visual aids if you\\'d like, and you can talk about whatever you want as long as it\\'s an exaggerated, funny story.
The first project happens to be called the \\"International Speech Contest\\" -- everyone who participate wins, because everyone learns, worldwide.
The second project happens to be called the \\"Tall Tales Contest\\" -- everyone who participates wins, because everyone learns how to weave humor into a speech, which can make any speech more interesting.
If you want to take advantage of either of thewe new opportunities to learn, tell me within the next couple of days. We\\'ve got a club speech contest to plan, and I want to know who is interested in learning to capture the attention of their audience.