A few weeks ago our colleague Claudia Neumair (ZOA/S) visited one of our meetings. She works for the editorial department of BASF’s company magazine. Read her article about BASF Toastmasters in the May issue of “BASF information”.
From Freiburg to Frankfurt and from Ramstein to Reutlingen – on May 02, 2015, the best speakers of Toastmasters Division F meet in Mannheim. Winners of the previous Area contests compete against each other in the categories “International Speech” and “Evaluation speech”. The champions can proceed to Borås / West Sweden and present their speeches from 22.05–24.05 at the District Conference (D95, Europe North / East).
All those who are already member of a Toastmasters club or perhaps would like to be, are cordially invited to the event. It is an excellent way to get to know what Toastmasters provides: brilliant rhetoric, a warm and friendly atmosphere, inspiring exchange with others and know-how in leadership and organization. A buffet and drinks will be served. The event takes place at venue:
Lutherstr. 15-17, 68169 Mannheim.
Different characters can be convinced by different methods. While writing your speech it is important to know characteristics of your audience and to make sure that the style of your presentation and your arguments stay on target.
Of course your audience usually consists of various personalities but ask yourself – do they have something in common, e.g. working in the same field or sharing a similar interest or motivation? Especially in this case take a closer look at them. Finding out the audience’s basic personality type can lead to a special design of your presentation. Some ideas how to develop your speech according to the majority of characters in the audience.
Idealists are sympathetic, helpful, loyal and patient. People of this type like to work together with others to achieve results but don’t have a need to appear in public. You will find idealists especially in caring professions like doctors at a hospital or social workers.
- focus on team orientation,
- strengthen the sense of togetherness,
- show care about people within and outside the audience;
- isolate a group or a person,
- show contrasts (“what is right and what is wrong”).
Scientists, engineers and technicians match above-average to the type of a logician. This personality strives for perfection and is quality conscious. Focussing on facts they want to know possible consequences of activities.
- present facts and statistics,
- structure your speech,
- go into details;
- press them for time,
- demand creativity or a broad variety of alternatives.
A communicator stands out for inspiration and entertainment. This proactive personality is a team player and likes to establish contacts. In shaping the environment she / he tries to involve others. Especially creative people and artists represent this type.
- provide entertainment and humor,
- show passion,
- make a creative and colorful presentation;
- scare them with negative conequences,
- bore with facts and figures.
The dynamic person is usually dominant. Willing to take risks these people are decisive. They want to achieve results and overcome resistance of others. This group of people is highly represented by managers and entrepreneurs.
- show clear goals and visions,
- be enthusiastic,
- rise to a challenge;
- be sceptic and ask to many questions,
- show weakness.
Of course all of this is a rough description and simple categorization of personality types. Nevertheless it can be a guideline when you prepare your speech.
By experimental research Robert Cialdini found out major principles of persuasion. He focussed on the behavior of “compliance professionals”, e.g. people working in sales, adertising or marketing. People working in these fields find themselves often in a position where they have to persuade their vis-à-vis for a positive decision.
Usually a speaker isn’t in such a “dialogue” situation, but she / he also wants to convince the audience of an opinion or make them agree to the speech content. So why not try to adapt Cialdini’s principles of persuasion to your speech?
Reciprocation or “give & take”
It’s human nature that we respond to try to react in a corresponding matter to someone’s (friendly) gesture or action. This principle is used in sales – you get a taster or a freebie and feel obliged to buy a product or service. As a speaker you usually would not scatter little presents among your audience like pens or pocket lighters.
But sometimes you have prepared a handout of your presentation anyway. So why not handing it on to your audience with a remark like “It was an additional effort for me to prepare this handout / paper but I thought it might be useful for you.” May be you have arranged an object of demonstration or a special simulation to support your speech. Talk about it: “Especially to make it clear for you I have this and that, I hope you like it”. Receiving a “gift” like this makes your audience feel that they are in your debt. The need to “repay” can lead them audience to agree, for example if you need acceptance of a proposal or a project.
Commitment and consistency or “yes, yes, yes”
Once we are dedicated or used to an activity or an attitude we usually remain constant to it. Quite the same is with opinions or commitments. The challenge is to find a basic opinion or question the audience will easily approve. Have a look at your them main idea or assumption of your speech, is there a part in it acceptable for everyone? Then you can build on this first acceptance and create a chain of agreements that lead to your request.
Let’s make a simple example. If you want to convince your audience to exchange conventional bulbs to energy-efficient lamps you probably won’t succeed with a statement like “You should exchange every bulb in your household immediately!”. Instead try this one
- For sure reduction of CO2 emission is a major challenge of our society.
- Do you agree that energy efficiency is a key factor for reduction of CO2 emission?
- And everyone can contribute to make energy consuptiom more efficient.
- Even small measures are helpful.
- It’s clear that it’s up to each and everyone of us to each do something about it.
- So a change to a change to energy-efficient lamps can be implemented easily by everyone.
Social proof or “success by imitation”
Our behaviour is mostly orientated to successful patterns we already know. Feeling uncertain about an issue we try to follow proven examples and decide in accordance.
Ask yourself: How do recommondations for a product or a service affect your personal buying decision? So by mentioning successful examples of similar cases in a speech your audience will follow the suggestions you make. Try to provide cases where the concept or the ideas of your presentation were already effective.
S. Hofschlaeger / pixelio.de
Thommy Weiss / pixelio.de
Dear colleagues and Toastmasters,
best wishes for 2014! Perhaps one of your New Year’s resolutions is to improve your communication skills? Well, you will have to be patient until the end of January because our first meeting this year will be on Monday 01/27.
Everyone is welcome and will participate actively e.g. in Table Topics, presenting the joke of the evening or giving valuable feedback. As a Toastmaster you can proceed in the competent communication program by presenting a prepared speech.
As we want to become a regualar Toastmasters Club: Please spread the word by forwarding this message. Let us know if you need some hardcopies of flyers or material to promote our club to your fellow colleagues.
Thinking about a professional development, organising a family reunion, a new hobby? How about becoming a Toastmaster and improving your public speaking skills?
Twice a month members of BASFToastmasters improve their communication skills in many ways. Every club member works step by step through the program of competent communication and competent leadership at his / her own pace. This way everyone becomes more confindent in talking in front of a group. The feedback by every member and the speech evaluations help to identify opportunities for improvement and existing rhetorical skills. Furthermore speaking spontaneously can be learned by participating in Table Topics — short impromptu speeches given on a keyword or a question.
BASFToastmasters belongs to Toastmasters International. Toastmasters was founded in 1924 in the United States. The well-proven Toastmasters concept allows you to learn communication and leadership . Membership in a Toastmasters club is unique and different from other offers of rhetoric training. Good news: If you want to join BASFToastmasters, you only have to pay as little as 6 EUR a month.
Every BASF employee who is interested to get to know Toastmasters is welcome to visit us. Our regular meetings in 2014 start on January 27th. From that on we me meet on the 2nd and 4th Monday each month.
We’ve made a little brochure to tell you more about Toastmasters International and the club at The Chemical Company. Read more inside about your benefits of membership, how we conduct the regular Toastmasters’ meetings and about the communication and leadership track.