“We have a wide variety of people in the Thursday Night Live Club. It is always nice to listen to so many different styles of speakers. Especially because everyone is so friendly.”Marcus Chamber
Newly minted Thursday Night Live Toastmaster and 2020 Olympic hopeful Marcus Chamber was recently interviewed by KING 5. This sports news segment was to introduce Olympic hopefuls from the Pacific Northwest. Currently “the watch is on” for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. Marcus graciously credits his Toastmaster mentor, Madonna Hanna and Thursday Night Live Table Topics with his poise when answering interview questions. Coincidentally, Marcus is coaching Madonna for the upcoming 2020 Washington State Senior Games in July.
As his Toastmaster mentor, Madonna frequently sends him “Madonna’s Mentor Memos,” which include a lengthy list of various Toastmasters advice and tips. She is 2015 International Toastmaster Speech Competition Finalist. Just before Marcus’ big KING 5 interview Madonna’s Memo included the following advice:
Before the interview:
- Be aware of vocal variety.
- Practice tone by saying the phrase, “Chocolate Chip Cookies” ten different ways demonstrating ten different emotions. (By the way, chocolate chip cookies are his favorite treats.)
- Look in the mirror to practice and gauge facial expression and gestures.
- Practice extemporaneous speaking (like table topics).
- Have family and friends drill him with their hardest and most unusual questions.
- Practice formulating and expressing new answers and opinions on the spot.
- Keep in mind you want to be have an engaging, personable conversation that connects with people. The goal is to be viewed as a good interview candidate, a person that all the stations would like to invite.
During the interview:
- Take a deep breath and relax.
- Be polite, personable and let your natural personality show through.
- Maintain a pleasant and upbeat facial expression: smile while talking
- Speak up and speak clearly
- Maintain a good volume, pace, tone and rhythm within a comfortable voice range.
- Be ready to establish and maintain upbeat banter.
- Pay attention! Always pause to collect your thoughts before answering and repeat the question if necessary.
- Do not show stress or frustration toward ANY questions. Maintain your composure.
- Show thoughtful interest and stay in the moment! If you are easy to interview, you will be invited again.
After the Interview:
- Shake hands with interviewer and thank them for their time and the opportunity to be interviewed.
- Send a follow-up hand written thank card to the interviewer. They will greatly appreciate the acknowledgement and you will stand out from your peers!
Marcus responded to Madonna’s memos in the following manner:
“Madonna is an amazing mentor,” he says. “She is special because she is very detail oriented and supportive. Her attention to detail helps me know the good things I am doing but really helps me understand everything that I need to improve on. I love her constructive feedback. It’s what I need. She never tells me something I did wrong without showing support to keep my spirits high. Sometimes people get down on criticism, but with her you will never feel that way. She is open with me and willing to share all her skills to help me become the best public speaker I can be. She has knowledge and experience through the roof.”
Marcus considers his Toastmasters participation a smart investment that will net big dividends in his future career endeavors. His professional goals include pursuing a career as an international motivational speaker with an emphasis on inspiring youths. He also expects to share his secrets to success, overcoming defeat and perseverance to corporations. After all, he earned 5 (3 gold and 2 silver medals in two Junior Olympics, events), is a seven time All-American, a multiple NCAA champion and future 2020 Olympian. He also desires opportunities in the area of product endorsements and corporate sponsorship representation.
In his brief time at Toastmasters, Marcus has learned that the skills of public speaking require practice and evaluation, just like an athletic endeavor.
“I would advise athletes to know that all the hard work and dedication they put in their athletic dreams, that same work ethic is necessary to go into the field of public speaking, or any other field they want to pursue. It’s not as easy as it sounds and I don’t say that to scare them away, it is what I have learned. I highly recommend pursuing Toastmasters because it is extremely fun and you have the opportunity to change lives. I would suggest they join a Toastmaster club and get a mentor.”