High Performance Leadership Part V: Analyzing and Presenting Your Results

The fifth and final part of the High Performance Leadership is Analyzing and Presenting Your Results.

The purpose of this step is to review the results of the project and present a five to seven minute speech to your club describing the learning process of running the project and the end results.

I began my presentation with a brief overview of the various steps of the High Performance Leadership and then moved on to the specifics of my project to improve Attendance and Participation at our club meetings.

I described the challenges I faced and needed to overcome and what I learned about leadership by leading the project.

What I learned in particular was the importance of flexibility, because nothing will go exactly as planned and to rely on the support of a well-chosen action team.

I ended my presentation by thanking my action team and my guidance committee and reminded the club that the benefits of the project: a fully functional mentoring program, well-oriented members and an active individual outreach to our members will continue beyond the lifespan of this project.


Humorously Speaking: Make Them Laugh.

The third project  of the Humorously Speaking manual is: Make Them Laugh.

This is a five to seven-minute speech that begins and ends with a humorous story and is interspersed with jokes throughout.

My speech’s tile was: “Dare To Be Stupid“, after the Weird Al Yankovic song.

My opening story was about a presentation I had seen by Darren LaCriox at a recent District Conference.  I talked about his taking a pratfall during his World Champion of Public Speaking speech and the importance of not letting the fear of failure or looking stupid prevent you from reaching towards achievement.

I used that as a springboard to discuss how a Toastmasters meeting is a safe, encouraging place where we don’t need to be afraid of looking silly so we can build up our skills and confidence to speech outside of the club setting.

I then mentioned that my biggest fear in public speaking is drawing a blank.  This let into me closing story about my last speech, which was presented outside of the club.  I did, in fact, draw a blank during that speech but was able to draw upon my Toastmasters training to recover and continue with my speech.

Humorously Speaking: Leave Them With A Smile

The second project in the Humorously Speaking Advanced Communicator Manual is: Leave Them With A Smile.

The goal of this project is to present a speech on a serious topic that begins and ends with a humorous story.

For this project, I presented a speech at my company’s annual Technology Expo promoting the benefits of Toastmasters.

In order to show what Toastmasters had done for me, I told the story of giving my Ice Breaker speech and how nervous I was.  The punchline was the written feedback I had gotten that said: “For God’s sake man, breathe!”

From there, I showed what an improvement Toastmasters had helped me to achieve, by continuing to breathe throughout my presentation.

I discussed the many opportunities for advancement in Leadership and Public Speaking skills.

To close, I mentioned that there have been many famous Toastmasters.

Since my audience was all technology workers, I focused on Leonard Nimoy.

I said that there was no guarantee that being in Toastmasters would get you the job of Science Officer of a starship, but that you never could tell.



Humorously Speaking: Warm Up Your Audience

For the first project in the Humorously Speaking Advanced Communicator manual is Warn Up Your Audience.

The goal of this project is to present a speech that begins with a humorous story.

My speech for the project was entitled: I Could Be Wrong.

I began the speech with a story of the time I saw a spider in the shower and washed it down the drain.  As I was rinsing out my hair, I saw something out of the corner of my eye that I was sure was the spider come back for revenge.  I must have jumped fifty feet before I took a closer look and realized that it was just a razor.

I used the story to make the point that, however certain you are that you are right.   It never hurts to take a minute and make sure.

The speech was quite well-received and I feel the funny, self-deprecating story went a long way to making a speech which could easily have been taken as preachy much more effective.

High Performance Leadership Part IV: Working the Plan

Part IV of the High Performance Leadership is by far the meatiest part of the project.

In this stage, I met several times with my action team, reviewing the progress in each separate Key Results area.  This was also the time for more intensive support and encouragement.

We reviewed the Action Plan and Timetables, making adjustments as necessary.  We also shifted responsibility from one party to another when the first was unable to continue with the project.

Towards the end of this stage, I met again with my Guidance Committee to evaluate the progress so far and make note of any changes to original plan were needed as well as to re-evaluate the entire Vision, Mission and Core Values of the project to ensure they were still valid.  I also shared the feedback for my Action Team on my leadership skills.

What I discovered was that the original timelines and milestones set were a touch too optimistic and needed to be adjusted.

The next, and final step of the project is to analyze the results and present them to the club in a 5-7 minute speech covering the project as a whole and what I learned about leadership through the experience.


Toastmasters Year in Review (2011-2012)

The 2011-2012 Toastmasters year has just come to a close and now is the time for a retrospective review of this past year events and accomplishments.

I started the year with the challenge of serving four separate clubs as Area Governor while still helping to guide my own club as Immediate Past President and keeping on track with my personal educational goals.

Serving as Area Governor was challenging and very rewarding.  I was able to get to know many fellow Toastmasters and help the clubs in my area to define and achieve their goals.  As an Area Governor, I also served as part of the District Executive Committee.  There was a lot of traveling involved (up and down the entire State), but I’m glad I stepped up.  My area ended the year as a Distinguished Area.

In my club, I helped to advise the current President to lead our club to achieve Select Distinguished Club status and formed the Nominating Committee to propose nominees for this coming year’s Club Officers.

For my personal educational goals, I completed my Advanced Communicator Bronze and lead several committees as part of my High Performance Leadership project to increase participation and attendance at our club meetings.

In all, I would call this a very successful year.

My plans for the coming year are:

  • Serve as my club’s Vice-President Education, with a goal of having four members complete their Competent Communicator.
  • Finish off my High-Performance Leadership project, which will achieve Advanced Leader Silver.
  • Complete my Advanced Communicator Silver.




Special Occasion Speeches: Accepting an Award

The fifth and final project in the Special Occasion Speeches Advanced Communicator manual is: Accepting an Award.

The objective of this project is to accept an award with dignity, grace and sincerity.

I presented the speech for this project after my year as Club President.  We had earned the Select Distinguished Club award.

I accepted the award on behalf of the club.  I acknowledged the work of all the club members and especially the Club Officers.

The main criticism of my speech was that I spent a bit too much time describing the specifics of the Distinguished Club Program criteria, but otherwise, I met the criteria of grace, dignity and sincerity.


Special Occasion Speeches: Presenting An Award

The fourth project in the Special Occasion Speeches Advanced Communication Manual is: Presenting An Award.

The goal of this project is to present a three to four-minute speech that presents an award with dignity and grace and acknowledges the contributions of the recipient.

For this speech, I presented the Ice Breaker ribbon to a member who had completed his first speech project.

In my speech, I congratulated the member for the courage he showed in getting up in front of the club for the first time to give a speech.  I expressed gratitude for the inspiration he provided for our other members who still had their Ice Breaker in front of them, including some who were giving their Ice Breaker presentations that day.

Word of the Wednesday Triple Play: altiloquent/grandiloquent/magniloquent

This Wednesday’s Word of the Week is a special Triple Play in honor of my completing my last Advanced Communicator Bronze Speech.

The words are: altiloquent, grandiloquent and magniloquent.

These words each mean roughly the same thing: overblown or pompous speech.

They come from the Latin loqui- meaning speech and alti-, grandi- and magni- meaning high, great and big,  respectively.

Of course, each word is also an example of their meaning.


Word of the Week Wednesday: spruik

This Wednesday’s Word of the Week is: spruik.

Spruik (pronounced sprook) is Australian slang meaning to make or give a speech, especially extensively or elaborately; to orate.

This is a perfect word for a Toastmaster: it’s descriptive. It’s unusual. And it’s fun.

I think I might need to have it as a word of the day at one of our meetings.


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