October 19 11:27 pm

Despite the fact that I like to think I’m a pretty good communicator, I can’t even come close to describing the level of exhaustion I am experiencing now. I am praying for a good night’s sleep which I think I will get because I’m staying at my spiritual director’s house overnight tonight and this house is full of peace, love and wisdom. And it’s full of one of my faroutie people in the world. Beatrice (not her real name) is an extraordinary woman whom I have had the very good fortune of knowing for almost 5 years now. WE try and talk on the phone every 2 weeks and her chosen and accepted role is to help guide me into making decisions in my life that reflects God’s light.

If she were awake right now she would tell me to pack it in and go to sleep and I shall very soon. My Friday night meeting got cancelled but I decided to come into the city anyway even though I didn’t really need to anymore.

Today I picked up the whiteboard.

I picked up 2 sheets of 8 foot by 4 foot whiteboard. They will be mounted on my bedroom wall and that is where the BIG PICTURE construction of my International speech will go. I”ve spent a fair amount of money and a great deal of time this year taking my speaking to the next level.  I realized that the investment had to happen or I wouldn’t get better at a rate that I desired.   Starting with Darren LaCroix’s products at the Spring Conference….I spent the summer listening to them and soaking in his expertise and knowledge. Darren and Craig Valentine both. I joined World Champions Edge, made sure I watched and purchased the World Championships on dvd, got the dvd of the last 20 years of the Champs (although I truly covet the 1,2,3 World’s- the top 3 speakers from the past 20 years. That way you can see what separated the best from the rest but I’m not sure I can justify the $300 cost now that we have a brand new mortgage to pay. HEY LLOYD! Can you say Christmas present?????)

Anway, my point is I have gone out of my way to invest in our future, in my future as a speaker but today, buying that whiteboard….it felt so symbolic to me. It really is a solid manifestation of my dream. I had to have it cut into thirds so it would fit in my Honda Civic!!!!

Tonight I drove ALLLLLLL the way out to Surrey and it took me 2 hours to do it! Holy cow, where the heck IS that place anyway? I decided to go and see the Division F finals even though Div B was much closer. I wanted to see some speakers that I had never seen before and am I ever glad I did because GUESS…just GUESS who was there? That’s right ! THE MAN. Jamie Mac was there and I got to hang out with him all night. It was AWESOME. He did something that I, as a speaker, really appreciated. He got the crowd going before the Humorous speech so that everyone was pumped up and ready to give all the speakers a lift. I wish all the contests would do that! He gave me a few more insights on my speech which I appreciated and soaked up like a sponge… and his midcontest presentation was hilarious.

The speakers were SO funny. It was a totally enjoyable contest. I’m very glad I went. Got to meet a whole bunch of people too. It was worth the hour and a half traffic jam drive back. So here I am, totally wiped, ready for bed and ready to go tomorrow. I brought my favourite reading from “In Conversation With God” my (supposed to be) daily meditation: It reminds me of the importance of not being blinded by ambition, of not letting life become a frantic pursuit of greater goals. To remember that everything good, our talents and our virtues all come from God. It is a reminder of how to be humble- something that I struggle with so much,  I made my 10th CC speech about it. To goal tomorrow is to have FUN and tell my friends a little something that may help them be better than what they are right NOW. And to make them laugh while doing it. God knows the message I’m delivering has helped me already.

This is exciting.  An idea showed up and then another knocked on the door and then they gelled and became “The End”.

It didn’t happen all at once.  A microscopic idea came this afternoon after we lost our power.  I muscled it into the speech’s end.  It made it slightly better which is better than not better at all.

I took a break and watched a bunch of the World Championship videos for inspiration.

I watched Lance Miller’s “the Ultimate Question”  and really relished his style.  Funny and charming,  confident but humble at the same time.  Great smile.  One of the best lines ever delivered in a World Championship speech:  “You know what’s wrong with me?  You know what’s wrong with you?  You know what’s wrong with the world?…………………………………………..WHO CARES??????    It takes no special talent to find things that are wrong with people!”  It took people a couple of seconds to CATCH that line but when they did, they LOVED it.  It was applauded.

