Advanced Manual Review Project: Communicating with Video

That’s Dan Toussant, my DTM brother. We started this trek to the Distinguished Toastmaster together and with Terri Fullmer, we were all minted at the District 10 Fall Conference in 2013.

In life, Dan is a recruiter and with his business partner, Katherine Burik, owns The Interview Doctor.

They’ve written several books, host a website with a daily blog and help people find jobs. I asked him to join me today to contribute to the Advanced Manual Review Project. Today on the table – Communicating With Video.

Communicating with Video

Communicating with Video Advanced Manual.

Communicating with Video Advanced Manual.


DAN TOUSSANT:  Let’s talk about the value of the advance manual called Communicating on Video. I had selected it and I think everybody who picks an advanced manual thinks about how this will make me a better speaker or a better person or better at what I do in my business. And this communicating on video, as I looked at it, is something that ties into what I’ve wanted to do with my business through webinars including being videotaped that I get more familiar with the ins and outs of videos. Youtube is huge, and I think it’s one of the most commonly visited sites on the web, so video has become part of how we communicate. This manual, when you look at the projects, some of them are not that easy to accomplish with just yourself. In fact, some of them require a team orientation with other Toastmasters to get them done. And all of them involve an advance club opportunity in my view, as there’s projects that require quite a bit of planning – for example the interview show. That I think we did at our regular Thursday club meeting, not an advanced club meeting, but it was quite a production – we had the camera, we had makeup, we had scripts, we did rehearsals, and there was a lot to that particular project. Bonnie is a nutritionist, and I had her on as the expert, and pulling that particular project together, I had to have a lot of help from Bonnie.

The other projects and I look through my manual, and why would somebody do a straight talk project, I am a belief if that you have things you care about, Toastmasters is one of those venues where you can develop voice on things that are important to you. That’s what I did with Straight Talk. It was a topic that I found really important, but as I prepared and delivered what is kind of an editorial project, whereon some nightly newscast, there’ll be at the very end an editorial, a director will come on with an opinion, it’s kind of a straight talk kind of presentation.

The first project, the one that does involve that does involve sharing some opinions that you know somebody’s going to agree, but most likely a lot of people are going to disagree, looking back, my evaluator clearly disagreed with my point of view on that.

Kim: Was that me?

Dan:  No, actually, it wasn’t. But it was funny that it was a fairly hot topic, one where people disagree on the subject, but it’s one that having passionate views on something, can play into this manual very well. The press conference is another project in that manual. Number 4, that I used again as a situation that I had some strong opinions about and this is one that involved some high school football players and what they had done at a party that was very bad and very wrong, but like most scandal stories, it was more about the cover up than the initial wrong. I chose to be the superintendent of the school district, handling a press conference, in which I hoped he would actually do this, and take the coach and tell him he was through for covering it up, in fact what happened was completely different.

I was proud of how I developed the questions for the members, then I had to prepare my answers as though it were a regular press conference. Now, as I look through my evaluation on that project, my evaluator was impressed with my appearance and my demeanor on camera, and my answers to the questions – what he didn’t like was that I had planted the questions. He felt that the questions should have been completely contemporaneous. I think in regular press conferences they are, and that that was a good criticism, and one that should I do that project again, I think I would approach it a little differently, and just tell the group in general the context, and then let the questions come from the group.

Kim: Is that required by the manual, that the questions must be pre-prepared?

Dan:  Yes, that the manual does give you that as a tip on how to prepare for the project. But in real life, sometimes the questions are planted, and sometimes they’re not .I did get the feel of being in a press conference situation. In fact, in every one of these projects, Straight Talk, The Interview Show, When You’re the Host, The Press Conference, and Instructing on the Internet, I really benefited from just going through the project and the experience of knowing what it was like to actually lead a press conference or a TV show or being interviewed on a TV show.

The interview show I actually did out at a local college, in which we were doing a presentation on tm to a group of students, and I proposed that I used the project and give some canned questions to a student who would interview me on camera. It ended up being a fun and interactive ten or fifteen minutes in which students and in particular the young man who interviewed me, got a good sense of why toastmasters has been so beneficial to me.

