## Testing 0.9.6.7

blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah. blah blah blah.

## Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start writing!

## Finished the Competent Communicator? Toastmasters’ Next Step

THIS IS THE CONTENT ENCODED!!!! After about a year in Toastmasters as you complete your Competent Communicator manual, you might be wondering what’s next.  Is the CC all that Toastmasters has to offer you?

## Moving Too Fast?

You may hear some older Toastmasters say that you shouldn’t go too fast through the Competent Communicator manual.  They have a valid point:  the longer you’re in Toastmasters, the more speeches and more evaluations you’ll see and learn from.   I strongly believe that you learn more about your speaking from the evaluations you give others.

If you rush through the CC, you are depriving yourself of a lot of learning.  But the great value of Toastmasters is that you work at your own speed.  If you can get through the CC in a few months and are comfortable doing so, don’t let me stop you!

I can say that because…

## The Competent Communicator Isn’t the End

When you finish the CC, you’re not done with what Toastmasters offers.  We’ve got a lot more for you to learn.

Prepared Material Series

If you joined Toastmasters because your boss told you to, was it because you’re going to be giving presentations of material related to work?  I’d recommend you take a look at the Better Speaker and Successful Club series of speeches.  They are available for free by download on the Toastmasters.org site.

Let me acknowledge that I commonly refer to these speeches as “zombie” speeches.  In the past, TI gave you the slides and a script – thus, a zombie could do these.  They were… terrible.  Horrible.  Important information for speakers or for clubs to be successful, but the format was less than stellar.

In the last few years, I believe that TI learned that these speeches had to be customized for the speaker.  So now they give you an outline of the material (you could probably still find the slides somewhere but DON’T!) and let you create a speech that suits your style and your audience.  Toastmasters even has a standard template for Powerpoint presentations for you to use if you like.  You can check out their branding information here.

I think that these speeches can teach you how to take someone else’s material and make it your own.  In the business world, that skill alone can be vital to your career!

We do have another series,  the Leadership Excellence Series, which focuses more on leadership than communication.  These have more application outside Toastmasters.

Looking to improve your skills in a specific way?  Look at our Advanced Manual series.  We have 15 manuals with 5 projects each that focus on different aspects of public speaking.  Check out this link to a district’s examination of each of the manuals where you’ll find all of them with a list of the projects inside.

You buy the manuals from Toastmasters.org  – but wait until you get the freebie coupon when you get your Competent Communicator Certificate in the mail.  You get two manuals for free!  Take advantage of this!

Consider an Advanced Club.  These clubs have a membership requirement that requires a certain number of speeches be completed before you can join.  The Toastmasters in these clubs are often looking for deeper, more insightful evaluations and longer presentation times.  Since some of the advanced manual speeches are longer than the average 5 to 7 minute projects, these clubs tend to hold longer meetings but only meet monthly.  They are worth your time if you want to move up in Toastmasters.

## The Award System

You’ll hear people stick letters after their names… CC, CL, ALB, ACG, DTM.

(Toastmasters is full of acronyms!)

Those letters indicate how far the member has gone through the Education tracks.  We have several award levels split between two tracks: Education and Leadership.  Each award has a set of requirements that you can find on the Toastmasters site.  When you finish your Competent Communicator manual, you can put CC after your name too.  Finish the CL and you add it “CC, CL” and so on all the way up to DTM:  Distinguished Toastmaster, the highest award we give.

Don’t think that it’s a simple or easy process.  A rough estimate shows that the DTM award is granted after some 7 hours of on-stage presentations and at least 1.5 years of officer service to a club and the district.  This is a challenging course and, in my opinion, the equivalent of a masters degree in practical communication.  Like the Boy Scouts’ Eagle Scout award, very few people do achieve it.  The estimates run between 2% and 6% of members achieve this.

It’s worth it.  (My opinion, but I earned mine.  I’m in northeast Ohio, so, of course, I’ll quote LeBron James here.)

You don’t have to be done with Toastmasters.  We want you to stay.  Your experience will help new Toastmasters and yourself to improve.

