Powerful Speech-Designing

One of the activities of Toastmasters Club is having workshops. We had the privilege of Mr Glenn Lim sharing his professional tips on speech designing in October.

Below are what he shared:

Purpose Statement

  • Purpose of Speech – Make it clear if it is to announce, inform, persuade or entertain.

Begin with the end in mind.

  • Theme of Speech – craft the speech to fit the theme.
  • Target Audience – age/vocation/industry/education/needs etc
  • Speech Title

Speech Organisation

  • Opening

1. Shocking: statement or non-verbal acts
2. Story-telling: It’s a dark, stormy and cold night
3. Joke – diffuses tension in the room; collect your jokes
4. Questions – rhetorical questions; humorous; thought-provoking
5. Quote – Winston Churchill

  • Body

1. Triad/Power of Three: Collection of 3 relevant ideas

I came, I saw, I conquered
Friends, Romans, Countrymen
The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

2. Acronyms: linked to the subject

STAR: Special Thoughtful Action Resilient

3. Alliteration: repetition of the first letter or syllable at the beginning of each word

3Ds Design Develop Deliver

4. Rhymes: repetition of the vowels of each word to create rhyming and poetic effect

Course Source Force

5. Chronological model

Jan Feb March

6. Geographical model

Planet Galaxy Universe

7. Pendulum model: acknowledge others’ opinions and slip in your own

Proposition Opposition Conclusion
Society says Parents say I say
Pros Cons Recommendations

  • Closing

1. Tie back to Opening.
2. Use an Illustration/Quote
3. Call to Action/Challenge


Project 2 – Window to the World


Good afternoon, Toastmaster of the Day, fellow Toastmasters and guests. 

Let’s stimulate our minds a bit this afternoon.   I have a riddle for you: what object has the following three characteristics?  

1. It is a miniature work of art (pause)  

2. It showcases a nation’s culture, history and developments (pause)  
3. It is an ambassador of a nation (pause)  

Have you got an answer … or still racking your brain to think?  Any guess?   The answer is …. none other than the humble postage stamp ★★★Bingo! The answer is indeed the humble postage stamp★★★ (pause) 

You might be wondering, if a postage stamp has all the characteristics I just mentioned.  If this is on your mind, apparently you have not taken a good look at stamps.   

But you are excused because in an era of unmatched technological advances in communication, for many people, postage stamps are fast becoming part of history. (pause)  

Nonetheless, have you ever spent some time to appreciate these humble pieces of coloured papers we affix to envelopes as postage, and which have been issued from postal services since 1840? (pause)  
[tone changes] What is there to look at, you would probably ask?   

Plenty. (pause)  

Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words.  So is a postage stamp.   (pause)  ★★★Slide 1★★★

Let me go through the three characteristics of a postage stamp. 

    First: Miniature Work of Art

In many nations, famous artists have been chosen to design stamps and many different art forms may be used to create the image on a stamp including (pause) ★★★Slide 2★★★ photography (pause), painting (pause), graphics, cartoons (pause), sculpture and collage.    
Every subject you can imagine has been depicted on colourful stamps: Animals (pause), sports (pause), maps (pause), cars (pause), ships (pause)and even movie stars and prominent personalities.   

No matter what your interest, there are stamps that will complement that interest.  

Indeed, stamps form the world’s biggest public art gallery, showcasing a diverse and striking picture of the world.  ★★★Slide 23★★★

    Second: Showcases a Nation’s Culture,  History and Developments

★★★Slide 24★★★

Stamps are one of the most significant features and indications of developments, embodying and dating events and occasions of a nation and its people. They summarize the time and space. They tell with their variations and colors, eventful details about a nation and its economic, social, artistic and cultural heritage.  

Eg, there are stamps that honour a person, an invention, an event, or a place in a nation’s history.

    Third: An Ambassador of a Nation

Apart from visual education, a stamp also provides a means to project a nation’s identity worldwide. ★★★Slide30★★★

Monaco’s Prince Rainier III once said that a postage stamp is “the best ambassador of a country.”   

