January 26, 2023
2 min read
I’m Fred Vornbrock, a long-time member of Toastmasters and the 2023 (District 13). I’ve seen hundreds of Toastmasters speech contests over the years – however, the landscape of public speaking coaching is changing before our eyes.
One of the most exciting recent developments in the public speaking arena is the introduction of the Yoodli speech app. Toastmasters International recently announced a partnership to rollout Yoodli to all ~300k+ members globally.
How? By providing immediate feedback on our speeches, presentations, and Table Topics (impromptu speaking). By providing coaching/feedback on our word choice and delivery and by providing high-quality tutorials on speaking.
I currently mentor 20 Toastmasters members from countries across the globe and have challenged them with the “5 in 6” challenge. That is, they are to use Yoodli.ai five minutes a day, every day, for six weeks, and watch the results. Some use Yoodli’s Table Topics while others use the games: the “No Filler” game is especially popular! Several of them are now in Week 4 of this challenge.
Results? Some who used too many filler words (“um, so, like,” etc.) have cut their usage by half. Others who were stumped on what to say when asked an impromptu question now say they feel less stressed and more at ease when called on. One of the biggest “aha” moments is when a Toastmaster discovered that her tone of voice was not as warm and pleasant as she had thought. It was a wake-up call for her.
Now that we are in the thick of Toastmasters speech contests, more and more of our contestants are discovering they have a competitive edge with Yoodli. They are creating their own “5 in 6” schedule. They realize that Yoodli gives them the tools they can use daily in their contest preparations. They also recognize that their competition may also be using Yoodli.
Speechcrafters (those taking the Toastmasters crash course on Public Speaking) give their speech a second time after our sessions to see and hear how they come across when speaking. Yoodli flags their filler words, tells them how fast or slow they are going, and offers suggestions for improvement. They absolutely love this feedback! They can work at their own pace on the areas they want to improve. They also see how using Yoodli will make them better speakers. As one Speechcrafter said, “Through Yoodli, I can see my future.”
As for me, one of my Yoodli discoveries is that I sometimes mumble: my “going to” comes across as “gonna,” and my “want to” sounds like “wanna.” Even seasoned speakers are benefitting from the unvarnished feedback we receive from Yoodli.
Create your own “5 in 6” challenge and witness for yourself how your public speaking landscape smooths out….
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