I watched Ed Tate’s “One of Those Days”, maybe my favourite story ever told.  It’s not a ‘classic’ speech and I like that about it.  Told with such a style and wit, such a satisfying end, so much laughter.  Hilarious really!

I watched Darren LaCroix’s “Ouch!”  for, no kidding, maybe the 25th time.  An all around work of genius. with one BUT.  It is over time.  there was a glitch with his timing lights, unbeknownst to him at the time so he was not penalized and his speech was almost EIGHT magnificent minutes long.

I watched Craig Valentine’s “A Key To Fulfillment” and I found that I REALLY liked the FAST way he spoke.  I didn’t have any trouble understanding him and it added so much to his style.  I could identify with that as I really enjoy that kind of playing with words and speed.  I also forgot how funny he was.  He’s also got this “I’m pretty damned handsome, don’t you think?”  thing going on.  It’s hilarious.

I watched Brett Rutledge’s “My Little World” and HE just PACKED the laughs in man.  He was flippin’ hilarious.  He may have had the most laughs per word of any of them.  Brilliant craftsmanship and mimicry.

Anyway, I felt great after watching them all and then the power came back on so I was forced to feed my family.  lol

I played UNO with Meaghan after supper and when she went to the bathroom once, I totally stacked the deck and gave myself all wild cards and +4’s.  I gave her all yellow cards and one blue.  The game was over in 3 minutes.  LOL!  I of course, came clean but I did it to see if she would notice and suspect anything about the incredibly spectacular hand I had.  It’s nice to know she’s so innocent that it wouldn’t even occur to her.  Or that she WAS so innocent anyway.  ahem.

So, the family’s in bed, I’m up WAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY too late again but sheesh, what are you gonna do eh?  I can’t sleep anyway when ideas are all bouncing around in my head .  It’s SO hard to shut the brain off.

BUT!!!!    But that microscopic idea from this afternoon met a good idea from tonight and they MATED and produced EXACTLY WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR.  The END PUNCH was delivered by my deliverer 🙂 .

It tied in with the theme, it added a laugh AND a philosophical statement (that’s not too heavy) and it lifted the FEEL of the entire end.  It was getting too damned heavy.  After all , it IS the humorous speech contest isn’t it?

So I puzzled it all together, and I tried it all out loud and then I SQUEALED WITH JOY when I finished!  It fit!!  It fit!!!!!!  It FIT!!!!!!!    I danced and spun around the living room and scared the claws off my cats.

I practiced so much I’m losing my voice.  It’s time for bed and I’m pretty sure I’ll sleep tonight.  There might be nothing LEFT in my brain.  lol

I am SO excited.  I just want to remember how fun this is right now and never forget it.

Thanks for praying for me my friends.

Glory to God in the Highest!

Lands End Sunrise

Lands End Sunrise (Photo credit: Camerons Personal Page)

(What a roller coaster eh?  Welcome to my husband’s world!)

 

Eerily quiet last night since my girl was at a sleepover.  Lonely, but got lots of work done.

Tonight I probably gave The Speech 3 more hours.  2005 World Champ Lance Miller

gave some great advice today at World Champions Edge on practising and drilling your speech.  I am getting close to that point now as I am pretty much finished writing it.

One really valuable tip he shared was NOT to start your speech all over when you make a mistake.  Just push past the mistake and keep going and you will better learn how to deal with this WHEN it happens in your real life speeches.  I have ALWAYS started over, wanting to do it perfectly.  But real life doesn’t give you many do-overs so it’s a smart strategy.

Another thing I have had weighing on my mind is that my FIRST story in my speech wasn’t until almost HALF way through the speech.  I know that Darren LaCroix and Craig Valentine (1999 World Champ) would w say that’s WAYYYY too late and I agree.  I just didn’t know how the heck I was going to re-structure it.  I didn’t WANT to restructure it.  It had a flow.

But I put the speech on the computer screen in front of me so I could see the entire thing at once and began to see some possibilities.  Seeing the big picture helps in so many ways.  I moved things around and pretty soon, the flow was better AND I had a strong closing.

I think I might be finished.

I gave the speech for Lloyd tonight and he loved it but said he thinks it needs more funny.

I said “honey, you’ve heard it 20 times already, that’s why you’re not laughing anymore.”

But of course, THAT will weigh on my mind.

