Originally Posted by gkelly
I meant that there are lots of venues in which one can do each of those things, not lots in which one can do all of those things at the same time. In that sense figure skating may be unique or nearly so -- so if combining that particular set of attributes into a single activity is the attraction, by all means talk about that combination.
Originally Posted by dinakt
What I would not recommend is choosing only one aspect of figure skating that is not unique to figure skating and making that the focus of the talk.
Personally, I would show a 1-2 min montage clip of the greatest jumps/combos performed (including throws). Of all the elements in skating, the jumps are what most folks clearly acknowledge as impressive feats which require much training, dedication and talent. Jumps are what got me interested in figure skating.
On a side note: I admire the attention that Japanese broadcasters dedicate to explaining and demonstrating the differences among the various jumps. They utilize all sorts of mediums (from posterboard and computer graphics to actual figure skates) to explain why a skater got downgraded or received high GOE marks. I think it's this level of detail provided to the general audience that has helped figure skating become such a popular, respected sport there. It would be cool to see American broadcasters explain in a similar fashion, say, the difference in entry to a flip jump in contrast to a lutz jump... or even how toe jumps differ from edge jumps, etc. Such explanations would raise awareness of how difficult it is to train for and execute these elements in competition (or anywhere!).
I've done a lot of public speaking, and I think the best way to approach it is to put yourself into the minds of those who will be listening. Forget all of your own "favorites" or personal preferences and think like someone who knows nothing about figure skating. What would the average person be attracted to? What would impress them? My philosophy is that everyone has a story. Every skater has a story. Every listener has a story - how can you put them together? It's not about jumps and technical marks - it's about people-emotions- failings and achieving. Anyone can identify with the basic human emotions.
I agree that the athleticism and physical demands would impress. I believe individual stories about skaters overcoming tribulations, injuries, bad luck, etc or stories of unlikely triumphs would be good. How about stories of rags to riches? How about a list of the number of hours it takes per week to be a competitive figure skater? How do they cross train? Do they run, lift weights? How can you make the average person identify with a skater? What would make someone who never saw a skating competition enjoy it? I doubt it would be to educate them as to COP...but stories about the individual skaters and what they have been through might spark feelings of sympathy and generate interest on a personal level-and what more could you want from a speech to neophytes?
I know we all have our favorite skaters, but I guarantee making an audience watch video of your favorite moment from 1996 will not make any converts. Plushy might entrance you to the heights, but I doubt the majority of average people will find him (or most other skaters) nearly as fascinating as you do. However, his story IS fascinating from the POV of his incredible willpower, lonegvity, determination, and ability to mentally overcome. That's where his power lies, I believe, to the average person because it's something they can identify with.
I believe every human endeavor is filled with the basics of human experience and passion, and figure skating can certainly deliver in that regard. But I believe it is about losers as well as winners, preserverence as well as privilege....and a good story trumps cold hard facts when you are talking to people who are clueless. Entertain them well, and you'll be great!
That's the key. I too have done a lot of public speaking, and that was one thing (among many) I learned from Toastmasters. It almost seems like I have two speeches here- one with more visuals, and one with me demonstrating a lot of things, but off ice. The latter seems to fit better in my next assignment, and I can prepare the first one for a later speech, which I could give about a month later.
Originally Posted by Holley Calmes
Can you allow your audience (or volunteers) a chance to try some of the moves you are demonstrating? A lot of things look easy when someone else is doing them.