View Full Version : Toastmasters & NJ Speeches

01-10-2006, 12:55 AM
Last Thursday I joined the Princeton Chapter of Toastmasters (http://www.princetontoastmasters.org/) and was part of my "new years resolution". I had debated on where to post this thread, but I decided on posting it here for several reasons. One is that I will be giving most, if not all of my speeches on NJ. (I'm sure there is no surprise there) :) Also, joining Toastmasters is part of my plan to expand my role in NJ and expand the influence of AboutNewJersey.com. I want to be able to feel comfortable giving speeches to large groups of people, I want to be able to go into schools and give talks to students on NJ, and ultimately, I am seriously thinking about getting more politically involved in NJ.

I have given speeches before, such the one I presented at the kick-off announcement for Celebrate NJ (http://www.aboutnewjersey.com/editorials/newJerseyPride.php). I have also mentored high school students and taught classes on computer programming. In college I gave two speeches for speech class, one on how a CD player works and another on Serial Killers (which was a group project). I am not completely unfamiliar with giving speeches, however I am also not at all comfortable in doing them. This will give me the practice I need to truly give the speeches of the caliber I expect from others when I hear them talk.

Joining Toastmasters was a big step this year and several months in the making. I attended roughly 6 meetings in a row prior to joining. I will be keeping everyone up to date on my progress and will be submitting my speeches here for public viewing.

My first speech is in March, called an "icebreaker". I already have plans for this speech which will be an introduction of myself and my love for NJ. I will highlight the many NJ related names I carry - from Jersey Devil (JD), New Jersey Ambassador, as well as Mr New Jersey. This speech is relatively short, just 4 - 6 minutes. I believe my Celebrate NJ speech was closer to 10 minutes. I am not ashamed that my life is consumed by all things New Jersey. Some people love sports or are obsessed wih weather or politics, well I am "obsessed" with New Jersey. I am determined to become a very public figure and a very vocal public advocate for NJ and for NJ tourism. How this all pans out in the future, only time will tell, but this is the first step I had to take.

01-12-2006, 05:08 PM
I wish you the best of luck. Ir sounds like a really good resolution for yourself too!

Speaking about your love for NJ should come Very easily too I'm sure!

03-21-2006, 10:13 PM
Well this past Thursday I gave my ice breaker speech at Toastmasters. I didn't want to read from my speech, but I had no choice. I just dont feel comfortable at this time getting up in front of people and giving a presentation. I hope through practice I will get better.

Below is my speech...

New Jersey and Me, Perfect Together

You may be wondering what those brochures were on your chairs, well you’re soon about to find out. So who here is a New Jersey native? Do you find yourself defending New Jersey? I know I always do now, but it wasn’t always like that. I grew up in New Jersey, Bricktown and Kendall Park to be specific. I went to school in Point Pleasant Beach and only a block away at St Pauls in Princeton and went to high school in Piscataway. At that time, living here was just that, a place to live. In that time I have been to 40 states and lived in six of them. It wasn’t until my family moved to Indiana when I was 19 that I got a true appreciation for New Jersey. And not until I was on a consulting job in Portland Oregon, that my passion for New Jersey was really kindled.

During my time away from NJ, I often heard the erroneous stereotypical responses when I would mention I was a New Jerseyan. I’m sure many of you are familiar with them too. “You mean, Joy-zee?”, “Oh the arm-pit of America?” “What Exit?” Not to mention the comments about hypodermic needles on the beaches, or the questions such as “Are there any trees in New Jersey?” I have even had several people insist that New Jersey is part of New York. I realized that the people who held these outrageous ideas of New Jersey had never actually been here, or they had merely flown into Newark Liberty International Airport on their way to that city across the river. People weren’t aware of beautiful Victorian Cape May, the colonial towns, the 1.1 million acre pine barrens or the mountains of the northwest.

So now the question was – how should I express my new found passion? The year was 1996 and the internet was just in it’s infancy. I was wrestling with what to do my home page on. My initial thoughts were Walt Disney World. What’s not to love about the Happiest Place on Earth? But after hearing all these negative comments about New Jersey and realizing that this distorted view was coast to coast, I decided to do my website on what is the most under-appreciated, misrepresented and what seems to be the most ridiculed place on the face of the planet. My mission was to change people’s attitude and present the REAL New Jersey to the world, not the late night talk show Letterman/Leno view. No small undertaking.

