Incredible when it happens – when someone in that room, some audience member took some part to heart, installed some piece of it into their daily experience as new understanding – improved, altered, fixed or turned asunder … something.
Changing a changeable mind isn’t about coaxing ‘ooh’, ‘aah’. It needs to answer questions like ‘what is this about?’, ‘what is my point?’, ‘what is my closing?’ and ‘does my title connect the dots?’. As for a rigidly unchangeable mind – changing one of them is awesome when it happens!
Writing a speech or writing prose must answer – ‘What is this about?’
Telling story, making point – that’s the delivery method. What is the point of that if there isn’t, deep meaning within a presentation for an audience to take away, take home, take to heart?
Every action has cause and effect in it – every statement we make will have some impact on those who hear it, on those who read it. If it is an empty statement or contrived feeling it will get a suitable response. Genuineness always has an impact. Some matters are issues of showmanship, skills in presentation and performance – but as any actor knows, they can’t make much of a performance if the writer hasn’t had something important, valuable and emotional to say.
So, what makes a difference? What to deliver, what to give them? I believe it has to be a message to identify with – not because they agree or disagree – but because at some point its delivery hits home on their pain, their issue, their struggle, their vulnerability.
Fresh journey started last night (Toastmaster’s spring contest season again). Took a new speech for a test-drive. Played well in a small room. As with any rehearsal or first-draft it needs editing, polishing. Needs clearer focus.
Not just for joy of thrill of wins and lessons wrapped in losses. To get better. To be better. To win. To win club, area, division and district levels – which launches someone to the world championships(in Kuala Lumpur in August).
Someone will be selected, best of us all this year.
I’ve learned magic is not found in big wins, coming close or thrill of performing on competitive stages. That comes from making a significant difference in the life of at least one person in that audience.
The prize, I learned – painfully at first and more happily on reflection – a couple of years ago when I came close. I finished 3rd at District level[yes, curious ones, that GARY in the speech is the same Gary who died recently – the same Gary I’ve written often about].
Someone came out of the crowd that day and told me I’d made a difference in his life. I see him from time to time, and he reads this column. So does Mike from that speech.
I’m not suggesting that life-death matters need to be at the core of success on a stage, but I’ve come to learn, if it isn’t that valuable or important, why get on the stage?
There is no point standing on a stage if you have nothing to say.
Just as there is no point shouting a message, however loud, in an empty room.
column written/ published from Calgary
morning walk: -17C / 1F, clearing and warming – melting forecast for this afternoon! .. Gusta ready to romp, as if it wasn’t still crazy-slippery ….
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