Thursday, April 21, 2011

Speaking Makes Me Sexy

On any given night of partying, Wang Yip stands only a one in 30,000 chance of meeting his future wife. Last week Wang delivered a deceptively clever surprise-ending speech, allegedly about how we can use math to predict the probability of extraterrestrial life, but of course, it was really about why Wang is still single.

Hey, I’m single too! And I think I may have figured out how we can improve our odds.

Speaking makes me sexy!

Let me demonstrate. When we sit in the dark recesses of a room, unknown and unnoticed, we are one of 30,000, but when we stand centre stage, we are one in 30,000. Whether speaking at a church of 1,000 members or traveling the nation as a sales trainer, I’ve found that there’s something strangely seductive about the familiarity an audience feels toward someone in the spotlight.

No one needs to know that you may have spent 20 hours preparing to speak for only 20 minutes. The plain truth is that, when we present our best self, we are more attractive.

[This message, of course, wasn’t really about me being sexy. It was an attempt to help my fellow Toastmasters identify what they get out of participation in the club, and what they’re prepared to give in return. What follows is a rough version of the rest of that speech.]

Here are my top three reasons for attending Toastmasters:
  1. I genuinely love the people in the room. Many are already good friends; others are well on the way. I look forward to this family of friends every Thursday morning.
  2. God created me to communicate. The Dead Sea is not dead because there’s nothing flowing into it; it’s dead because there is nothing flowing out of it. A part of me would die if I didn’t get this opportunity to speak.
  3. I crave the comments of others. Where else can we count on constructive criticism each time we make a presentation? 
There are many good reasons for being involved in a Toastmasters group. That’s what we get, but what do we give?

Here’s what I give:
  1. When people ask for help I try always to give it. If a fellow Toastmaster has a role that needs to be filled, I’m quick to say yes.
  2. It would be a very rare occasion that I don’t make an effort to provide helpful feedback to featured speakers.
  3. I stepped up to serve on the Executive Committee this past year. 
What do you give when you’re part of a group? I’d rather hear honesty than apathy. If you’re completely burned out and have nothing left to give, say so. If you think there’s an ounce of energy left; that you might consider allowing your name to stand for an Executive Committee role, then have the courage to say so.

It’s been said that if you can’t speak, you can’t lead. But the corollary – that just because you can speak, you can lead – isn’t necessarily true. That’s why Toastmasters provides two tracks: The Competent Communicator; and the Competent Leader.

The Executive Committee is your opportunity to both give and get. I would love to serve alongside both keen new leaders-in-training and no-nonsense veteran leaders.

So why are you here? We want to hear from you. You are under no obligation to return the form in front of you. But I would be truly honoured if you would hand it to me as you are leaving today. I understand we’re busy, and I won’t judge if you just can’t see yourself stepping up right now. But I would be truly grateful if you would at least consider engaging at a more meaningful level.

Why are you here?

Are you interested in truly gaining full benefit from the Toastmaster experience… or is it just because you think speaking makes me sexy?

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic! I am sorry that I missed hearing your speech and giving you some feedback. Funny how a speech about being single can inspire you to create a speech about engagement (yes, pun intended)