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Toastmasters InternationalNI-Speechmeisters
Donated Speeches

What Inspires You?
By Sandy Garza

Sept. 14th, 1907, Helen Katherine Maxwell was born on a small island. She was of Irish, Scot, and Swiss descent. As the years ticked on, she became the oldest of 6 children, the only female; and had 6 boys of her own before having 2 girls. I’ve referenced this woman in some of my earlier speeches, but not with these details. She is my grandmother.

Now, don’t think for a second that I’m going to spend the next few minutes engaging you in the mesmerizing tales about my last surviving grandparent. Instead, I want everyone in this room to start thinking about what inspires you with subject matter for Toastmasters activities. And to start thinking about how you can inspire and influence others as we progress through the Communication and Leadership Program and life.

Now, as I was visiting my family last weekend, I realized that my family inspires me more so than being employed by National Instruments, although that is a strong second. Then, I started thinking about some of the other speeches by my fellow Toastmasters that I’ve enjoyed over the last several months. For example:

We’ve heard Ryan talk about his grandmother, Punky

Kurt captured us with several of his hobbies, race car driving, self-defense

Rebecca and Preston have taught us about money management

Kyle has shared his interest in classical music and tequila with us

Julia showed us the fine art of creating floral centerpieces

Paul has taught us some software basics through his programming experience

Keith took us to Japan and told us what not to do when trying to have a night on the town

Tad moved us with his emotional story about life’s treasures

Thus, inspiration for entertaining speeches can come from life experiences, hobbies, current events, and more. To illustrate how family has influenced my speeches, let’s review three of my previous speeches:

My Icebreaker - ‘From a Family of BOIs’ (pronounced boys) I was born a BOI, my brothers were BOIs, my parents were BOIs, and my mom’s parents were BOIs. Being a BOI was special. It gave you an automatic in, because you were a local. BOI is an acronym for Born on Island; Galveston Island that is. Of course, I proceeded to share my childhood experiences growing up on the Texas Gulf Coast including the beach, hurricanes, …

Speech 2, Be In Earnest ‘Role Models from the 1900s’ This was a very emotional speech for me. I elaborated on how my grandparents were strong influences in my life. Some of the traits that they possessed to make them role models were *Honesty, *Generosity, and *Family-oriented.

Speech 6, Work with Words ‘A Road Trip Home’ This was a fun speech! As we made our way down the Texas highways, we visualized the weather, the cattle grazing in the pastures, the downtown skyline of Houston, and the toxic clouds that hover over the refineries in Texas City. And, if you recall, I even mentioned my grandmother’s lime green house with white trim.

Which brings us back to my grandmother, who is about to turn 90 years old. This is the crux of the inspiration question. 90 years in this world! Can you imagine? What will your birthday celebration be like when you turn 90 years old? Who will attend? A lot of people whom you haven’t even met yet, many who have not even been born yet. Just think about it. In the last 90 years, we’ve seen inventions that have changed the world exponentially - like automobiles, television/broadcasting, space exploration, medicine, and computers. There were horrific plagues of human loss like W.W.I, W.W.II, Vietnam, and AIDS.

What will occur in the next 50-70 years as we all approach our 90th birthday? How will we be a part of history? We could be living the lifestyle of the Jetsons or maybe we will be known as one of the most influential speakers of our time. If we all write down our goals, as Kurt encouraged us to do two weeks ago, we can improve our lives and the lives of those around us, i.e. influence and inspire. Just imagine the possibilities… And promise yourself to be an active part of it!


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