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HomeIllinois PoliticsA Toastmaster evaluates Donald Trump's Bloomington IL speech

A Toastmaster evaluates Donald Trump’s Bloomington IL speech



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By Karen Campbell –

Over the 16 years I have been a member of Toastmaster International, I have had the privilege of both giving and evaluating speeches many times within our local club, at the contest level and in teaching public speaking classes. Though each speech has a specific purchase, I use a basic formula for evaluating every speech based on what I have learned from master speakers and always with the goal of giving positive feedback to the speaker as I encourage each to improve.

If I had been reviewing Donald Trump’s speech in Bloomington, Illinois as a Toastmaster, this is what I would have told him:

Donald, thank you for sharing your speech with us today! Your enthusiasm for your message is apparent and your self-confidence certainly draws everyone in, two must-haves for any credible speaker. That confidence gives you command presence and the use of your personal space and no notes, along with appropriate hand gestures, are the marks of a seasoned speaker.

Right from the opening remarks, you made your audience aware of your purpose: the speech was all about you and you wanted their votes! I especially liked your use of “props,” in this case the Hispanic immigrant you brought onto the platform. It gave credibility to your premise and conveyed warmth in a somewhat sterile atmosphere.

You also seemed to be very aware of your particular audience by referencing the many lost jobs and high tax rates Illinois citizens are experiencing as well as your announcement that you promote the use of Caterpillar tractors. All of these played well to this Central Illinois audience. Closing your presentation with a poem was also a nice touch.

As you spoke, your audience was very attentive and your rate of speaking made it very easy to understand you. I suggest you practice using vocal variety as you appear to be yelling at your audience. I also had a very difficult time discerning your main points as your thoughts were not presented in a clear, logical manner and key phrases were often repeated throughout the speech without context or explanation.

For example, in blanket statements you refer to groups as “hard-working” or “amazing.” Speaking logically and being careful not to sound patronizing shows respect for your audience. Better organization and planning would solve this problem.

I would encourage you to refer back to the Competent Communicator Project #2 “Organize Your Speech” for tips on how to effectively make those main points clear. I would also recommend Project #7 “Research Your Speech” as I was unable to hear any concrete statistics or proof of the facts you stated. Discerning listeners will demand this!

I would also encourage you to shorten your speaking time. An hour is quite long for most people, especially those standing. Ronald Reagan once said that, for the benefit of your audience, no speech should last longer than 20 minutes and he was right!

I wanted to mention that I was impressed with your improvement over past presentations. Cutting the foul language and vulgar references was great; keep working on your propensity for giving insults and I believe you will go far!

Karen Campbell is an author and Toastmaster International evaluator from Canton, Illinois.


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  1. Karen: I found Trump’s speech more of a one-sided conversation and less of a speech; more to connect with, dare I say, his diverse audience.
    His off-the-cuff manner reflects his “Joe-the-Plumber” commonsense manner. I too appreciated the absence of vulgarity, though his past coarseness was real which made it an effective announcement that the man has no intention of playing by the other side’s rules. By the other side, I mean the media, political pundits of all stripes, competitors, and all sorts of ne’er-do-wells.
    I like Trump because he is not beholden to any would-be contributor. I have found Washington to be 99% on the take, rife with those engaging in legal prostitution (the Clintons) and those too stupid to know they’re in the same game. With local reverence, the latter shall remain unnamed.

  2. he won’t even be beholden to the people who vote him in either.
    He’s not beholden to anyone… a REAL emperor for conservatives. Once elected… who is he going to beholden to? anyone? his constituents?
    Whats his track record as an elected official?…. oh thats right he’s been too busy paying them off to be one.
    This is President of United States not Parent Teachers Association…..

  3. The reason Trump has got the support he has is because he doesn’t play the PC game the elitist buttheads like this know-it-all author of this article does. The average Joe couldn’t care any less what a “toastmaster” thinks. Trump isn’t speaking to intellectuals, he speaks to middle America.
    The people have been talked down to way too long by so-called public servants and have had a belly full of it, they like Trump’s plain speak.

  4. Exactly Spense,
    You just nailed it.
    “..talked down to…”
    Like the author of this article just did towards Mr. Trump.
    Some of these elites just refuse to accept the fact that we are done with their pontificating.