Come to think of it, a stamp is the smallest ambassador.  It plays a great role as a brand image of postal administration and a statement of sovereignty of a nation. ★★★Slide34★★★

Stamps help to publicise a nation’s participation and contribution in regional and international affairs and accord recognition to these regional and international events or activities of importance to a nation.           

So much about the characteristics of stamps.  Before I wrap up my speech, I would like to share some nuggets of information on Singapore stamps.

Did you know that local stamps are categorised into two main types?  

They are: 1. Definitive Stamps (pause) and 2. Commemorative/Special Stamps

    First: Definitive Stamps

These are stamps printed to meet normal postal demand. New definitive stamps are released every 3 to 5 years in Singapore. These are some of the definitive stamps released in the past ★★★Slide37★★★

    Second: Commemorative/Special Stamps

A different style of design was used very occasionally to mark a special event. These issues are known as ‘commemorative stamps’.   Commemorative stamps celebrate significant national and international events, for example, ★★★Slide40★★★

Special Stamps depict subjects of general interest such as ,flora, fauna, architecture  history and culture ★★★Slide44★★★

Greeting stamps are a type of Special Stamps, and can be used on special occasions to convey joyous messages of love and caring. ★★★Slide47★★★


In closing, someone once said:“The seemingly humble postage stamp deserves more acclaim than it is customarily given. It’s a minuscule storybook with a tale to tell of history, occasion and human endeavour.”  

The next time you receive a mail, or send out one, do spend some time on the stamp and also the post mark.  They tell (pause) stories… 

Thank you.   

Unsatisfactory performance

Perhaps it was because I was not as well prepared as my maiden speech. Perhaps it was because I was still gripped by nervousness. Perhaps it was because I was speaking in front of a guest speaker and was feeling acute anxiety as a result.

I think it was a confluence of factors though being not well prepared and getting stage fright, to me, were the main contributing factors. I had been toying with the idea of postponing this speech as I have been extremely busy at work. In fact I only finalised the script of my speech two days before Saturday and I worked on the slides till 2am, and then woke up before 7am to go to work. If not for the one-hour practice with the slides just hours before my speech, my performance would have been worse. I hadn’t had time to practise in front of an imaginary roomful of Toastmasters either, unlike what I did for my earlier speech.

What I learned from this lesson – don’t give a speech if I’m not ready or well prepared.

But what floored me today was NERVOUSNESS. My shaky voice and unclear diction betrayed my nervousness. During break, a Toastmaster from another club said he would still feel nervous even having delivered several speeches and what one can do is to manage it. Indeed, but the question is how.

Here are what others and myself evaluated my performance:

Guest speaker Mr Glenn Lim: He had only positive comments for me. I think he was kind not to put me down.
◇ good structure – using a question to open

◇ use of metaphor – a picture is worth a thousand words

◇ oratorical – cut out connecting words; eg photography, painting, graphics… Instead of saying for photography, for painting…

◇ effective transition – use of “in closing” etc as signposts

◇ something about “nuggets” of information (didn’t catch it what about the word)

◇ personification – stamps and postmark tell stories

Appreciate Angela and Anthonius’ opinions.
Angela, my evaluator:
◆ Could have taken more time with introduction – talking more slowly would have more impact
◆ Could have chosen a specific topic, ie, Singapore stamps
◇ That used slides very good in project 2
◇ Good transition
◇ Nice phrases “a picture is worth a thousand words” and “stamp is the best ambassador of a nation”.

Antonius, my mentor:
◆ Opening and closing imbalance – top heavy bottom light; opening 50 sec but closing only 30 sec.
◆ Too many slides – should flash per slide for 3 sec
◆ rigid and lop-sided posture

◇ strong vocal variety

◆ Nervousness, nervousness and nervousness (my heart was pounding just before the speech)
◆ Not well prepared
◆ Too many slides (should slides  even be used for project 2?)
◆ Script did not relate to some slides directly, eg when I talked about a place, the slide should show a place)
◆ Hard to think of a subject to talk about and spent three weeks on research and less time on scripting and practising