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Toastmasters Times。演講協會時報
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中華民國演講協會榮獲經理人雜誌最受經理人歡迎三大社團之一。
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(更新)很久以前在拉斯維加斯....Once upon a time in Las Vegas

When we heard the name “ Las Vegas ” we automatically see the neon lights, slot machines and of cause, the show girls.  However, Las Vegas is also THE place for BIG conventions and big name entertainers.  The Consumer Electronic Association’s CES show brings more than 100,000 people to Las Vegas every January.  It featured the Siegfried & Roy's Royal White Tigers show, Tom Jones as well as other performers such as the Group “Man power”.

In May of 1996, I was there attending Toastmasters Region 2 conference and also performed on stage as one of the nine contestants for the Humorous Speech Contest.  Our conference was not as big as CES and I was no Tom Jones, it was definitely the highlight of my life.  Even though that was 11 years ago, I can still remember the thrills and the excitements. 

 
First let me explain.  I was with District 4, the Golden Gate district in California .  The winners of the District Humorous Speech Contests will go to the Regional contest.  These days only the winner of the Prepared Speech will move up to the next level.
Each Region has 9 districts.  The regional contest is equivalent to our Inter- District contest.   At that time both winners of the Prepared Speech Contest and the Humorous Speech contest will move up.   
 


From this experience, I have the following points to share with you.
1) You have to reach a stage like that one time in your life!
We toastmasters all have dreams to become great speakers.  Reaching that stage and you will be surprised how good you look.

I don’t know if you have ever noticed that sometimes a fellow member looked totally different (actually, much BETTER) on a bigger stage.  You would see that if you attended the District contest where there was a big stage.   Maybe it was the preparation, maybe it was the larger audience, and maybe it was the larger stage.  I don’t know the reason.  The same thing happened on that day.  The nine contestants looked Soooooo good on that stage of the Star Dust Hotel and everyone looked like a professional comedian. 

We usually say to the contestants that no matter who wins, everyone is a winner.  But that night we really were winners.  Normally when I did not win I will feel, naturally, disappointed.  But not that time.  The stage was wonderful.  The 1000 people in the audience were nice and responded to all the laugh points.  When I delivered a punch line I can hear the laughs first from the front, then the middle, then the back.  It was like waves coming back at you.  You can not get that feeling unless you have around a thousand people.  At that point, I felt like a star. 
 
 

I had been working very hard trying to get that feeling again.  And I did, with an audience of 20,000 five years later.  That was another story.

My fellow toastmasters, we are in this business to become better speakers.  We owe it to ourselves to get that experience once in our lifetime. 

2) You have to go to the Inter-District Convention whenever it is possible anyway even of you are not a contestant.

Humorous speech contest does not go to the World level.  Hence, the winners do not get the lasting recognitions like Jim Key or David Brooks.  I don’t remember meeting big name speakers there.  What I remember is the fellowship we built among our own teams.  When we were in our own district, we are all very busy and seldom had time to social with and know each other.

Going to an off-site conference was like being on a tour.  We were together for 4 days and there was no escape from each other.  So we get to know each other very well.  This fellowship turned out to be very important in the next 2 years of my Toastmaster life.  I received coaching and mentoring supports from the senior members of our District who I became friends during that trip.

So, don’t go to any round-of-the-mill sightseeing trips and save the money to go to the TMI Inter-district conference which is held together with the World Conference.

3) You have to go if you are interested in the leadership track and also would like to learn how to organize major conferences.
Another thing that impressed me was the organization of the contest.  Everything is running smoothly and in sync.  I learned how to organizing the award banquet by offering to help after the contest. 

I also learned one thing about the contest chair of the contest.  As I have commented before, the Contest Chair (The host of the contest) was the winner of the previous year.  This serves to recognize the winner and also provides a capable host for the contest.  He was so witty and humorous that the audience laughed all the way till the first contestant went up to the stage.  He did a great job warming up the audience so the first two contestants were not at a disadvantage.  I think we should adopt this practice in this district. 
 

Now is the time to conclude.  Yes, once upon a time I was at the Star Dust Hotel in Las Vegas performing on the same stage with the male group from Australia; the “Man power”.   Oh, not at the same time, their show was at Midnight on the same stage.
And I did not have muscles like theirs.  But it was still great fun.   That was a long time ago.  But I still remembered the noises from the dropping of the coins from the slot machine, the cheers when someone hit the Jackpot, and …..the waves of laughs from the audience coming to me, again and again.  Contest Chair. 