I’d like this solidified by Saturday.  I’m doing some more mindless repetitious work on Saturday, perfect for drilling and practising a speech.  God is good.

Toastmasters International

Toastmasters International (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Had a Toastmasters meeting tonight and as always, glad I went.  I can honestly say I’ve never regretted going to a single meeting.  There have been quite a few times when I haven’t FELT like going, where I just wasn’t feeling very sociable, very kind, Survivor was on and I just didn’t want to make the 30 minute drive.

Those are the times I needed it the most and was most glad that I went.  There is always a lot of laughter.  If you’re a TM, you already know that.  🙂

Our group is in some sort of transition right now and bizarrely, I find myself one of the senior members.  It’s strange to live the fact that people who have no idea about TM (or me!) accept me as some sort of authority on it now.  It makes me laugh actually.

But the fact is, I am a different woman than when I began and the speaking is the least of it.  The knowing is everything.  The knowing of what you can do…the knowing of what other people think you can do… the experience of doing scary things and having not only lived through it but maybe even enjoying it.

Our group seems to be going through a pruning stage.  Also a bit scary but I hear that’s how ya get the fruit.
And on a related note, that club Facebook page was a flippin’ genius idea and I wish we had done it sooner.  I suggested it to our president last year but she felt that it wasn’t necessary and she isn’t on FB or Twitter so she didn’t really understand or appreciate the power of social networks.  When our VP Membership suggested it at our last exec meeting, I told her to run with it!  I like being the Pres.  🙂

Directly because of this page, a lot of people are planning to come to our Humorous speech and Table Topics contest!  I am seriously psyched!  It will change the entire dynamic of the evening!  It will be a lot more fun.  And there are prospective members there.

We did have 2 guests today and they were both young women in their 20’s which is great because we don’t have a lot of young people, being a retirement town.  TM really needs to attract more young people and I hope our young champ Ryan Avery (age 25!!!) can shift things for us.

Anyway, working working working on The Speech and it’s funny, in the last couple fo days, it morphed into something completely else.  and I liked it at first because I realized that I was finding and using all the tools that the Champs told me about – foundational phrase, paula-isms, holograms, etc.

But then I felt like I had kind of LOST the original ZING and fun that I had loved so much!  I was a bit panicked too because I always just SAVE every new version of a speech.  Every time I change even a WORD, I save it, so by the time I’m done with it, there may only be a skeleton left of the original.

But I liked the original and thankfully, I HAD saved an earlier copy.

Spent about 3 more hours on it tonight, weaving the 2 speeches into each other and liking the result much more.  I was inspired by something that one of the Champs said tonight on an old conference call I listened to:  you have to think about your audience.  You have to cater to THEM and each one is different.  I was thinking District Finals Audience and I didn’t have any business doing that because this audience will be much different and they deserve communication created for THEM.

Yes, it’s a contest speech and certain criteria must be met but for cryin’ out loud, if you can’t make adjustments for your audience what’s the point?

 

Alakazam.  Thank you God, for the magic.

I have to tell you I was NOT enjoying the writing process very much at ALL with that last humorous (???  !!!)  speech.  It felt like I had been dragged through the mud and all that mire was drying on me and I could barely move.  Muddy.  The whole thing was muddy.

My husband Lloyd suggested the idea for the speech that I’m working on now.  It seemed positively providential and I was actually giggling as I was writing it last night.  It was not a struggle and my fingers flew across the keyboard.  I was chomping at the bit for Lloyd to get home today so I could read it to him.  It was so. much. fun.   I’m excited about all the little changes I can make along the way to make it better, tighter, funnier.

I have to thank God for my husband who is a Toastmaster by Osmosis.  He is the one who listens to all of my ideas and lets me know honestly if they are any good or not.  He also has some great ideas of his own which I have no problem borrowing.  Lloyd hears about all my meetings when I get home from TM, knows all the drama and fun.  He has had to listen to evaluations of other people’s speeches AND a ton of educational material.  He knows about the structure of the TM leadership and he can probably name at least 5 World Champions of Public Speaking.

All things considered, he should get his DTM before I do.

 

It’s fun again.  That’s all that matters.  I can’t wait to share it with my Toastmasters family.  Thank you God, for the magic.