Today I delivered my P4 Speech. The original source of the speech is here. I did modify the speech at lot of places to suit my taste. Even though I did not clear the speech in the first attempt due to lack of little bit of preparation and a strong conclusion, the speech made me famous across the Orators Bangalore Club and I received overwhelming response from a lot of people.
The fourth Toastmasters speech project guides you to use simple, but descriptive language in your speeches.
The aims for this speech project focus on your selection of words and phrases:
- Choose words and grammar which communicate clearly.
- Choose words and grammar which appeal to the senses.
- Eliminate jargon.
A general approach could be to choose any of the following approach:
1. Choose Descriptive or Story-based Topics
Any topic can work, but to flex your speechwriting muscles, choose a topic which lends itself to vivid descriptions. Speeches based around stories or experiences will challenge you to select words and phrases to transport your audience from their chairs to the setting where your speech takes place.
2. Use Sensory Language
Make your audience see what you see, feel what you feel, taste what you taste, smell what you smell, and hear what you hear. In short, draw upon all five senses to create a completely immersive description. Transport your audience to a movie theatre by describing:
- Sight: the dizzying special effects of the martial arts scene
- Smell: the wafting aroma of buttered popcorn
- Sound: the booming surround-sound effects which made you jump from your seat
- Taste: the sweet licorice Twizzlers which melt in your mouth
- Touch: the claustrophobic squeeze of your knees pressed into the seatback in front of you
3. Use Repetition Wisely
Repetition of phrases throughout a paragraph, and repetition of sentences throughout your speech make your speech memorable. Wrap your speech around a signature phrase.
4. Avoid Topics About Words or Language
Toastmasters typically choose the topics which are about words or some other aspect of language, like poetry or figures of speech.
However, I recommend against choosing this type of topic. Rather than talking about words, let the focus be on your use of words, phrases, and grammar. Similarly, for project 5 (your body speaks), you should choose a topic that allows you to use your body, not a topic that is about body language. Further, in project 8 (get comfortable with visual aids), you will learn more by using visual aids to enhance your message rather than talking about projectors or flip charts.
Well, here then I go with my P4 Speech:
It was a nightmarish nightmare. Desiring to see Anushka Sharma in my dreams and dreadingly getting ToonToon instead. It was like finding a desert all of a sudden amidst western ghat’s evergreen rain forests. Waking up one day to find out that Bangalore’s darshini outlets won’t serve Masala dosas anymore.
I was dejected, disgusted, and devastated. I had fallen short and failed, no matter how fervently I tried. The news gave me bigger shock than the one Saurav Tiwary and Robin Utthappa would’ve got when they got to know that they were not selected for the T20 World Cup despite amazing performance at the IPL3! No matter how hard I tried to hide the fact, it kept popping up in my mind… just like Amitabh Bachchan’s ads pop-up in every other TV channel no matter how hard and quick you press buttons of your remote control.
Dear Toastmasters and Guests, the fact is… I am… a 3-speech toastmaster. I couldn’t come up with one more speech! I just couldn’t write a speech no matter how hard I tried! It looked like I could do anything else… I could look as macho as Hrithik Roshan; I could make more news than Rahul Mahajan; I could even grow taller and muscular than The Great Khali, but… I couldn’t come up with one more speech! I was, I am, and I will be a 3-speech toastmaster! I could even bear a 21-day fast, but not this tormenting truth!
It was tough to take terms with the reality! All the fun and frolic in my life faded away. The otherwise-evergreen factors in my life – enjoyment, excitement, entertainment – their existence evaporated. Wherever I went, whatever I did… this fact that I’m a 3-speech toastmaster hit me on my face all the time, like Himesh Reshammiya hits us with his voice. I started feeling more miserable than ‘Sanjay Saawariya Bhansali’! I no longer could enjoy pan-fried noodles at mainland china – the tempting tasty thing I love more than my life.
Even coffee didn’t give any kick! My days were as miserable as days in office when the vending machine was out-of-order! Roar of a tiger I heard at National Geographic channel didn’t interest me either, it only indicated that even an animal could get more vocal than me. In the menu cards of restaurants I kept searching for words to use in my speech. Even a 3D movie at gloriously grand PVR gold class didn’t bring down my grimace.
Well, you might want to know what I did to overcome this problem. Ask me what not I did! At times I took a crystal clean white sheet, wrote the title of my speech on top… underlined it, made a flowery box around it, overwrote it using another color pen… and I wrote the lyrics of ‘dard-e-disco’ underneath!
Some times I would come up with a great opening, write it enthusiastically… but then my mind would go as blank as Rani Mukerji’s world in the movie Black. It felt like Sehwag, hitting fours and sixes in the first over, and then getting out cheaply at gully in the second!
Someone once told me ‘you can get a speech topic everywhere, even in a casual conversation with your friends’. So, I started watching for words when my friends spoke to me. Soon my friends started avoiding me; they said ” Deepak, Man…you are worse than an irritating LIC agent!
I searched for ideas in every nook and corner of my world. I started looking for one-liners and anecdotes in the hoardings instead of enjoying a Priyanka Chopra or a Kareena Kapoor picture! I suspected my own sanity when I realized that I was looking for vocabulary even in Barbara Mori interview in TV! Newspapers, magazines, movies, and even horrible TV reality shows… I desperately searched everywhere for inspiration… in vain!
Dear Toastmasters and Guests, I may have to live rest of my life with this fact that I’m a 3-speech toastmaster, just like Salman Khan and Vivek Oberoi live with an Aishwarya Rai… sorry, Bachchan dump. They say ‘failure is the stepping stone for success’. But for me, this failure is like an elevator stuck midway while I’m in it. I can only take heart to say that this horrendous truth is a humbling experience. But this humbling experience gave me the courage to speak out my feelings as a speech. So, you don’t hesitate to speak and don’t worry about the topic and content. At the end of the day, your thoughts are going to be your idea and content of your speech and your feelings are going to make the speech. Open your heart and march. On the face of this earth, I will have to wait for few more minutes to know whether I jumped the fourth hurdle to the race to become a competent toastmaster.
PS: This Speech was very well appreciated at the IBC building, resulting in 15 IM requests congratulating me within half an hour of completion of the session. On my second attempt, I was awarded the “Best Speaker” Award for the session.