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Toastmasters – Persuade with Power

In my 9th Speech of my Competent Communicator manual at Zuriberg Toastmasters club, titled “One piece at a time” I spoke about the increasing use of plastics in today’s society and the impact that they are having on our health, animals and the environment. In my 5-7 minute speech, I spoke out how in Switzerland we are doing well in some of recycling efforts, but how we have much more to do. Especially reducing the amount of plastic waste that manages to escape into our water systems, this included micro-plastics that are in an increasing amount of beauty and healthcare products

Whilst researching, I found out:Mark Cannell Toastmasters

  • In Switzerland, over 83% of PET bottles are recycled
  • Since the introduction of a 5 rappen charge for single use plastic bags at Migros and Coop, there has been a reduction of usage of over 80%
  • Over 80% of the consumer plastic in Switzerland is still send to be incinerated, instead of recycled

My objective of the evening was to persuade the listeners to take action, in this case to rethink their usage, reduce the amount of plastic products they purchase and where possible reuse the plastic items that they have purchased. This included rethinking whether they needed to buy so many plastic items, reducing the amount of PET bottles bought, reusing supposedly “single use” cutlery and straws.

The objectives of the speech were:

  • Persuade listeners to adopt your viewpoint or ideas or to take some action.
  • Appeal to the audience’s interests.
  • Use logic and emotion to support your position.
  • Avoid using notes.

My advice for Toastmasters members tackling this project and in general in persuading people is to try and insert some relevant and trustworthy facts that shock or surprise the audience, try and use emotive and graphical language and provide take away advice to the audience in how they can change their behaviour. Additionally it is important to appear passionate and knowledgeable in the field that you are talking about in order to convey the message across.

In typical Toastmasters style, I got a huge amount of feedback such as avoiding having my hands behind my back, using more emotive language in order to persuade people and try not to appear too much like a teacher (maybe a career change is in order). I was pleased with my performance and even managed to win the speaker of the evening. Thanks all

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