Need to brag a bit… about a #toastmasters achievement… I completed my ACB requirements this week

It has been a whirlwind December with gymnastics meets and holiday programs and preparing for Christmas but in between all those obligations I managed to complete a personal goal of mine: present my final speech for my Advanced Communicator Bronze (ACB)??award for Toastmasters.
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I completed the final project in my Interpretive Reading manual at my last Toastmasters meeting (12/19/11) and I think I really nailed it. The project was the "Oratorical Speech" and I presented my interpretation of JFK's 1962 address to Rice University, "We Choose to go to the Moon."
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When I completed my Competent Communicator award in early 2010 I chose the Interpretive Reading manual as one of my advanced manuals that I would use to complete for my ACB award because I wanted to stretch my vocal variety and I felt the Interpretive Reading projects would help me do that. The projects definitely stretched my vocal variety – I actually did a sound effect in my Tall Tales speech contest and I don't think I would have without the work I'd done on some of the Interpretive Reading projects. What I didn't expect was how much the Interpretive Reading manual would force me to PRACTICE MY SPEECHES…
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For my own speeches, I tend to go in with a solid outline in my head of what I want to speak about, several anecdotes in mind that I can use to stretch the speech and a couple talking points that I could smoothly skip??if I need to??shorten the speech. With the Interpretive Reading projects there were a couple projects that I did not meet time because I had not practiced enough to know if my material would go under or over time. When you are reading someone else's work, you can't just wing it when you realize the green light has not come on yet…
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The "Oratorical Speech" project has a time frame of 8-10 minutes and if you look up JFK's speech on YouTube, it is over 17 minutes long. I worked on editing the speech to fit the 8-10 minute time frame for several weeks – taking out certain passages; rewording the transition sentences to smoothly flow past the omitted material; practicing the edited speech to figure out the new timing; and starting the process all over again when it was still too long. At one point I thought I had it but I hadn't listened to JFK deliver the speech yet. When I did, I realized that my planned presentation style was still too fast and, therefore, I still needed to cut out a lot of material.
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In the end, my speech was 9??minutes 53 seconds??long and I got many comments on how inspirational the speech was and how well I matched the oratorical style the speech demanded. I am very happy with my editing of the speech and my??delivery of the speech.??The speech still had all the inspirational qualities that the original possessed and??my??vocal variety in the form of pacing, pauses,??and volume was beyond anything I've accomplished in past speeches. Maybe not quite to JFK's standard but pretty darn close. 🙂
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Plus I completed a personal goal way ahead of my target date. I was hoping to complete my ACB requirements by the end of the Toastmaster year (June 2012). I actually completed my ACB requirements??with the delivery of this speech, way ahead of the target date. YEAH!
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Goals for calendar year 2012 – finish my Competent Leadership manual; deliver at least??7 of the 12 required speeches/presentations for my Advanced Communicator Silver award; deliver at least 1 of the 2 presentations required for my Advanced Leader Silver award. I should be able to meet these goals as long as I keep focused… Come on, 2012 – I'm ready!
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