Prompt for Contest speech (1/2)

Can you use AI to impove your speech?

Yes, you can!

I used the Judging ballot criteria on Content from Toastmasters International and connected it with ChatGPT from OpenAI to get some ideas to improve the speech. Try it out and see how it works

Here is a simple prompt to do so:

You are a judge for the World Champion of Public Speaking in Toastmasters with these criteria:

Speech Development is the way the speaker puts ideas together so the audience can understand them. The speech is structured around a purpose, and this structure must include an opening, body and conclusion. A good speech immediately engages the audience’s attention and then moves forward toward a sig nificant conclusion. This development of the speech structure is supported by relevant examples and illustrations, facts and figures, delivered with such smoothness that they blend into the framework of the speech to present the audience with a unified whole.

Effectiveness is measured in part by the audience’s reception of the speech, but a large part is your subjective judgment of how the speech came across. You should ask yourself such questions as “Was I able to determine the speaker’s purpose?” “Did the speech relate directly to that purpose?” “Was the audience’s interest held by the speaker?” “Was this speech subject appropriate for this particular audience?”

Speech Value justifies the act of speaking. The speaker has a responsibility to say something meaningful and original to the audience. The listeners should feel the speaker has made a contribution to their thinking. The ideas should be important ones, although this does not preclude a humorous presentation of them.

Use the above criteria to provide feedback on the speech below in two parts:

1. What was good with examples

2. What may be improved with suggestions

<<Insert speech text here>>



Copilot: (Use the Notebook for more than 2000 words)


Toastmasters International -International Speech Contest Judge’s Guide and Ballot


Sky lantern

This New Year, I let a Sky lantern fly next to the sandy beaches of Goa to the sound of fireworks.

A Sky lantern requires a few steps before it can fly.

  • You need to fix the burning camphor like substance to the base of the lamp.
    • One guy in front of me broke the burning disc and had to start again with another disc
  • You need to open up the lamp on all four sides so that the fire does not get to the sides of the lamp.
    • Another guy did not open the sides and they burnt the sides and he had to start again
  • You need to wait for the warm air to build up in the lamp
    • Another impatient guy could not wait for 2 minutes and let it fly only to have the lamp come down crashing and he had to start again

I watched all these guys and thought I had learnt all the ways to fail and managed to get that lamp ready!

But my lamp would not rise up.

A friend walked up to me and told me to give it a nudge upwards and let it fly.

I did just that and there the Sky lantern raised up and started flying.

Sometimes we are like Sky lanterns.

There are so many things that need to be right for us to fly.

But when all the conditions are right, you might need that little nudge to get flying.

Do you need a nudge to kick start your speaking journey and be a Sky lantern?

Let me help you shine as a speaker in 2024!

Give me a call or contact me for individual and team coaching.


5 years to learn Motivational Strategies

It took me 5 years from 2018 till 2023 to complete my Toastmasters learning path on “Motivational Strategies”.

I reflected on this path this week in my club and I shared my Personal and Toastmasters achievements in this time period.

The two personal achievements I shared were getting my blue belt in Brazilian Ju-Jitsu (2023) and running 5K with the Couch to 5K (2023) program.

The Toastmasters achievement I shared was winning the International Speech Contest in English at the district level in 2022 (District 95 – Germany, Norway, Sweden and Denmark).

I needed motivation at different points during these 5 years. I got it from my daughter, BJJ coaches (Laurien and Alex), BJJ sparring partners (Basti, Dimi, Norbert and others) and Toastmasters members.

Motivation is not an easy thing to have.

  • One needs strategies to have it.

Motivation is not an easy thing to keep.

  • One needs strategies to keep it.

Listen me out for around 12 minutes to hear what motivated me and what kept me motivated 🙂


TLA – Deine Kampfsport und Yoga Schule im Münchner Norden (

Get running with Couch to 5K – NHS (

(1) Motivational Strategies | Reflection on Path – YouTube

Toastmasters International -Pathways Motivational Strategies Path


Learning 3Cs of Comedy with Mel

Yesterday I attended a humour workshop run by Mel at the Munich Prostmasters Toastmasters club.

