Showing posts with the label Public Speaking

Making Speeches for the Harry Potter Festival - Part 6 of 6

The Harry Potter festival went great.

It's amazing that so many volunteers were able to come together to make such a great event happen. A bunch of my family and friends showed up, and that was awesome. It was a hot day, and long; my first presentation was at 12:15 and my last one was at 6:30.

There are a bunch of interesting stories that I could tell, like meeting an almost real Umbridge from Toronto, or the long conversation I had with police officer Kayla. But, instead, I'm just going to show you the videos of the presentations.

Here's "The Great Gnome Conspiracy of the 18th and 19th Centuries". I wanted to make sure I didn't go over time and throw everyone off, so I ended up being a little short on this one.
David was a great emcee. The kids really liked it when he did trivia. At one point there were some difficult questions near the end of the festival, when the hardcore fans were left. No one knew the answers and David had to…

Making Speeches for the Harry Potter Festival - Part 5 of ?

Potter in the Park is tomorrow. I'm going to go over a number of logistical issues (the boring part), and then the presentations themselves (the exciting part).

The woman that manages the event seems way overwhelmed. She started this thing a number of years ago and I think it's probably surprised her how large it is getting now. She kept telling me that she would answer my questions later because she was busy. That went on for a few months. For about a week now she hasn't responded to, or even looked at, my messages. So, I don't know if I can get into the event early, which is kind of important because early admission is at noon and I give a speech at 12:15, which is before the general admission at 12:30. I don't know if there is an MC or if I will get introduced. I don't know if I will have a handheld microphone or a headset. Basically, I have none of the information that you would like to have if you were giving a presentation at an event. But, I do like to h…

Making Speeches for the Harry Potter Festival - Part 4 of ?

My dueling demonstration has had its ups and downs, but it's coming together.

I have authentic muzzleloading pistols. But, I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to use them. Rebecca, who runs events in Sparta, is checking into it, but she hasn't gotten back to me and we're only a few days away now. I may end up getting cap guns or something.

The owner of Griffin's Rest in Muskegon, Kiel, is letting me borrow the staffs and swords for the demonstration, so that's great.

I met with Laura and we did a little walkthrough. I'm used to giving speeches by myself, not giving demonstrations. So it's a little different, but it will go well. (The other three speeches that I'm giving will just be me.)

I was going to get my temporary tattoos on Sunday from my friend Jay, but something came up so I still don't have those on yet. I have to get them in the next couple of days to let them darken for the event on Saturday.

Here's the basic idea of the mugg…

Making Speeches for the Harry Potter Festival - Part 3 of ?

A couple of weeks ago I sent a simple breakdown of my speech plans for Potter in the Park.

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This is a general overview. Let me know if you need anything more specific. Also, I'm revealing the creation process in a series of articles, so many details are included there if needed.

4 speeches for 15 minutes each.

If I get an intro I would like to use this background:
Jeffrey Alexander Martin
Visiting Lecturer - Sparta Institute for the Study of Muggles
Current Assistant Professor of Muggle Studies - Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Former Professor of Muggle Studies - Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Presenting the series: MUG 207 - Muggles in Real Life

The four speeches are:
Further Research on the Many Uses of the Rubber Duck
Muggle Encounters with Dragons Through the Ages
A Short History of Muggle Dueling
The Great Gnome Conspiracy of the 18th and 19th Centuries
(Not necessarily in…

Fighting Local Government Corruption - Part 5 of ?

How do you stand up and talk in front of a crowd? Some people fear it more than death. It's okay to come to the Dalton Township meeting and not stand up, but if you want to stand up and say something then this article will help you.

First, some inspiration. Then we'll dive into specific options.

One of the most important things to realize about a local government meeting like this is that you are not making a presentation. You won't be graded. You are there to say what you have to say. I'm going to put a few of my speeches from the last couple of months here. You do not have to stand up and speak like this. To a large extent you can't. You will only have three minutes during the public comment section. (Notice though, that even these speeches are only about 5 minutes long.)

A couple of weeks ago I requested a 5 to 10 minute spot on the schedule and the township would not give it to me. That's because they don't want to hear what we have to say. That's a…

Leading a Writing Group - Session 2

The prompt for today was dialogue. The story could be anything the kids wanted, it just had to include dialogue, or people talking. Some stories are all dialogue, some stories have no dialogue, most fiction writing is a mix. No matter what kind of writing you do, it's good to play with dialogue.

