Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Public Speaking: Finding synergy between Boy Scouts and Toastmasters

I've been working on the Public Speaking Merit Badge requirements for a couple of months now. I joined Toastmasters International this summer and began working toward the Competent Communicator designation, and it turns out some of the requirements of the CC match the Boy Scouts Public Speaking Merit Badge, which are:
  1. Give a three- to five-minute introduction of yourself to an audience such as your troop, class at school, or some other group.
  2. Prepare a three- to five-minute talk on a topic of your choice that incorporates body language and visual aids.
  3. Give an impromptu talk of at least two minutes either as part of a group discussion or before your counselor. Use a subject selected by your counselor that is interesting to you but that is not known to you in advance and for which you do not have time to prepare.
  4. Select a topic of interest to your audience. Collect and organize information about the topic and prepare an outline. Write an eight- to 10-minute speech, practice it, then deliver it in a conversational way.
  5. Show you know parliamentary procedure by leading a discussion or meeting according to accepted rules of order, or by answering questions on the rules of order.
To date, I have finished the first, second and third requirements of the Public Speaking Merit Badge by participating in several Table Topics sessions and completing the matching CC requirements (specifically speech #1 - the Ice Breaker - and speeches #5 and #8 - Your Body Speaks and Get Comfortable with Visual Aids). I have also completed the fourth requirement by having served as General Evaluator of one Toastmasters meeting.

I am currently working on writing speech #10 - Inspire Your Audience - which would fulfill the fourth Public Speaking Merit Badge requirement. Finishing Toastmasters speech #10 will coincide with my completion of the Boy Scouts Public Speaking Merit Badge.

NOTE: For anyone just tuning in, check out my mission with this blog, On Becoming a Man of Merit.

Going for Goals and Conditioning for "The Year of the Big Trails"

I will be heading back to New Mexico to complete the 20-mile urban hike I blogged about last month. I didn't get a chance to do it then because of scheduling, but this time around I'm going to make sure it happens. I'm ready to finish the final requirement of the Hiking Merit Badge!

I'm conditioning for the hike here in Southern California's Coachella Valley, which means I'm losing the advantage of being accustomed to the 5,000 ft. elevation in Albuquerque where I'll do the 20 miler. So this week I plan on doing a day hike to Tahquitz Peak in the San Jacinto Mountains, which starts at 6,500 ft above sea level and ascends over the course of 4.5 miles to nearly 9,000 ft.

The primary reason I'm doing the Tahquitz Peak hike this week, besides the fact that it will help me progress toward my goal, is that I will get to hike along a section of the Pacific Crest Trail, one of the three powerhouse scenic through-trails of the National Trails System. When I get back to New Mexico I hope to backpack along a section of the Continental Divide Trail (probably in the San Pedro Parks Wilderness). Then, in the late spring to early summer, I am planning to do a four-day backpacking trip along 42 miles of the Appalachian Trail in Maryland.

I'm calling 2013 "The Year of the Big Trails". As I prepare for the longer hikes and backpacking trips I'll get a chance to pursue the requirements for other Boy Scouts merit badges on my list, including Wilderness Survival, Emergency Preparedness, Camping, Cooking, Backpacking, Orienteering, Personal Fitness, Swimming, Kayaking and Photography, among others.

I also will start working on Photography, Public Speaking and Citizenship in the Community as I meld this blog with other projects I'm working on.

But before I get ahead of myself, I need to focus on getting this 20-miler done. When I finish it, of course I won't be getting any external recognition for doing it, but I will be getting the satisfaction I always get from setting up goals and knocking them down! And of course I'll give myself an image of each merit badge I complete here on this blog.