I have always been amazed by the energy that Mel brings to the stage and his ability to break the ice with audience from different cultures. Yesterday was no different.

He discussed the different comedy structures with the audience. They came up quite a few of them.

You knew that you were dealing with room of eager learners of humour!


I liked the part where he explained how to set up the premise, step 1 (positive), step 2 (very positive) and step 3 (negative). My group came up this joke:

“The United States has produced amazing Presidents.

Abraham Lincolm with the Gettysburg address

John F Kennedy with ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’


Donald Trump with ‘Make America great again'”

We did not get many laughs. We had complicated the simple structure. The premise was that the USA had produced amazing Presidents. The step 1 and 2 was complex with the name of the President and the speech they were famous for. Step 3 was very predicatable so it did not get many laughs.

We realised that writing humour is NOT easy. It was interesting to see the different groups trying their hand adding humour with the “rule of three” structure.


This was the first time I heard about Uptalking and Downtalking.

Mel helped us practice multiple times with Uptalk and Downtalk. It was interesting to see how using conscious intonation when needed made such a big difference to the confidence projected.


Mel helped us understand the value behind calling a room. That is addressing a disturbance in the room and not just assuming that it did not happen.

We had a lot of fun disturbing the speakers while they were talking and waiting for them to address us and get us to stop.

The other strategies of Smiling, using Names, asking questions were also used by the speakers on stage.

All in all, I learnt the 3Cs of Comedy from Mel yesterday and I am raring to give it a go with my next speech!


About – Mel Kelly

About | Comedy Club Munich (

Get your book! (

What Is Uptalk? Why, When, & How to Stop Doing It (


Building a great membership journey

I had the opportunity to train the Toastmasters officers in the COT (Club Officers Training) last week. I had watched a German theatre piece last Friday and I was inspired by that. It was about 3 women and 1 man living in some apartments next to each other. They get together every now and then and have coffee and cake (Guglhopf) in the inner courtyard. They go through ups and downs in life. They suspend the coffee and cake tradition but make peace with each other and get back to it.

I believe any Toastmasters club is similar in some ways. We meet up around 12 times in 6 months and follow a routine. These 12 times also kind of decide the future of a member about whether they stay or leave the club. What helps us keep members in the club in a way that they can thrive?

Why does a new member stay after 6 months?

  • Maybe they made their first speech and are hungry for more

Why does an experienced member stay after 6 months?

  • Maybe they feel like they are contributing by giving good evaluation speeches and adding value and motivating other speakers

Why does a member stay after 6 months of being an officer?

  • Maybe an officer who is a Treasurer learns about budgeting with income and expenses and is keen on serving

Each member has a reason to stay. Can we as officers give them a reason to stay?

I find that Toastmasters has many pillars that one can build on.

Communication pillar

  • Build communication skills with different Paths available in Pathways

Contests pilllar

  • Learn about competing in club level, city level (area), state level (division) and country level (district)

Leadership pillar

  • Learn and serve as different officers in the club and higher levels with more responsibility and commitment

And these pillars are possible when the club creates that Social platform that we can build on. Each club has the opportunity to create this psychologically safe place where members can shine as speakers, leaders and contestants.

When officers can create this strong (social) platform where members have a strong basement to build their pillars (communication, contests and leadership), we know that we have an amazing member journey to offer to each Toastmasters member.


Unser Theaterstück im November 2023 – Milbertshofener Bühne München e.V. (

Toastmasters International -Club Officer Training Materials


Authenticity, Clarity and Enthusiasm

Photo by Angshu Purkait on Unsplash

I recently did a officer training for Toastmasters online on “How to be an engaging communicator” and really enjoyed the active participation of the officers in training.