Being out in Oregon I was restricted to providing links to other websites. In 1999, after a short stay in Indiana, I decided to move back to New Jersey. Everyone always said to me “Well if you love it so much, why don’t you just move”, so that’s what I did. I have to be honest, I was a bit worried about moving back out - maybe it wasn’t everything I had made it out to be. Maybe it’s true – distance makes the heart grow fonder. But I was going to make the move and see what happened.

I stayed at my cousins’ house for 2 months while I looked for a place to live. All I kept hearing from my younger cousins Steve who was 13 and Joey who was 8 was about how boring NJ is and there isn’t anything to do. I found out that they never actually went anywhere, so I took them places – Atlantic City, Seaside Heights, Great Adventure, Princeton, and more. I then took them out to Indiana and Chicago for a week. During that summer they saw that New Jersey had a lot to do, it’s merely a matter of doing it. Today they routinely say they are becoming like me and find themselves defending NJ (now if I can only get Steve to start supporting the Devils, instead of that foreign team the Rangers)

After all of this, I purchased the domain name AboutNewJersey.com and set about revamping the site. Not many changes were made, but at least it had a new name and a new format.

In 2003 things changed again, my passion grew even more while working at Merck. Now, being in the state for several years, not only did I realize that people on the outside had a distorted view of New Jersey, but New Jerseyans themselves were accepting these negative stereotypes as fact. I decided it was time to get serious about this. I devoted all my time to AboutNewJersey.com, completely redesigning the site, developing interactive applications so people could search for hotels, restaurants, send e-cards to people. Ultimately I incorporated AboutNewJersey.com into a business.

Today my life is devoted to changing the perception of New Jersey and people refer to me by many names, JerseyDevil also known as JD, New Jersey Ambassador, as well as Mr New Jersey. My friends around the world, from Canada, to Sweden, Israel to Australia – know about my love for NJ and through me they have learned a lot about my home state. This has become my mission – to combat the negative perceptions, get New Jerseyans excited about living here and finally to give New Jersey what it deserves, a sense of self-respect and pride. New Jersey for far too long has allowed outsiders to define who we are and what New Jersey is like. I am New Jersey’s voice.

It was a huge step forward I think.

During Toastmasters you get evaluated and then people give you a little notes of their thoughts. The following our the comments I received...

- I liked the opening questions. Nice use of humor throughout. Great Job!

- Well organized and enunciated. Good use of intelligent humor and letting people laugh. Great ice breaker! I am always defending NJ too!

- Best Dressed. Nice humor. Nice message. As you give speeches, you will be less tight - relax - you did great.

- Effective opening to draw the audience in. I be easier to understand you f you open your mouth a little more while speaking & try to project your words outward. Thanks for the humor - really enjoyed it.

- Very funny opening question. Humorous! I wish you had spoken this great topic & not read it. Be more expressive. Walk around. I see you one day leading a convention for the state of NJ filled with passion!

I like the last review th best for several reasons, for one thing, it did point out something that I know I need to work on and then also - it recognizes why I am at Toastmasters to begin with. I do want to be the keynote speaker at the governor's conference and other events.

04-03-2006, 07:45 PM
Well I'm preparing for my next speech. It's scheduled for June 1st. I'm thinking about doing it on the media's relationship to controlling the culture and identity of New Jersey. I got the idea from a quote in a professor's study involving NJ. He contacted me and I've been supplying him information, prior to his trip out here. He sent me the prososal of the study and in there it had this quote from Allen Ginsberg - "Whoever controls the media -- the images -- controls the culture." This fits in very well with the discussion of lack of network broadcast affiliates in NJ, the Giants, Jets and Metrostars all including NY in their name, etc.

So what do others think?

05-04-2006, 10:48 PM
My next speech is on June 1st which I think will be about NJ Pride. This will include famous people and inventions and why New Jersey is such a great state.

Of course coming home I had the idea for my third speech and now I can't think of it again. :mad: I hope it'll come to me.:confused:

05-04-2006, 10:52 PM
Ahhh - after much contemplating - I remembered my idea for my third speech.... Drum roll please ---- the importance of tourism to the NJ economy and how it affects EVERY New Jerseyan whether they realize it or not. I know all of you were dying to find out what it was and wouldn't be able to sleep tonight if I didn't remember. :D

Another speech I have planned of course is concerning NJ sports teams who refuse to acknowledge NJ as their home state and instead wear NY on their uniforms. Another one I think will be the North/South divide of the state and how it's detrimental to NJ.