Be a Copy Cat!

Like many of you, I sometimes get a little behind reading my stacks of magazines.  When the opportunity came to listen to a summary of the Toastmasters Magazine November 2011 issue article Don’t Hesitate – Emulate by Ryan Levesque on the Toastmasters Podcast, I jumped on it.

What better way to work on blogs and websites than listening to some quality programming?

Image courtesy of The Holy Meme

As a budding speaker, I appreciate the outline of the Copy Cat Method that Ryan covers in both the article and the podcast.  This method is composed of 5 steps:

1. Think of a speaker or presenter that you admire

For myself, some of the speakers that I admire include Judi LaPoint, Amy Nakos, Elaine Love, Ben Heimsath.  As I attend various functions, I find others that have speaking and presentation characteristics that I would like (or love) to emulate.

2. Imagine this person giving YOUR speech at your next club meeting.  Think of these characteristic…

  • Physical Presence

How does this person take the podium?  How do they use the space or stage available to them?  How do they use their body language or range of motions?

  • Voice

Do they use a range of volume and pitch?  Do they vary their speed through out the speech?

  • Words

Do they paint pictures with their words?  DO they avoud crutch words (umms, ahs, etc) or jargon?

3. Choose a quality from each category (physical presence, voice, words) that this person coveys and add it to your style to try out.

Visualize these qualities and then imagine you doing them.
4. Practice your speech exactly as you want to deliver it.

As Ryan notes, this can be hard.  I have trouble practicing my speech in the study when I know my husband is watching TV.  Practice is how we get better though.  To get around this, I will sometimes practice in the car (which is not ideal for your practicing your gestures) or I like practicing while walking my dog on a trail.  Again, not the ideal environment, but every moment you can get practice in helps.
5. Before you are introduced, imagine your favorite presenter’s confidence – and pretend you are that person.

To me, this is the ‘Fake it til you make it’ moment.  Pretty soon, you begin to be confident in your own right.

Emulating or being a copy cat of somebody whom you respect is a form of flattery.  You will quickly figure out what works and what does not work for you.  In the process, you will develop your own speaking and presenting style along with confidence.

In the end, isn’t this what we are all working towards?

Read the full article by Ryan Levesque at

Don’t Hesitate – Emulate

Ryan Levesque is a host of the Toastmasters Podcast  and a member of Renaissance Advanced Toastmasters in Westborough, Massachusetts.  He is president of, an ebook conversion company.


4 responses to “Be a Copy Cat!

    • Thank you Bill! I really enjoyed listening to the podcast and then summarizing it for everybody. I found the tips very helpful.

  1. Nice post — what a great compliment — thank you! I too practiced in the car — and while walking the dog — I think I could do a very humerous speech about the time I was gestering all of the place, practicing my highs and lows, fast and slows, when I turned around to see my neighbor just standing there. Really embarrassed………

    • Good thing you were walking and not driving. I’m finding the time in the car is great to help warm up your voice before speaking, but I am also need time in the house to practice and really concentrate on what the message is and how to best deliver it to a particular audience.

      On Tuesday, I spoke at Eagle Valley Toastmasters and learned that it doesn’t matter how much you have a practiced a speech when it is an interactive/interview type. Then you just have to know you material and be able to gracefully steer an interview to both answer the questions, but also to convey points of importance.

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