“Together, Stronger!” — My Toastmaster Journey: Part 02 — Writing a Speech for a Purpose

Sri Lankan community peacefully protesting against the years of ongoing corruption and mismanagement in their country @ Federation Square, Melbourne

It has been sometime since I did my ice breaker speech at the Toastmasters club. Recently, I got an opportunity to proceed with my second speech. I am on my Presentation mastery pathway, therefore the next speech is focused on writing a speech with a purpose.

The pathway itself does provide important resources to prepare. I learned many organisational patterns in writing a speech. And then, there came our good old “What are we going to talk about?” friend.

I was confused about this. There were many topics to talk about. On top of that, this meeting was my first in-person meeting after many zoom gatherings happened due to covid. Obviously I was super nervous!

At this point my girlfriend told me, “Try to be yourself. If you can do that, most of this fear would wear off”. Then I thought, this is a great advice. What would make me to be myself then?

Author participating the peaceful protest @ Federation Square, Melbourne.

During this time, Sri Lanka is going through its worst financial crisis due to years of mismanagement and corruption. People finally decided to stand up and resist with peaceful protests throughout the country. I have been a strong supported for this, and even participated the protest organised by the Sri Lankan community at Melbourne.

That’s why I decided, the speech should be about this.

This task encouraged me to ask three questions regarding the speech.

  • Why would your audience want to hear about it? — Pure interest about whats happening in the world, and also they would be interested to hear a story about how unity can lead to a much stronger force.
  • At the end, what do you want your audience to remember about the speech? I wanted them to keep an idea about whats happening in Sri Lanka, and maybe to gain their trust and support.

My purpose for the speech was to, Make the audience realise that in the modern world, voice of the free people are stronger when united, and need to be heard.

I decided to narrate my story around the theme of, how people as a whole can make a much stronger impact, rather acting individually.

I also planned to use the situation in Sri Lanka as an example. To describe it at the start, and echo it at the end. This is a pattern I learned from the pathway resources, and it’s called “Particular/General/Particular organisational pattern”, in which speaker develop the speech around an example.

To inspire, I managed to inject my message in the conclusion part of the speech, thus the audience would keep it in their hearts.

That’s it. I delivered this speech at the meeting and it was well received. I had a wonderful evaluator, and among the many praises, she suggested me to work more on my confidence when delivering the speech. I do plan to move forward with that wise suggestion, and act on it from my next speech onwards.

Thank you for the Introduction!

Among the many tv shows I have watched over the years, the best one for me is Breaking Bad. I’m sure many of you must have seen it, but for those who have not, its a story about a chemistry teacher. He was diagnosed with a terminally ill cancer. Seeing that he only has days to live, and also there is not much he has saved for his family, he decides to earn quick money by producing and selling methamphetamine, which is an illegal drug. This went really well and he made a lot of money. But with money, then came power. With time, he got blinded by power and forgot his core values. He started controlling everyone under him. At one point it seemed like he is unstoppable. Such powerful and strong figure. But, eventually, people he was controlling, started getting united under a common cause to resist him. This turned the story upside down.

While watching this, I was amazed to see how people as individuals can be vulnerable, but the when the same people start getting united, they can become a much stronger force.

Dear fellow toastmasters. I can also relate to this story with a very similar example. Its from my motherland, Sri Lanka.

About a couple of decades ago, a civil war broke out in Sri Lanka.

About a decade from now, there was a government elected in Sri Lanka with many good core values. They wanted to stop the civil war. Over the years they put their blood and sweat into it and finally managed to stop the war. This earned them the trust from majority of the people. Because finally we were free. This also made them to win the next immediate election with a massive number of votes, ultimately granting them with near limitless power according to Sri Lanka’s constitution. But unfortunately, the same power blinded them. Years of corruption and mismanagement went on. Eventually it led to the worst financial crisis in Sri Lankan history. The common people in Sri Lanka started going through massive food, fuel and power shortages.

People wanted to stand against the government for a long time. But initially, they did it as individuals. Thus it was easier for the government to suppress them. However, the shortage of critical supplies was too much. On top of that, the world also changed during these times, granting people with the power of social media. Collectively, people communicated and stood up against the government without any political influence. They chose non-violent peaceful protests where everyone participated. This time, the government tried, but failed in suppressing people as a whole. Eventually they had to take few steps back and were forced to fixed the problem rather running away from it.

We can learn a lot from these stories. It does not matter whether its the Europe, Middle East, or Asia. We can join hands and stand against for anything, that share the same values we believe in. It could be as simple as sharing a facebook post, or using a hashtag. Because, its always, Together, Stronger!

Thank you!

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Cloud and AI Researcher | Ex-Senior Full-Stack Engineer@WSO2 | IAM Specialist | Ph.D. Student@ University of Melbourne

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Tharindu Bandara

Cloud and AI Researcher | Ex-Senior Full-Stack Engineer@WSO2 | IAM Specialist | Ph.D. Student@ University of Melbourne