How to be remembered with the best

One of the keys to winning at Toastmasters is doing something in your speech that no one else has done.

  • Bring a prop, like a guitar or a bowl of water to play with.
  • Take a phone call in the middle of the speech, on purpose.
  • Lay down on the floor.

It’s feels unfair. (The other guys spent hours honing their craft – you literally laid on the floor and got as many points.) But doing something like this guarantees you’ll be remembered. And as it turns out, being remembered is one of the most important parts of winning at Toastmasters.

This seems to be true across a number of pursuits, particularly when competing against many other competitors back to back.

  • If you’re with a bunch of magicians who all cut ladies in half, your up-close card trick would win.
  • If you’re in a band performing back to back with 10 others, the band that we remember will have a huge head start in getting the most votes. So be the band that hands out candy at the beginning of the show.
  • If you’re in a costume contest, the costume that we remember will have a huge head start in getting the most votes. So even if you have the coolest shark costume, you’ll lose if you’re going against three other shark costumes. On the other hand, if everyone else is dressed as sexy mermaids, I’m pretty sure the shark would stand out. (Really think about that – the shark would stand out with the best, just by being different.)

The protocol is simple: figure out what everyone else is going to do, and then do something different (or a more practical way to do that: figure out what you’d naturally do, and then do the opposite of that). You’ll be in a class all to yourself, and you’ll be remembered. Then you just have to be decent to be remembered with the best.

(By the way, I thought of including – for the first time ever – a photo in this post. Just a simple photo of a thumb, just to prove the point… that you’d remember this, just because it’s different, even though it’s clearly not the best. But, you know, what wouldn’t feel fair.)