“If you are not feeling it, leave it”


Interview on 24 November 2011 with Ola Aralepo winner of District 71/Glasgow Humorous Speech Contest 2011

Question: How long have you been a member of Toastmasters?

Ola: I have been a member of Tube Talk for 5 years. It was originally a company club for the Transport of London, but it is now an open club which means anyone can join.

Question: What made you decide to join Toastmasters?

Ola:I was considering starting my own business and wanted to learn how to present my business ideas and how to network. As I was not confident in social settings a friend suggested that Toastmasters would improve my public speaking skills and confidence. I googled Toastmasters and found Tube Talk Holborn.

Question: How did you get the idea for your speech ‘What part of I don’t have a licence don’t you understand?’

Ola: The idea came to me after I updated my Facebook status about the fact that I kept receiving reminders from TV Licensing to renew my licence for a television which I no longer owned. The replies that I received from other Facebook users made me realise that this situation was not just peculiar to me – other ‘TV-less’ people were being hassled too. Based on the feedback I decided that I had the seed for a speech!

The original speech I had written for the club Humorous contest covered the subject of customer service. However, two weeks before the club contest I decided to develop the TV licence speech because I just wasn’t ‘feeling’ the customer service speech I had planned . You have to feel a speech in your gut to make it come alive in performance. My motto is, if you are not feeling it, leave it – and if you’re stuck for speech ideas, update your facebook status!
Question: How did you memorize your speech?

Ola: I did not deliberately memorize my speech. I followed the technique explained in the Ice Breaker in the Competent Communications manual. If you memorize the beginning and the end of the speech, the middle will take care of itself.

Question: How long did it take you to write and rehearse your 6 minute speech?

Ola: I started by writing a stream of consciousness onto my laptop. Just whatever came into my head on the subject I had chosen and then I left it for 24 hours. The old adage, ‘to sleep on it’ works in speech writing. After 24 hours I did a re-write and edit. Once I was happy with the format then I started on the process of memorizing the beginning and the end.

I rehearsed three times a day for two weeks before the contest. I was given this tip by one of my many mentors, Bob Ferguson who won the Humorous Speech contest in York in 2009 He told me that I had to be disciplined when rehearsing. My aim was to turn my speech into a conversation, as if I am just recalling an event which had happened the other day. That way you are more likely to sound less ‘scripted’ and more ‘conversational’ in your delivery.

I developed my gestures and tonal variation once I started performing in Club contests. It really is a good idea to perform to different audiences. I Initially performed the speech in my own club. I made my voice as natural as possible, but when I started to get feedback from other Toastmasters my gestures started to develop. To improve my performance skills I decided to perform in different clubs within Toastmasters and also on the comedy circuit. If I got a laugh for a joke or a gesture in both a Toastmasters and a comedy club, I would keep it in the speech and perhaps expand on it. The speech goes through a refining process especially in terms of delivery, gestures and tonal variety.

The Toastmaster Clubs are a diverse culture and feedback is vital as the speech has to appeal to a wide range of cultures. I experienced a classic case of a constructive feedback from a visiting American Toastmaster of Brazilian heritage when I performed the speech at Northern Lights; his feedback highlighted a certain gesture I had used on stage which was, in fact, derogatory in Brazilian culture. If I hadn’t performed in different settings to different audiences, who knows? A careless, albeit innocent (to me) gesture may well have cost me the title!

Question: When will you be visiting Lewisham Speakers?

Ola: Sooner than you think!

On behalf of Lewisham Speakers I would like to thank you for this interview and look forward to your future performances.

Flavia Gordon

Here a link to a Webinar with OLA for forther information about him and his preparation. http://MyOptInPage2.com/?pid=6571802

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