I find these types of writing exercises interesting. I usually have no idea what I'm going to do. If I do have an idea about what I'm going to do it always comes out completely different, nothing like I had imagined.

We talked about dialogue a little bit. I went over the idea of interstitial sentences because I thought Lexi, the 14 year old, would be interested in that. An interstitial sentence is when there is one sentence that starts with someone talking, then in the middle there's some description, and then the person is talking again. For instance, if a woman is standing at the fridge it might be like this: "John! I thought you said you were going to," she turned …

Understanding Grief

I gave a speech last night at the Red Lotus Art Gallery in Muskegon, Michigan. It's an area that I've been working on for most of my life now, "Understanding Grief".

Here are three places that you can watch the speech:

Most of the world

Russia and a few other places


I'm working on becoming better at communicating the concepts that I've originated in this area. The process necessary to reach a new understanding in a subject for yourself is different than the process necessary to communicate those same ideas to someone else.

I talked about grief in my series of philosophy essays titled "The Most Important Question in Philosophy". It was well received. I wrote an article titled "Aphorisms on Grief, Suicide, and Meaning in Life". It was not well received, specifically be…

Fighting Local Government Corruption - Part 1 of ?

In Dalton Township, Michigan we currently have corrupt and dishonest government officials attacking small farms and businesses.

It recently came to my attention that the farm that I get goat milk from has been sued by a neighbor and the township. There are three tactics that they have tried to use against Hidden Creek Farm so far. The owners of the farm explain the situation well. Then I will dive into the dishonesty that the township supervisor Tony Barnes has shown so far, the immoral and illegal intimidation tactics that they are using, and what can be done about it. Here's a post that Hidden Creek Farm made on their Facebook page:

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Dear friends, family, customers and small farm supporters,

We wanted to give you all an update on the difficult situation we have been dealing with since last Tuesday…

As you know, Lee and I have put our heart and soul into Hidden Creek Farm. Owning a farm that would serve a community with healt…

Alligator Wrestling and the Meaning of Life

Two days ago I gave a speech at the Red Lotus Gallery open mic night in Muskegon, Michigan titled, "Alligator Wrestling and the Meaning of Life".

Here are the notes that I carried on a piece of paper in my wallet.

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3 values - experiential, attitudinal
3 levels of knowing
experience of what
loss of control, regaining
step into the unknown, conquer it
face anxiety, overcome it
encourage you do same

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Every speech I give is a little different. I like it like that. In the moment I cut out the part about the three levels of knowledge. Two psychology concepts back to back just seemed like too much. I also added that we were doing medical checks on the alligators.

Here's the video.

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The speech went well, it was fun. It was my first time at the open mic night there. I try to take fun and interesting topics and connect them with deep and meaningful topics. I think it works well.

This speech affected the MC so much…

Making Speeches for the Harry Potter Festival - Part 2 of ?

You know when you start a project that's somewhat similar to one you've done before, and then it ends up being a bit more complex than you first imagined? That's what we're into here.

I've given hundreds of speeches on many different subjects. In the last month or so I've given speeches on resentment as the most destructive emotion, analyzing the philosophical roots of rock lyrics, how my family originated as Leprechauns, how I raised a dragon egg when I was a kid, the importance of comic books as an art form, and what a virtuous human being is. I've had people come up to me after every one of those speeches and tell me how much they liked it and how much it made them think, because I seem to have a unique view on most things. Next week I'm giving a speech titled "Alligator Wrestling and the Meaning of Life". But these Harry Potter speeches are a... challenge.

I have 2 things that are solid. I have 3, or 4, or 5 things that still have to be wo…

How to Make Better Toastmasters Club Presentations

This is a major problem in Toastmasters. It won't be easy to implement, but it should be done nevertheless, and I know how to do it.

A couple of weeks ago I went to an open house put on by the Book Nook Toastmasters Club in Montague, Michigan. I was just going to drop by the club, I didn't realize they had an open house event going on that night. It worked out well. There were a few members from another local club. It was in a coffee shop/ bar/ bookstore that's a nice location, with a raised platform to speak from and everything.

The meeting included several different things, the best part was the impromptu speaking during Table Topics where I talked about how my family is descended from Leprechauns. It was a big hit.

There was also a club presentation made detailing what Toastmasters is about. I've given a few of these presentations. The powerpoints are made by Toastmasters and you are given instructions on how to go through them. I've seen many and I've never…

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