A Speaker’s Secret Weapon: Energy

26 October 2015  (80 Toastmasters and Guests)

Music blaring, sumo-wrestlers straining, Italians gesticulating, group Karaoke, a kaleidoscope of rhythms, pingpong balls compressing, be in the moment, a parade of power poses … What exactly is going on!? It’s Olivia Schofield live at Center Berlin Toastmasters!

Olivia is the founder of Spectacular Speaking, a company dedicated to raising the standard of public speakers and their presentations. Olivia is also a speech coach, TEDX speaker, World Championship of Public Speaking Finalist, and an experienced Toastmaster. Olivia has identified the one element that turns a good speaker into a spectacular speaker – energy! And that’s what she shared with us tonight. Energy: how to create it, contain it and channel it; how to turbo charge your stage performance while responding to the energy of the audience.

Starting out with blaring music, Olivia certainly revved up our energy. We moved into speaking as a sport and experienced the energy build of adding physical exertion to our warm-up routine. What do I do with my hands!? How often have we heard that question? Look to the Italians for good examples. Use open, expressive gestures with the soft side of your arms to appear authentic, approachable, and convincing. Variety adds increased interest. Practice your speech to varying musical rhythms, match your vocal quality to the qualities in the music … now loud and demanding, now soft and wooing, now wistful, now insistent. Tempo, volume and rhythm variations catch audience attention. And don’t forget to be in the moment when you are on stage. It’s too late to think about what you should have done. You’re there, so be there fully! And when you feel nervous, envision your body filled with lottery-style ping-pong balls – scattered, flying every which way. Imagine them in the center of your body and gradually start corralling them into a more and more compact space, till you have them all condensed in a single line, zip it up, it’s your compact, controlled energy source. Add a few of Amy Cuddy’s (see TED Talks) power poses and you’re set to go on stage!

Thank you Olivia for a stimulating approach to public speaking.

Now that we were sufficiently energized, we launched into our prepared speech section. Three Toastmasters delivered humorous speeches and received detailed feedback from Olivia, Florian M., and the audience. Quality was the name of the game. To catch these speeches, come to the Toastmasters Division C Humorous Speech Contest on Saturday, 31 October, 10:30 – 16:30, CVJM, Karl-Heinrich Ulrichs-Straße 10, 10787, Berlin (near Nollendorfplatz).

What will I remember from this evening? Sumo Wrestlers, Helium Balloons and Pony-Shoes.

What was the take away from this evening? Opening up to energy is magnificently empowering.