Most of the time, we use video in the club as a teaching tool, sharing it privately so members can see their performances after the meeting. At our February 3 meeting, all three featured speeches were so strong we asked permission to make them public.
These videos are not technically perfect, but I hope the essence of the speeches shines through.
A large part of the value of Toastmasters comes from getting immediate feedback on your speeches and presentations. This is a peer-to-peer model for education and self improvement, where members work hard at learning how to teach what they have learned in the program.
Giving good evaluations is an art of its own, and Club Awesome is lucky to have as one of its members Dorrette Keen. Just this past weekend, Dorrette won an evaluations contest at an area event where our members were competing against representatives of four other clubs.
To give a great evaluation, you first need a speech to evaluate. Jay Jawitz came to the contest not as a competitor but to give the “test speech” for the evaluators to evaluate. As a benefit of playing this role, he got to hear a variety of perspectives on a single speech. “I got a lot out of my evaluations,” he says. “I learned that I could have strengthened my beginning and conclusion. I realize that I could prepare my speeches in the future a lot better.” By reviewing the video, he also got a chance to evaluate himself, finding more things he wanted to improve.
Dorrette and Jay both gave permission to share the video of their performances, so you can understand the kind of feedback you can expect in Toastmasters. The ideal is to give just the right mix of positive feedback and suggestions for improvement.
Jay’s speech was about learning to let go of the unnecessary “drama” in life.
Here is Dorrette’s evaluation.
Dorrette will be going on to the next level of competition, and if she wins again will represent our club at the level of the district (South Florida and The Bahamas). Most importantly, she gives quality evaluations on a weekly basis to new members and experienced ones at Club Awesome. We’re all better for it.
We did this as an experiment, broadcasting the segment using Facebook Live Video (meaning that some people tuned in while our meeting was under way). I thought might capture the attention of some of the morning people out there who would be looking for something interesting during our meeting time — and therefore might be more likely to stop by one of our meetings.
The Facebook Live Video service is built into the Facebook mobile app. If you tap the status icon, you will see “Go Live” as one of the alternatives to typing a message.
The app uses your smartphone camera. I toggled it from the default selfie view to use the back-facing camera and secured the phone to a tripod using a cheap clamp I bought a couple of months ago (see below).
One thing I have found a little tricky is that with my Android phone the video only works properly if I position the phone vertically, whereas my instinct is to turn it horizontally (for a widescreen more TV-like video). However, Facebook actually squares off the picture, so you don’t get that vertical video effect that always looks funny to me.
Club Awesome uses a WordPress-powered website that makes it easy to add video (see my WordPress for Toastmasters site). To embed the video into this post, I just pasted in the link for the video into the WordPress editor, and WordPress automatically embedded the video player (similar to the way it works with YouTube video). The easiest way to find the link for the video is to click on the timestamp of the associated post.
Our club officers are talking about doing this more often with the speeches of the more confident members. Meanwhile, we will continue with our practice of routinely recording video of member speeches. The difference is those are shared privately for educational purposes, albeit with the possibility of publicizing some of the best, with the member’s permission. When you do Facebook Live Video, you’re committed! There is no opportunity to review the video before it is broadcast, and Facebook provides few editing controls.
If you are really unhappy with how the video came out, you could always delete it so it won’t continue to be available for replay. But Toastmasters are supposed to be brave! Live a little and Go Live with Facebook.
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