Toastmasters – Table Topics on “Work” – and a speech format that can’t be beat (for me at least)

I experimented with a new format for my speeches — using a form that contains the same pauses and breaks you’d find in poetry (which helps with pacing, readability, and memorization) as well as center justified text. I was inspired by Gale King, one of the hosts of CBS This Morning. I noticed, when one of the cameras panned while going to a commercial break, that her notes followed a form similar to what you see below. My ability to ‘find my place’ whenever I looked back to my notes could not have been easier. The distance of each line from the left column, along with its distinct length from the preceding and following line, made recovering from a verbal stumble almost foolproof. Try this format during your next speech if you haven’t used it already. You may be surprised at how well composing your speech like a poem can help cut through the anxiety and stumbles!

Fellow Toastmasters…

My table topic today is about Work.

When you consider that for most of us,

just doing the average 40 hour workweek,

we will have logged

more than 80,000 hours

in our ‘prime years’,

that would make Work

a pretty large portion of our lives.

And why would we commit that much time?

Money is certainly a factor…

Recognition of our skills and accomplishments?

Comaraderie and working a part of a team?

For some folks like me,

what’s motivitating is

knowing that I’m contributing to something bigger than myself,

helping others realize their goals,

and doing something BIG, something MEANINGFUL.

So my first question for Table Topics is:

1. What is it that gets you out of the bed in the morning

and motivated to go to work?

Thanks [——–]!

While we may have a job we love like [———-],

…people that we enjoy working with,

…at a company we value being a part of,

there’s always ANOTHER path we could have chosen:

Hauling thousands of tons of pickled herring

 across the frozen Norweigean tundra

as an Ice Road Trucker.

“Doing God’s Work,” as Lloyd Blankefein

has referred to the job of being an investment banker

at the company he runs, Goldman Sachs.

Becoming a professional athlete

who moonlights as a motivational speaker,

…because lets face it, everybody needs a hobby.

So my next question is:

2. While we all know you LOVE your job at CBS Interactive,

 and would NEVER want to leave…

…in your wildest dreams,

what would be the ONE job,

no matter how crazy it might be,

 you would want to do,

instead of the job you have right now.

That was great!

When I was still in high school, I’m sure most of us went through this…

I took a career exam and ‘personality profile test’ with my college advisor.

MY career test indicated that I would be either

a farmer, like my grandfather,

my great grandfather, and my great-great grandfather,

or a bus driver, like my dad…

or a cowboy. Go figure.. we didn’t have any cowboys in my family,

so I’m not sure where that came from.

Obviously, these tests can’t predict everything, BUT

family can often be a big influence on the choices we make in life.

So my next question is:

3. Can you tell us about someone in your family,

or in your circle of friends, or anyone important in your life,

that has had an influence on your choice of work? And in what way?

And for my last question,

Following on the topic of my career and personality test,

as I mentioned earlier, I’m something of an Idealist:

I’m always searching for meaning in my work and my life,

something important that I’m driving myself to,

and making sure those I’m with are achieving THEIR ultimate goals,

What Myers-Briggs tests

for those of you who are aware of it,

refer to as an NF.

That’s an NF, as in my personality is grounded by

using “Intuition and Feelings”

not an MF, which I have also been called,

but that’s material for a completely different Table Topics.

Some famous “NFs” that I admire include

Barack Obama,

Ronald Reagan

Oprah Winfrey,

and Tony Blair

So… even if you’ve never taken a Myers-Briggs test:

4. Who is a leader whose work you have admired most,

and tried to emulate in your career,

and why?

Fantastic! Well this has been amazing for me to learn more

about the speakers who were brave enough to come

up here, and I hope it’s been for you as well.

I also hope that even if you didn’t have the chance to speak,

these Table Topics were thought provoking

and gave you something valuable

to take away from our Toastmasters meeting today.

Thank You.