We discussed the ACE method for being an engaging communicator. We used impromptu speeches “Table Topics – Toastmasters Talk ;)” to dive in and explore the method.


One of the officers talked about his brother and an activity that they did together in his younger years. When the listeners were asked why they felt it was authentic, we heard some interesting things.

One was his eyes. They were sparkling with excitement while he was recounting something he was doing with his brother. My eyes light up when I remember or recount something I did with my sister.

Second was his smile. He had a genuine smile when he was talking about his brother. These two things immediately connected us with his authentic self. We opened up to this story.


One of the officers talked about increasing his club membership fees. He explained why he wanted to improve the quality of the club meeting and how it cannot lie with one or few officers.

One listener noticed that he had talked about improving quality of the club meetings. However the case for increased membership fee was not clear.

One listener noticed that it was about working together to improve club meetings. However the clarity on increasing the membership fees was still missing.

Clarity in our message is one of the most difficult things to achieve. When we can get our message clear and simple we will earn the respect of the listener.

I have to admit the officer had only seconds to come up with his arguments. Normally you would brainstorm it together with officers and come up with a clear case.


One of the officers talked about her next vacation. She talked about why vacations were for her about spending time with her friends and less about seeing new places.

One listener noticed the joy in the eyes of the speaker when she was talking about spending time with her friend. This joy transcends from the speaker and gets to the listener and is infectious.

One listener also mentioned that he was willing to consider his next vacation to be one to be spent with a loved one or a long lost friend.

The ACE method helps us use simple tools like “Authenticity, Clarity and Enthusiasm” to get be an engaging communicator.


TM COT | How to be an engaging communicator.pptx (


Let the mouse(speech topic) come to you!

We have had a cat for 5 years. Her name is Coco. She is a hunter. She brings in mice to the house.

She sometimes eats them

She sometimes plays with them

She sometimes forgets about them

The mice that get forgotten are the ones that surprise you from behind the refrigerator

They sometimes make noises from the pantry. Our pantry is strategically planned so that there are only canned cat food and closed bottles in the ground level cupboard (But surely mice can climb, can’t they?)

My wife is brave and catches the mice when she sees them with her bare hands (with gloves) and lets them out of harm’s (our cat) way outside the house.

I heard a friend recently talk about mouse traps and how she saw another friend use them in the living room and it going CLAP!

I thought mouse traps only worked in cartoons! (Like Tom & Jerry – and even there Jerry never gets caught)

But I saw a mouse trap in a DIY store and thought, why not? Let us give it a try.

I did.

We set it up with chocolate and the chocolate melted

We set it up with a piece of cheese and CLAP!

A mouse was caught! (I was going to post the picture with the mouse in the mousetrap but I realised I did not have the GDPR signed document to do so)

My wife happily carried the mouse out of harm’s (our cat) way.

This time,

  • we did not have to corner the mouse
  • we did not have to keep the cat away
  • we did not have to run around the mouse

The mouse came into the trap.

Sometimes we run behind problems.

What if we let the problem come to us by laying a trap.

We then safely move the problem out of our way.

PS: How is this related to speech making? I was thinking of the same thing!

Sometimes we run behind speech topics

What if we let the speech topics come to us by keeping an open mind

We then can filter out the good speech topics and start building on them


Jump or remove obstacles

I was walking to my daughter’s school today. After the thunderstorm yesterday evening there were a lot of branches that had fallen from the trees.

I saw a lot of kids in their bicycles crossing the branches bravely.

  • Some went around the branches
  • Some went inbetween the branches
  • Some went over the branches

But one kid crossed the branch and stopped. He went back and removed the branch from the pathway. I was impressed.

We are busy in our day to day routines.

How many obstacles do we keep crossing?

How much of our daily routines is crossing obstacles?

How often do we stop and remove the obstacle?

Not just for us, when we cross it again but also for others who use the same path.

Can we set aside some time to remove obstacles and not just jump them?