Giving yourself those opportunities requires a little creativity. In those advanced manuals generally, you have to think outside the box, to decide how you’re going to do this project and do it well to meet the requirements.

Instruction on the Internet, as I looked at my evaluation of that the project, about halfway through my talk, the computer went down where we were meeting. And so I kept on with the presentation, but it reminded me that with videos and any technology today, that it’s very important to test and to plan, and to have a fallback, because you will have situations that you do not expect to happen, that will obstruct your original plan. All I had at that point were screenshots, I expected to have a live feed, and the live feed went down halfway; I reverted to the screenshots that I had already prepared, and it still flowed. I think that’s the learning point from that project from me.

I would recommend this manual to anyone who expects to be in the public scene in any way. If you expect to be in a situation where you could be interviewed on radio or on TV, or contacted to make comments that could be aired on radio or TV, definitely anyone in kind of a leadership position in their company who has to speak in front of a camera at some point, this is a great manual for that.

You know, as I looked over this, Kim, I really felt it was kind of a manual I should do again. Because although in my march to my DTM, I do have objectives, one of them to complete certain manuals, but I know, for example, on Straight Talk, that I didn’t deliver that message as strongly as I really wanted to. Had I done that correctly, my evaluator wouldn’t have disagreed with my opinion; she would have told me how well I had presented it. I think that when you do things really well, the first thing that comes out of someone’s mouth, even when they disagree, is I have to admit, you did state that very well. In my presentation I had a lot of statistics. It was about seven minutes, and I had way too many statistics for those seven minutes. I thought her critique of what I did that day was on point, to that extent: I had worked on the talk, but I hadn’t practiced it enough to narrow the focus, to make one or two key points in those seven minutes. And that’s a learning lesson, I think, if you’re going to get better at it, that redoing some of this manual is something I want to do.

Other people would benefit is anyone that is intimidated by the camera, that doesn’t like to see themselves on camera, this manual encourages this use of the camera in projects, and it gets people into the habit of using video and getting critiqued on it. Everybody’s got a camera with a smartphone or a tablet with a camera on it these days. People are getting videotaped regularly. As Toastmasters, we want to present well, and not just in a meeting, but anywhere in the public. This manual has a great practice in use with a camera.

The importance lies with having toastmasters in your club who are willing to participate. I really owe a debt of gratitude to you and Bonnie and the others who participated because it would not have been possible to do the project without you having been involved in it. There’s a team aspect of this manual that I would emphasize. Going back to the value of the dance club –

Kim: You bring up a good question. Should maybe two or three people work on this together?

Dan:  I had never thought of that, but that’s a great idea! If you have three individuals for example who want to get better with a camera, and being front of a camera, and knowing the value of makeup, or appearance in general – blue is a good color on you was one of my evaluator’s comments, and I thought, that’s interesting, I hadn’t really thought of the color of my shirt, but on camera, that’s something that pops up.

But yeah, if you have three or more people that are interested in this manual, doing it together is a great suggestion.


The Advanced Manual Review ProjectWhich manual do you think of as your favorite? Which one did you learn the most from? Want to talk about it?
On the Table – Topics for Toastmasters can give you the chance.
We’re looking for a review that focuses on a short examination of each of the projects, what can be learned from the manual, and if you’d recommend it – and to whom. What’s most important is your perspective. How specifically did this manual help you as a speaker?
If you want, we can even do it as the Project 2: The Radio Talk Show from the Public Relations manual!
Think of it as a speech that runs 8 to 10 minutes. We’ll provide the evaluator. Remember, friends don’t let friends speak without a manual.
Contact us today at slash AMRP. You can use the form especially for just this project. You can find everything on the website.
If you want to help your fellow Toastmasters – do a Manual Review today!

Thanks to Dan Toussant, DTM, for his review of Communicating with Video. Thanks also to District 10 for sponsoring On the Table and to for today’s music.

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Meeting adjourned.

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