  5. Does anyone see what the Trump candidacy is doing to us? Spense refers to Karen Campbell as a elitist butthead know-it-all author, but usually it is he that professes to know-it-all. However, I thank him for elevating me to intellectual status because I do acknowledge that Trump is not speaking to me.

  6. yes, I see what the Trump candidacy is doing to “us” and it’s long overdue!
    here is what NOONE is talking about (that I’ve seen, anyway):
    the tea party candidates are having ANOTHER pretty good primary season nationally, as has been pointed out here and elsewhere.
    but when they get to DC who are they going to be working with?
    the GOP establishment would have you believe that Kasich/Ryan/Romney and this crew is best to handle today’s issues – I say BS!
    these liars and charlatans have had nearly 30 years to do something positive for us and have failed at almost every single opportunity.
    these establishment jamokes would just give us more of EXACTLY THE SAME that they’ve been giving us for the last 28 years:
    capitulation to whatever Reid, Pelosi, Schumer, etc want!
    no more!!!!
    Trump will work with the Tea Party new hires MUCH better – ON OUR BEHALF – than would any of the afore-mentioned establishment characters.
    run those GOP liars out!
    “get out!”
    “get ’em out!”

  7. LOL… you go right and be a useful idiot for the elitists in DC, its your choice, but as you can see if your mind is open that is, many in america disagree with that strategy.
    I have a question for you Clarence, how many 2012 promises have the GOP controlled congress kept?

  8. I am as disgusted with the establishment
    GOP as you are but I see the Trump
    candidacy tearing us apart. The harsh
    rhetoric is causing people on both sides
    threatening to pick up their marbles and
    go home. Karen Campbell was merely
    critiquing Trump’s speech and you tore
    into her. Most often I agree with your
    positions, so maybe we are all idiots
    to believe we can change the direction
    of our country. We have been ignoring
    the Constitution for over fifty years.
    And since you often cite the Constitution
    I suggest you send Trump a copy.

  9. Yes I know what Ms Campbell’s expertise is, but what she and you don’t get is Trump is communicating with middle America in plain speak on purpose. Why, because middle America likes it that way. Middle America wants to hear Trump is going to make America great again and he is going to put the America worker first! They don’t care if he gives a perfect speech according to a toastmaster. My apologies to Ms Campbell if I was too harsh.
    You are correct, Trump’s knowledge of the constitution is lacking, but as president he can employ someone to help him with that. At this point and time, that is not a major concern of mine. I think Trump will do the right thing.
    Clarence, middle America is sick of the elitist GOP putting an Easter bonnet on pigs (as my grandpa used to say) just to be PC. Middle America knows bonnet or not, its nothing but a pig! The federal govt tries to deceive them with political correctness AND THEY ARE SICK OF IT. Political correctness is a tool designed by liars and deceivers to silence people whose arguments they can’t refute.
    Trump may just be tickling middle America’s ears or he may be telling the truth, what does middle America have to lose by supporting Trump?
    They know what the establishment GOPers will do to them…. promise the sky and then pee down their backs. Middle America has sent the GOP a message, that they will change or else!
    Something to consider Clarence, just what is the establishment GOP so afraid of, really?? Congress writes the laws, not the president. I think they fear Trump will expose just how bad of a job they have done. Only time will tell…

  10. Karen Campbell, this is great! Thanks for sharing your expertise with us. I apologize for the mean people that have expressed their anger on here against you. You were simply using an objective standard and gave a terrific evaluation.
    I’m seeing more and more an angry mob mentality among normally functional people among the Trumpites. They are bullying with their verbal tirades and demanding that everyone agree with them “for the sake of the Constitution!”
    Can you imagine what our Founding Fathers would have said? We have free speech and you have the right to evaluate free speech – you have an expertise to evaluate delivery – you don’t condemn the content.
    Again, who would have ever thought a Toastmaster would be skinned alive for sharing a fun evaluation. Here’s to you, my friend! May the roads rise to meet you, and my the wind be always at your back!

  11. Nice evaluation. You took on a challenging subject in that it is difficult to be taken as unbiased even while making a effort to do so. You evaluated the manner ofspeaking, not the content. You began on a positive note, and offered useful suggestions. You may consider utilizing a 3,2,1 technique, 3 things you like, 2 areas of improvement, 1 thing most praise worthy in regards to the speakers delivery method, so as to provide useful feedback yet remain encouraging. I loved your courage in choosing a controversial figure to write about. Keep up with providing quality evaluations