很久很久以前,在拉斯維加斯……


當我們聽到拉斯維加斯,浮上眼前的會是霓虹燈、吃角子老虎、以及歌舞女郎。但是,拉斯維加斯也是大牌的表演者及大型表演會場的所在地。消費性電子產品大展CES每年一月都會吸引超過10萬人到拉斯維加斯。除此之外,拉斯維加斯還有著名的Siegfried & Roy's Royal白虎秀,老牌歌星湯姆瓊斯,以及猛男秀。


1996
年六月,我到拉斯維加斯參加國際演講學會的第二區的區域性會議,同時因為我是九位幽默演講比賽的參賽者之一,我也上台做了場演講。我們不像年度CES科技展規模那麼大,我也不是湯姆瓊斯,不過那真是我人生中的高潮。即便過了十一年,我還是能感受到當時的興奮及刺激。


首先讓我解釋一下,我那時是在第四地區,加州金門大橋區,地區幽默演講比賽的優勝者會代表到區域參賽,那時只有指定演講比賽才能晉級到下一階,每個區域有九個地區,區域比賽就像是我們的全國比賽一樣。那個時候,指定演講比賽及幽默演講比賽的冠軍都能晉級到下一階段比賽。

 

關於這個經驗我有以下心得可以與大家分享:

1.      一輩子總要有一次,登上這樣等級的舞台

我們參加國際演講協會,都是懷抱著要成為優秀講者的夢,登上這樣的舞台,你會很驚訝的發現你能表現得多好。

 

我不知道你們是不是曾經發現,一個夥伴會在站上舞台後,變成一個看起來完全不一樣(事實上是更棒)的人。如果你參加有個大舞台的全國比賽,你會發現這個事實。或許是因為充分準備,或許是因為有更多的聽眾,更或許是它是一個更大的舞台。因為當天所有的狀況都有,我無從辨別是哪一個原因。九個參賽者在星塵飯店的舞台上看起來真是棒透了。每個人看起來都像是職業的喜劇演員。


我們通常會對參賽者說,不管誰獲勝,大家都是贏家。但是那個晚上,我們真的都是贏家。正常的情況下,若沒有獲勝,我是會感到失望的。但是那次我卻一點失望的感覺都沒有。那個舞台經驗太美好了。台下上千個觀眾都很和善,並且對我們的笑點都有回應。當我破那個梗時,我可以聽到不論是坐前面、坐中間,甚至坐後面的人的笑聲。像海浪般的笑聲就這樣一波波向我迎面而來。如果不是有上千人的聽眾,是不可能會有這種效果的。那個時候,我覺得自己是個巨星。

 

我一直很努力的想重溫這種感覺。我成功了,去年我面對了超過2萬名聽眾。不過那是另外一個故事了。


我親愛的會友們,我們在這裡的主要目標就是成為一個更棒的講者。我們一輩子總要有一次這樣的體驗。


2.
你得要有參加國際性比賽的經驗,不管可行性有多大,甚至不是以一個參賽者的身分去參加也行。

 

幽默演講比賽無法晉級到國際比賽的層級。因此,優勝者無法得到諸如 Jim Key或是 David Brooks所能得到的名聲。我不記得在那時有碰到任何名氣響噹噹的講者。我印象深刻的是當時我們同隊夥伴之間建立的情感。當我們都在同一地區時,我們都很忙碌,沒有時間認識彼此並且有所互動。

 

參加一個外地的比賽就像參加一個旅行團。我們四天都要被綁在一起,沒有誰可以逃離彼此。所以我們彼此都混得很熟。這些夥伴情誼在我往後兩年國際演講協會的時光中,扮演很重要的一部份。在這個過程中,我跟很多同地區的資深會員成了朋友,也從他們那邊接受了很多指導與指教。

 

所以,省下那些參加景點參觀旅行團的錢,去參加國際演講協會的國際性會議吧!這些盛會是跟世界大會同時舉行的。


3.
如果你對領導能力的學習有興趣,想學習如何組織一個大型會議,你也應該參加。

 

另外一件讓我印象深刻的事是整個比賽的組織分工。每個流程都順利且和諧的進行。經過這次比賽的參與,我學會如何組織一個賽事。


我同時也學到如何擔任評審長。就像我之前所說,評審長是去年的冠軍。這不僅是對冠軍的肯定,也是提供比賽一個絕對能勝任的評審長。當年的評審長非常的機智且幽默,聽眾是一路笑到底,直到第一個參賽者上台為止。他成功地炒熱了場子,讓前兩個參賽者不會屈居劣勢,我想我們在台灣的比賽也該這樣比照辦理。

