Content Writing Tips for Toastmasters Speech Contest
You took a deep breath, showed some bravery, and just nominated yourself to participate in the upcoming Prepared Speech Contest. The contest is coming up in a few weeks, and you have no clue what you are going to speak about. You are fully aware that mastering your content is critical, but you don’t have any idea how you are going to do that. Familiar?
I was in the exact same spot two years ago when I was competing in the Toastmasters International Speech Contest at my club level, and I ended up amongst the top six finalists at the International Speech Contest in Annual Toastmasters Convention held in Goa, India. You must be wondering how I did it. Right?
Let me share a few tips for you to craft your content for the speech so you can maximize your chances of winning:
Plagiarism is a big NO. As per the speech contest guidelines any speech which has unoriginal content more than 25% and does not attribute the source of the content, is liable for disqualification. When your content is original, you are likely to be more comfortable with the delivery of the speech and your chances of winning would increase.
Identify your Key message
It is absolutely essential to figure out the key message of your speech, and that key message should be describable in 10 words or less. If you have a long key message or several messages combined in the same speech, there is a very high likelihood that the impact of your message will be diluted. In my speech for the International Speech Contest titled “Just Jump”, I spoke about “taking the jump” or in other words taking the first step to conquering your fear. It was an inspirational speech in which I talked about a Sky Diving experience and connected it to a personal incident in which I overcame one of the biggest fears of my life.
Your key message should resonate throughout your speech.
Add Life in your speech
Look for stories from your own life if possible. You could look for stories which taught you a life lesson or an incident that connects to the main message you chose. I was watching one of the keynote speeches delivered by Mohamed Ali Shukri at the Toastmasters International Convention in which he talked about the importance of having a personal touch in your content and I couldn’t agree with him more. The more personal touch your speech has – the more likely it is to connect with the audience and the judges.
Other sources of inspiration
In case you are still unable to find the key message you are going to speak about, you could look at some motivation, leadership or any other books for inspiration. Read the key learnings from the book and try to see if you can find some stories to connect with those learnings.
Ask yourself these three questions before you are convinced that you have the winning speech content:
- What inspires you?
- What are you passionate about?
- Is it going to make an impact on the audience?
If the answer to all the three questions is yes – that is your winning speech criteria.
Include humor (if possible)
Humor is the easiest way to get your audience’s attention. It has been seen year after year – the speeches that were funny yet had a message were far more successful than boring monologues. Weave humor in your speech where possible. The easiest way to source humor is to look at your own life for embarassing slipups or goofups.
Make it universal
If your speech is tightly tailored to a niche audience or geography – chances are that it will not do as well in the later stages of the audience where there will be a mixed group of people. Try to keep your content universal and not too specific.
I wish you good luck in your preparation for the contest and hope above tips would be helpful for you. If you are still looking for some motivation or reason behind why you should participate in the speech contest, please read my article on “Why Contest?” Please share, like, subscribe and comment on what you would like to hear next.