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Public Speaking Tip: The 4-Hour Speech Draft

Reid Walley being interviewed by Rick Sydor about Div D Toastmasters model speechDraft a speech on Monday to be delivered 4 days later, on Friday. Turns out I spent only 4 hours crafting the 10 minute speech. And it went really well!

Inspired by an article in Toastmaster Magazine’s April 2011 edition entitled “How to Write Your Speech in One Hour” (pg. 8), I set out with a similar goal.

My goal was to spend as little time as possible crafting this speech. And with no rehearsal at all – none. It’s my newest speaking experiment to become more comfortable with the fear of public speaking. For this speech I focused on topics that I knew well or experiences in my life that really sank in. My plan was to just flat-out make bubble-notes, block the order/flow, then write an opening line and a conclusion. And no rehearsal. None. Simply know the order/flow of the story. And stick the opening and closing!

The goal is to feel like myself on stage; like “it ain’t no big deal.”

Mon, Apr 23: Initial list of possible speech topics.
Time spent: 1 hour.

Draft of multiple public speaking topics - Apr 23 2012

Tues, Apr 24: Narrow down to 2 topics (it was between “WordPress how-to” and “Juicing”). Draft final topic: “Juicing.” Public speaking tip: This was a topic I knew well, as I’d been juicing for the past 2.5 months and could easily discuss the topic. I first blocked out the “flow” of the speech by drawing 2-3 boxes next to each other. Then repeated this box-drawing process for at least another 3-4 rows. Next, I titled each box and added some basic text. Each row gets labelled with a letter (A, B, C, D), and each box within a row gets numbered (1, 2, 3).
Time spent: 2 hours.

Wed, Apr 25: Write 2nd draft of final speech. Change title of speech to: “What Does Kale Look Like?” Public speaking tip: This question of ‘what does Kale look like’ was a real turning point for me in my actual juicing experience and served as a strong memory/flow anchor. I wrote this final draft in a letter-paragraph, number-sub-paragraph format. The paragraphs switch back-and-forth between a “storyline” focus and a “product/how-to” focus. This helps to keep the speech easy to follow, relatable and sharable.
Time spent: 1 hour.

Fri, Apr 27: Presented model speech for the District 39, Div D Toastmasters Evaluation Contest. Location: Sacramento County Board of Supervisors Chambers, 700 H St, Sacramento, CA.

Note: the title of this post is definitely a nod to Tim Ferriss and The 4-Hour Workweek

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