Thursday evening was our bi-weekly toastmaster meeting and I gave my second speech. Here are the results:

Toastmasters International Speech #2: Organize your speech

Executive Summary

Good speech organization is essential if your audience is to follow and understand your presentation. You must take the time to put your ideas together in an orderly manner. You can organize your speech in several different ways; choose the outline that best suits your topic. The opening should catch the audience’s attention, the body must support the idea you want to convey, and the conclusion should reinforce your ideas and be memorable. Transitions between thoughts should be smooth.


  • Select an appropriate outline which allows listeners to easily follow and understand your speech.
  • Make your message clear, with supporting material directly contributing to that message.
  • Use appropriate transitions when moving from one idea to another.
  • Create strong opening and conclusion.
  • TIME: Five to seven minutes.

If interested here is some more detail on the project requirements

My Speech:
Title: A Bump In the Road
Requested Time: 5 Minutes

“Catastrophe!”, an economic catastrophe, is what president Obama was quoted in the Wall Street journal as saying would happen if the new economic stimulus bill was not passed quickly. At a price tag approaching $1 trillion dollars, enough to make each and every toastmaster on earth (230,000 of us), an instant millionaire, more than four times over,….it’s a big deal. But as I read the article I thought to myself “why? why is it needed? and underneath all of the partisan clamoring for re-election district dollars, is there some kind of larger debate taking place?”

Now, I am by no means an economist, and I didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so I certainly couldn’t explain how the economy got to be where it is today or all of the proposed ideas to fix and change it in my allotted five minutes, let alone our two hour meeting. But I found two interesting ideas that are not only battling in the halls of congress, but also in the halls of my apartment. It is an introduction to these two ideas that I would like to share with you this evening.

The first idea came out of the center of the great depression in the 1930s, articulated by economist John Maynard Keynes. He realized that there is one action that is good for each of us individually, but was bad for us collectively. What is the action? Frugality, thrift, savings! As a matter of fact he named it the paradox of thrift. In other words when times are tight, we are inclined to save instead of spend. But if we don’t spend, we are not buying goods and services that keep people employed. More people lose their jobs and the spiral continues. Keynes’ answer was that only government spending could overcome the collective paradox.

The second and opposing idea is of more recent. You know that $1 Trillion in proposed new spending, well…, eventually someone, somewhere, will have to pay for it. Maybe you….probably me. It’s called the theory of rational expectations – we know government money is simply our personal and business tax money, so more government spending means more future taxes – thus we should save more today, anticipating higher taxes and less income tomorrow…How big is our national debt and when may the bill come due, well,… combine the new stimulus cost with the current level of unfunded liabilities and the federal burden is over $56 Trillion, or over $480,000 per US household. As a matter of fact the Peter G. Peterson foundation recently bought a full page ad in the Washington post articulating the problem as a massive but unseen iceberg threatening to sink our ship of state.

At this point I am starting to feel very guilty…I took a look around my apartment as I am doing research and realize that I am part of the problem! Not only have I increased our emergency savings over the last few months but I have written my elected representatives expressing my views against bailouts and stimulus’.

I’m guilty of following both theories. Now I’ve really messed things up.

But actually the best solution probably lies somewhere in the middle, something that addresses both theories…, I am not even close to being smart enough to know what the right mixture is.

The one thing I do know for sure is the less dependent we are on decisions made in Washington, the better off we will be. If we save for emergencies, and invest for retirement. If we control our expenses and limit our risk. If we concentrate on income and education. If we helping others that might need a hand. By avoiding the temptations of extremes through moderation, whether crafting a solution for our economic problems, whether applied to debt, or risk, in our personal financial lives, as well as collectively as a nation…… instead of being faced with a big catastrophe, we might just see a small bump in the road.

Actual Time: 5:05

Outcome/Feedback: I botched this one. As soon as I started all organization and prep flew right out of the window. I didn’t follow the outline and ended up skipping around, I omitted a few key points that would have added clarity, and I didn’t have a strong conclusion at all. I passed the assignment but certainly didn’t do well. In hindsight the complexity of the topic should have been reduced. Something this thick could have only been presented in a very structured and exact way, something that I did not do. I am not sure I made much sense up there…but failures and embarrassments are what the program is all about, I’ll apply the lessons to the next speech’s development and preparation.

Previous Toastmaster International Speeches:

  1. The Ice Breaker

{ 1 comment }

niyaz February 19, 2010 at 10:11 am


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