Failing With Toastmasters

July 21st, 2005 by Steve Pavlina

John Richardson of Success Begins Today made an excellent observation about how the “You Have the Right to Be Wrong” concept applies to Toastmasters.

I was at a Toastmasters meeting on Monday, and since we had five guests that evening, we all did a round of introductions. One of our members introduced himself by saying that he comes to the club meetings to be bad. He’s a professional speaker and uses Toastmasters to test material and delivery.

I find Toastmasters to be a great environment for making mistakes and taking risks. I’ve done purely humorous speeches, gave a speech in film noir style, opened a speech with juggling, had the audience pretend to be superheroes, and incorporated wacky props like Barbie dolls and a ghost made from Kleenex and cotton balls. The supportive atmosphere of Toastmasters allows me to experiment well beyond the edges of what I’ve had the opportunity to do in front of other audiences. And I find that Toastmaster audiences appreciate a bit of wackiness and creativity, since they’ve already seen “the standard speech” a zillion times before.

This experimentation has greatly broadened my range as a speaker. I’d never given a humorous speech or used props or tried unusual delivery methods before joining Toastmasters. But now I’m convinced it’s actually less risky to to take risks. As a speaker I find I have a better chance of success if I stray a bit off the “safe” path. If I give a speech just like anyone else would, even if my content and delivery are excellent, the reception will usually be lukewarm. I’m not providing enough value to the audience. But if I do something a bit odd or unusual, it keeps the audience awake and attentive.

What Toastmasters has shown me is just how important it is to keep the audience entertained while you attempt to educate them.


Steve Recommends
Here are my recommendations for products and services I've reviewed that can improve your results. This is a short list since it only includes my top picks.

Food Revolution Summit (Free) - Adopt a healthy, energizing lifestyle
Spring Forest Healingfest (Free) - Learn to heal yourself with qi gong
Site Build It! - Use SBI to start your own money-making website
Getting Rich with Ebooks - Earn passive income from ebooks
Lefkoe Method - Permanently eliminate a limiting belief in 20 minutes
PhotoReading - Read books 3 times faster
Paraliminals - Condition your mind for positive thinking and success
The Journal - Record your life lessons in a secure private journal
Sedona Method (FREE audios) - Release your blocks in a few minutes
Life on Purpose - A step-by-step process to discover your life purpose

If you've found Steve's work helpful, please donate to show your support.

Get Steve's Free Newsletter to stay in touch and receive the newest updates

Free Personal Development Insights Newsletter

Get Steve's Free Newsletter

Sign up below to receive my free email newsletter, which is sent about once a month. It includes original and insightful bonus material to help you grow. No spam. No sharing of your email address. Easily unsubscribe at any time.