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Speech 4: Sharing a childhood secret

Map Tonight, I did Speech 4 (“How to Say It”). I like seeing other people’s speeches so figured it’s about time I share!

Speech 4 – How to Say It

  • Select a topic that allows you to use vivid, descriptive words. Pay attention to the words you select and their arrangement. Your words should be so colorful that the audience can “see” them in their minds. Words should be clear, accurate, descriptive and as short as possible, and verbs should convey action.
  • Keep sentence and paragraph construction simple and short.
  • Use rhetorical devices to enhance and emphasize ideas.
  • Eliminate jargon and unnecessary words and use correct grammar.

I’m also working on giving better introductions to the Toastmaster of the Evening. Here’s mine of last night:

Jessica Ledbetter is a native of Newport News. She went from playing with spiders as a child to playing with the world wide web as an adult. If you see her stop suddenly, pick up something from the carpet, and run outside, don’t worry. She’s not crazy. She’s just putting a spider outside. Those friends of her youth still visit often. Speaking of her youth, here is Jessica with her speech: “Sharing a childhood secret.”

Competent Communicator Speech 4: “Sharing a childhood secret”

We were many. Grandma, Grandpa, Mom, Aunts, Uncles, cousins. One of us would arrive extra early to claim it. As soon as the gates opened, when the parking lot was empty, among the morning calls of a rooster, up the hill we’d go. All it took was one of the adults and it was claimed.Mister Toastmaster, Fellow Toastmasters, and Honored Guests, think of your favorite place as a child. Where did your family go every year? Have you been back? This is about one of those places that my family visited every year but I didn’t visit much when I became an adult.
I remember Easters long ago when my family was bigger. One of the adults would claim the picnic hill at Bluebird Gap farm. Sometimes, there was a peacock with a rainbow for a tail, waiting too. From that spot on the hill, we could see almost everything.While the adults did their adult thing, I would disappear and go to the swing set, barn or dirt mountain. When I came back, everyone was there chatting and laughing. Plus, the hill was filled with burger smells. After we ate, I disappeared again to go find my secret place at the farm.

That secret place was a small graveyard that is from the late 1800s to early 1900s. I found it one day when I was wandering the woods. It was on its own little hill overlooking the water. It was peaceful and I never ran into anyone back there. I felt safe.

Sometimes I sat on a fallen tree and felt the rough bark on the back of my legs. I used to climb a lot back then, but never went over the rusted fence into the cemetery. I was content sitting there in the quiet with the occasional rustle of leaves from a breeze or squirrel.

I recently went back to Bluebird Gap farm. The hill for picnics is still there, though my family wasn’t waiting. The barn is still there, though the horses have changed. The dirt mound is still there, though now it is hidden by trees. And, yes, I wandered back to find the secret place.Imagine my surprise when I saw little wooden planks set about 3 feet apart, marking a — gasp — path. What? I was taken back. A trail leading people to my hideaway?I got closer to the small fenced in place and saw a tripod. Then I saw a man taking pictures overlooking the water. The secret was out! I had to share! We chatted a little bit and he said he volunteered there for years and only just found out about the graveyard about two years ago.

Nice enough fellow. So, it’s alright that he knew about it.

After walking back from my now shared place, I paused at the entrance. I looked at the large map and saw right there, “Graveyard.” No longer was it just mine. It was now on the map for all to see.

I walked around the farm. The farm that is the fixture in my childhood. The farm that is a treasure full of treasures.

I asked one of the staff what I can do to help keep this treasure open for children to explore. I can volunteer. Who has time? We make time for what’s important, don’t we? And what’s more important than returning the joy that a place gave me for years and will continue to give me for years more?

Maybe while helping the farm, I will find a NEW secret place. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll help them put it on the map for everyone else to see.

Mister Toastmaster.

Overall, I remembered the descriptive words. I flubbed a few times but that’s why I’m there — to get better.

Also, I serve as Sergeant at Arms. Based on a member’s feedback, I’ve been working on how I start the meeting. I based this on the agenda’s quote and wrote it before the election.

Sergeant at Arms opening:

Good evening, fellow seekers of change. I call this meeting of the [club name], club #, to order.

On the agenda is a quote: “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” The colorful change outside is heralding other changes: our clocks went back an hour, we voted in a new president, and we’re getting closer to new year’s resolution time. We’re here, so we’re looking for change in ourselves. We’re becoming better speakers, better leaders and better friends. Now, let’s change to the standing position for the pledge of allegiance. [allegiance]  Please be seated. Thank you. Now, it is my pleasure to introduce our president, [president’s name].


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