It was May 15 last year, in the middle of the afternoon, when I had just finished delivering a presentation, on becoming an author, to a group of elementary school students.
A beautiful little girl comes up to me after the show and says, “Mister, that was very good. But why do you use so, so, so many big words???”
Without thinking (at all), I blurt out, “Well, that’s because I’m SOPHISTICIATED.”
At this point a teacher approached us. The little girl says, “This man loves words too much!”
I interrupted and said “I love numbers, too.” The teacher said, “is that so?” I responded by saying, “100%”.
Mr. Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters. So many personal development programs talk about looking at “The Big Picture”, but few talk about examining the details.
In the opening story, it’s not the big picture that’s important, but rather the specific words: “sophisticated” and “100%”.
Did you ever hear that “the devil is in the details”? It actually came from the phrase “God is in the details” which emphasizes the need to be thorough and complete in one’s work.
Tonight, I will illustrate how DETAILS are the ANSWER, for your speeches, for your evaluations, and for our Toastmaster meetings as a whole.
Effective toastmaster speeches are all about details! We’re taught to focus on the details and mechanics of speaking from the get-go. It’s vocabulary, tone, and structure, we’re taught. It’s about not saying “Um’s” and “Ah’s”. What’s more detailed than that?
We don’t get lessons on picking our subject matter. Boy, it took me forever to figure what this speech would be about! We don’t get lessons on how to become passionate about a subject we must talk about and may not know much about. And who ever teaches us how to make money as a professional speaker?
Not Toastmasters. And that’s because the big picture is less important than the details.
Now let’s talk about evaluations. Do you just listen to an oral evaluation, or do you actually take the time to read each and every written evaluation? Do you have a follow-up conversation with your evaluators to answer any questions or get more specific “DETAILS”?
Enunciation is very important for public speaking, and nobody ever told me that my enunciation wasn’t great, until I specifically asked for specific details. I had a habit of dropping the “le” in words like “people”, so it would sound like “peopow”. It’s a very small, subtle difference. But a “smaw detao” like that can cause an audience to get distracted and not hear our message.
So focusing on details will improve our speeches, our evaluations, and it will improve our entire meeting! What would our meetings be like without a vote counter, for example? It may seem like a little thing, but this little detail (being recognized as a top performer) makes us feel good, it encourages people to do better, and validates people’s efforts.
What details could make our meetings even better? What if the theme was decided and communicated at least two meetings in advance? This would give people a chance to tailor their speech to the theme. It would at least create more excitement and anticipation. Why not let people know which manual speeches or advanced manuals are upcoming? This allows members to be intrigued by manuals that they may not know anything about.
Details are the answer. In toastmaster speeches, in evaluations, in running meetings, and in life.
Now if I had a magic lamp, and told you that if you rubbed it, a genie would magically appear and grant you three wishes, would you believe me?
There is such a lamp, but the problem is that most people forget about the DETAILS. Have you ever heard the phrase “be careful what you wish for”? People don’t know the DETAILS about making wishes.
If we wish for unlimited wealth, we just might get it. But we might also get a dysfunctional lifestyle full of rehab. Shouldn’t an “all-knowing-God” know what we really meant to say in our hearts: Our wish is that we want the unlimited wealth without ANY of the challenges associated with it.
Some of you might be thinking, “Really—is correct grammar and syntax a condition for getting wishes granted?”
It seems so.
If we wish to be the most sought-after professional speaker in the world, we just might get it. But we might turn into a person who lacks humility, is rude, and is just not fun to be around.
It’s all about the details. Details are the answer. Let’s not just know what we want. Let’s know all the DETAILS of what we want…
Let's love the world together...
[)anish /|hmed, blind visionary