 

總之,是的,我曾經在拉斯維加斯的星塵飯店,和來自澳洲的猛男團體的舞台上表演,當然不是同時囉,猛男秀的表演在當天午夜的同一舞台,而且我也沒有他們的大塊肌肉。但這經驗仍舊十分有趣。雖然已經是很久以前的事,我仍然可以依稀聽到錢幣從吃角子老虎掉出來的聲音,有人中大獎的歡呼聲,以及一波又一波由觀眾席湧向我的笑聲。


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My humorous speech: “The Gift from Wonderland” 

By Chao-Huang.com     chaohuang123@yahoo.com  

Roses are red, violets are blue, a gift is beautiful, but the buying……..  I hate to do.  Ladies and gentlemen, I came to this country a foreign student; I am now a Permanent Resident of the State of ….. CONFUSION.  It is the years of gift buying that got me there.  Gift buying is so confusing.  What do I buy, what do they want?  How long can I ….. Procrastinate?  Whenever I have to buy a gift, I mess up.

Back when I came from, life was so simple.  When we gave a gift, we just sent CASH. The rule is also simple.  If a wedding is at a five star hotel, we sent $200 dollars, at a good restaurant, we sent $100, at a MacDonald’s, ……they PAID us.  Sometimes we got invitations 3, 4 times a week.  But don’t worry.  We get it all back when we get married.  It is a Chinese Savings Plan.  Then I came to .  Here it is inappropriate to give Cash.  In addition, now I have Chinese holidays- American holidays; Chinese friends- American friends; a Chinese wife- …….well, a Chinese wife.  But she discovered Valentine’s Day.  Life was never the same.

In the beginning, I was doing fine.  I gave people these Chinese Antique Lamps.  They were impressed until they saw them at the import stores with a price tag…….. 3 dollars; …….for a dozen.  Then I became Americanized and I Procrastinated.  So the morning of the last shopping day of every Christmas, I could be seen in front of Macys… chanting, “Open, Open, Open”.  Then sales persons would drop everything to watch me.  They had never seen a Macy’s customer with his own shopping cart and throwing things into it madly.

Once a friend saw me doing this POWER shopping, so she advised me: it is the though that counts.  You have to find out what the other person wants.  At that time my friend Joe was getting married to Debbie.   I had never met Debbie.  So I decided to find out all about her.  Joe told me Debbie was kind, gentle and polite.  Boy, was he wrong!  The first time we met, Debbie was so rude and she yelled at me….. I quickly got out of her bedroom.  I never found out the size of her lingerie.  So I gave her a Chinese Antique Lamp.

Then I got married.  Friends back in were not happy to get my invitations.  Hey, I was just cashing in my Savings plan.  Soon my wife received many strange gifts from me.  Finally she gave me one rule: It has to be …………..Returnable! 

Then one night we were watching TV… Bay watch.  You know, the show where women are all in Bikinis and somehow….. Always Running.   She said: would it be nice if I could look like one of the girls?  I thought….Yea, that would be nice.  Then I knew exactly what to get her. 

At this time, I was sent to a military base in a small town in the South.  Valentine’s day was coming, so one night I went to the Mall and I slipped into a Victoria ’ Secret store.   The sales lady and I could not understand each other’s English.  Commotion soon brought everyone to watch us.  I told her what I want and she asked “what size?”   I had no Idea so I said……. about your size?.  Then I noticed she is twice as big as my wife.  Then she asked “C Cup?”  I thought she said Tea Cup so I said, “No, coffee is fine.”   I was laughed out of the store.  
 


Then somehow, everyone at the base heard about the incident.  Day after day, everywhere I went, someone would ask………. “Tea or coffee?”   One night, I couldn’t stand it anymore.  I told myself, this is , I can buy anything I want.  I jumped into my car, drove back to the mall, parked my car and Burst into the store.  I shouted, “You can laugh all you want.  I am here to buy that WONDER BRA.”  The lady behind the counter was startled and said, “This is the drug store.  Victoria ’s secret is next door.”………… Then she said, “By the way, would you like Tea or Coffee?”  
 


Somehow, I managed to buy the gift and I gave it to my wife and I told her why. She said “how sweet, but that night, I was thinking about…….a liposuction. At that point I knew I would never be good at this.  So I have a new gift policy:

Roses are red, Violets are blue.  If I owe you a GIFT, take my credit card PLEASE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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