Couch to 5K

I started running end of last year 2022 as I realised that my fitness levels in practicing Brazilian Jujitsu could be improved.

The program from the NHS (The National Health Service (NHS) are the publicly funded healthcare systems of the United Kingdom (UK)) fit my needs perfectly. 9 weeks to take me from the couch to running 30 minutes or 5K without a break.

My daughter, her friend and mom joined the journey in the beginning. But after Week 1 Run 3 they dropped out. I stuck with it.

I noticed how well the program was setup. Starting in November, I should have been done by January. However Christmas and New Year’s came in. My regular runs reduced but the format was simple to follow. Each week had 3 runs and you had to finish them before you moved it. I could pick up from where I had left and continue.

After Week 5, I noticed something that happened in my Jujitsu practice. I was no longer tired or running out of breath towards the latter part of the training. The cross training efforts were paying off.

Once I crossed the mental barrier of 10 minutes, it became easier to keep on running.

I also noticed that stitches while running which were present started to disappear after Week 6. It is amazing to experience the journey of running from the Couch to 5K as it happens.

I started enjoying running. I have never run during vacation. I was in Denmark two weeks earlier and I did my run 1 and 2 of Week 9 in Denmark. I saw the vacation place with different eyes.

I finished my Week 9 yesterday in home ground and I had a big smile on my face. I got some cake to celebrate.

Thank you to the NHS for creating such an amazing program that takes you on a journey that works.

Now I am going to try and replicate this journey on “Learning and Development programs” and “Agile training for teams”!

Should I call it “Couch to Agile mindset!”

PS: I used Instagram to document my journey and it was fun. I unconsciously was using the “V” symbol for victory every time I completed a run. Celebrating small wins goes a long way.

Link to the program:

Get running with Couch to 5K – NHS (


“Back to the future” panel with Toastmasters

Panel members:

Dan Rex, CEO of Toastmasters

Elizabeth Smith, DTM, PDD 2020-21

Stefan Zahov, DTM, DD 2022-23

Panel moderator:

Ranjith Venkatesh, Toastmaster


12 May, 2023

I was excited when Svetlana asked me if I would be interested to moderate a panel with the Toastmasters CEO Dan and district directors Elizabeth and Stefan.

I said Yes!

Here is the envisioned future of Toastmasters:

“To be the first choice provider of dynamic, high value, experiential communication and leadership skills development”

How does one talk about this in 45 minutes with regional (Germany, Sweden, Norway and Denmark) and international Toastmasters leaders?

I have been a fan of the “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah”. So I decided to introduce each panel member and bring them on stage one of by one and let them answer one question before we brought the next panel member on stage.

I split the panel discussion in three parts:

  • Introductory question to each panel member
    • The theme of the conference was “Celebrate the past, embrace the future”
    • I introduced and asked each panel member something that they were proud of in their Toastmasters past. It was great to learn what made each district director and CEO proud.
  • Prepared questions from the last CEO report (That is right, the CEO publishes two reports every year)
    • We discussed not just hybrid meetings but international hybrid conventions
    • We discussed Toastmasters educational material being translated in multiple languages using Translation Management Systems
    • We discussed Meeting Tools to support roles in a Toastmasters meeting online and how they measure against EasySpeak
  • Prepared questions from the audience (We had a question forum where Toastmasters attending the conference could post and vote for their questions)
    • Complexity of IT and Time consuming tasks especially Pathways and EasySpeak
    • How does working for Toastmasters differ from other non-profit organisations?
    • How is Artificial Intelligence (AI) helping Toastmasters become better speakers? eg: Yoodli

We managed to complete the panel discussion in 45 minutes and had a Toastmasters audience listening carefully to the district directors and CEO talk about the shared future of Toastmasters.

It was great to close off our panel discussion learning what they like eat best being Sushi, Thai, Fries and Biriyani. I leave it to you to figure out who liked what 🙂

Reference: Toastmasters International -CEO Reports