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  • Steve Matthews

James Strieb - Gives A Super Awesome Speech

This was James' 3rd speech with the goal of "getting to the point", and although these are early days for James, he keeps impressing me with a fresh approach and broad repertoire. We interviewed via email. Here is what he had to say:

Q: Why the fabulously detailed focus on tediously mundane intensifiers?

'Intensifiers' are unnecessary in our day to day communication, our writing, and our speeches. I chose to speak about intensifiers because they're a bit of a pet peeve of mine, and because I believe that other members of the club could improve their ability to communicate by adopting the philosophy that I shared.

Q: How are you finding your Toastmasters journey so far?

Watching the other members of the club has given me insight into the craft of speech writing and delivery, and my own skills have improved tremendously. However, I'm still struggling with impromptu speeches. I can usually fill up the allotted time, but I am working on being able to organize my Table Topics speeches into a compelling format with a beginning, middle, and end.

Q: During your speech, how were you feeling, and how did it differ from the last time?

I've been told that I appear confident and natural on stage, which is comforting since I'm still nervous before speeches, and my hands continue to tremble once I sit down. Part of the reason I appeared to be so cool this time was because I was actively trying to go slow and use my time on stage; my previous speech was delivered too quickly, and I finished under time.

Q: What are some of the strategies you use when organizing your speeches?

I write my speeches according to the most common pieces of feedback I hear members giving one another. In particular, I try to have a clear three-part structure, and a strong "What's in it for me?" at the beginning of the speech. I also like to begin with a hook, like an anecdote or an evocative phrase.

Q: How did you find the audience?

So far I've found the audience to be quite engaged, which is probably due to the intensity with which I deliver my content (I've been told to smile more). I also seem to be loud enough to be heard by the entire audience.

James is listed on our membership wall if you would like to find out more about him.

"I love watching James on stage. He has a unique, engaging sense of humor, but despite his lighter side, shows determination to improve each time. If I were you, I would make an effort to watch James the next time he speaks. You will be blown away by his new growth." Email Steve Matthews if you would like to be featured on the VETC Blog.

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