Stick around.  There’s more to come.

How about evaluating us on iTunes?

###### Our music is from

http://media.blubrry.com/onthetablepodcasts/content.blubrry.com/onthetablepodcasts/TM101_Project_11_final.mp3

The post Finished the Competent Communicator? Toastmasters’ Next Step appeared first on Toastmasters 101.

## Go Big and Inspire Your Audience! Project 10

The Inspirational Speech, the last of the speech projects in the Competent Communicator manual, challenges you to pull together everything you’ve learned so far.  Speech organization, presentation skills and the tricks of rhetoric to gain your audience’s attention and confidence all go together into a final speech project.

This speech assignment suggests several techniques to emotionally connect with your audience.  This is not the time to be subtle.  Go big!  Go dramatic!

While you’re expected to inspire your audience, this is also a great speech to try something new.  Did you see someone use a technique you’d like to try?

## Speaking Sitting Down?

My first Project 10 speech was my favorite.  While gasoline prices topped \$4.00 a gallon, I gave a speech about hypermiling. Using techniques to reduce your gas consumption while driving could hit my audience with information and motivation to change some of their ingrained driving habits.

The single drawback to speaking that day was a severe case of tendonitis in my knees.

I’d never seen anyone give a speech sitting down, but that day, it was my only hope.  Before the meeting, I asked the sergeant at arms to put two chairs in front of the lectern.  I acted as if I were getting into the car with my first sentence, and gave the rest of the speech sitting down.

I expected to be called on it.  But my evaluator thought it was clever to act as if I were driving for the speech.

Truly, from the strangest inspiration come the best ideas.

This speech is about inspiration – so you need to be inspired.

## What Do You Love to Do?  Inspire You Audience to Join You

I get a lot of questions about what to do with this speech.  A general misunderstanding of what inspiration is causes a lot of stress for speakers.  Don’t expect to inspire someone to do something they wouldn’t already consider doing.  Inspirational speeches need the audience buy into the topic and idea long before the speaker comes to the stage.  Introducing new ideas are rarely inspirational – those are informative speeches.  If you want to bring new ideas to your audience, please do it!  But you won’t likely reap much success with it.  Any person needs multiple exposures to information before they’re open to change.

With all this in mind, pick a topic that you’re passionate about.  Me?  I’m passionate about Star Trek.   I’ve gone to conventions, I always get to the opening nights of the movies.  Yes, I’m a Trekkie.  It would be very easy for me to want to inspire others to join me in my trek to the final frontier of fandom.

Make it easy on yourself.  Pick a topic that you can speak about almost without preparation.  I could speak about hypermiling because I’d been reading up on it and practicing it for months.  When you’ve got a topic you love, writing the speech and finding the emotional points you want to share is easy. Now you can go big with your speech.

## Go Big:  Turn It Up to 11

Are you naturally a very subtle person, who likes things to be calm and serene?  This speech could be that way… but I suggest you turn it up to 11 this time.   Find ways to stretch yourself in this presentation.  Now, my 11 is not your 11.  Don’t judge yourself against someone else.  Look inward and find at least one thing that you can do in this speech that pushes you past your comfort zone.  That’s where you should go with this speech.

## After Your Speech – It’s Time for Paperwork

Once your final speech is evaluated and the manual back in your hands, you need to hand the record sheet of your 10 speech projects to the club vice president of education.  Using the Toastmasters International website, the VPE will input your information.  A week or so later (always later if you send it in during June) you’ll get a certificate from Toastmasters and a letter telling you that you can order two free advanced manuals!  Take advantage of this right away – the coupon code expires fairly quickly and will only be offered to you once.

Congratulations!  You now get to put CC after your name!

It sounds like you’re done… but you’re not.  Not at all.  There’s a lot more to Toastmasters than just the Competent Communicator and Competent Leader manuals.  You can go big with Toastmasters.  We’ll talk about those in our next episode:  What’s Next?

How about evaluating us on iTunes?