meeting? It can be a challenge, but
you got through it. Right?
After the meeting, an older man
came up to me and kindly said,
“Joel, would you like some feedback
on this meeting?”
What would you have said? Most
likely, you’d have said what I said,
“Sure, I’d love your feedback.” But I
didn’t expect him to say what he did
and how it would change my life.
This kind man put his hand on my
shoulder and said, “Joel, this was the
worst meeting I’ve ever attended,
and you’re the worst speaker I’ve
How would you have felt? What
would you have done? Would you
have told him to get lost and that he
was an idiot? Or would you have
cried? It hurt so bad I cried, until he
said, “Joel, please stop crying. I can
help you. Come with me to Tempe
Toastmasters Club next Tuesday
morning at 6: 30, and we will teach
you how to be a better speaker!”
What would you have done?
That’s exactly how my life changed
on Sept. 9, 1969, when I joined the
Tempe Toastmasters Club. Maybe
you, too, got your start at a local
Did you get the feeling this personal
story involved you? Connected with
you? This technique is so simple and
easy to put into action. Follow The I
Factor with The YOU Factor, and you’ll
connect better with your audience.
Here’s one last use of The YOU
Factor to make your stories connect.
It’s The Invisible Partner technique.
Let’s continue my personal story with
you as my invisible partner.
The date is Aug. 17, 1974. You, my
wife Judy and two young daughters,
Jill and Jenny, check in to the Toastmasters International Speech Contest
at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim,
Calif. Of course, you have your own
“I was doing 200 programs a year
and earning over $1 million a year,
yet little did I know that The YOU
Factor would change my speaking
career forever. Once I embraced
Joel’s approach—that it’s never
about me, it’s always about the
audience, using you’s instead of I’s
— it took my message to a whole
new level of connecting my story to
the audience.”—Chad Hymas, CSP, CPAE
Joel Weldon, CPAE, and a handful of Arizona
speakers led by Cavett Robert, CSP, CPAE,
held weekly discussions about speaking that
eventually led to the founding of NSA. Weldon was there from the beginning and is still
here today. He’s been inducted into the CPAE
Speaker Hall of Fame®, received the Golden
Gavel, and was named Legend of the Speaking Profession. Now he’s best known for Joel
Weldon's Ultimate Speaking System and
coaching speakers of all levels. Contact Weldon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
room and the four Weldons share
As you enter the main ballroom,
you’re told there are approximately
2,000 Toastmasters, spouses and kids
attending. You sit in the front as the
contest begins. There are nine finalists
out of the 60,000 Toastmaster members that year. And if you’ve been a
Toastmaster or even attended a meeting, you know that Table Topics is a
part of every Toastmasters meeting.
At the International competition
in the 1970’s, you had to give a
2- to 3-5-minute speech in front
of 2,000 people on a topic taped to
the lectern. You had about 10 seconds to read what the topic was, create your speech in your head and
then deliver it . . . to 2,000 people.
How good would you be at that
impromptu speech? It’s a learned
skill. If you wouldn’t be thrilled,
why not improve on it? This event
was eliminated years ago, because
some members felt it was too hard.
I’m still an active Toastmasters
member, serving as Club Mentor,
and my daughter, Jenny, is in the
same club. You can learn a lot in
Toastmasters. Check it out.
Now, back to that story and how
you became part of my story. Did it
engage you as the invisible partner?
Imagine how you would have felt
standing on that stage at the Disneyland
Hotel holding a trophy as one of the
three finalists in the world, just 60
months after you were told you were
the worst speaker that older man had
Yes, that experience changed my life
forever. Hopefully, The YOU Factor
will help you improve your speaking
and change your life and career as it
did mine—just by connecting with your