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The Speaker's Toolbox

47 Tools to Build Better Speeches

By Brian Woolf

Softback, published in June 2016

About the Book...

The purpose of this book is to help newer speakers speak better ... faster.

This is achieved with its focus on the three essentials: a clear message, a close audience connection, and helping your audience remember. It begins with a little-known, but critical, explanation of why audiences' minds wander during a speech - and ways how you can hold their attention. Just learning about the 500-word gap is worth the price of the book.

The book comprises two parts: a set of 47 tools that build better speeches, followed by 11 world-class speeches that exemplify speaking excellence and illustrate many of the tools described. This second section includes some of the greatest speeches you'll ever read - they are down-to-earth but connect powerfully with the audience. I would be proud to say that I wrote and delivered any of them. They are speeches I return to, like a favorite song.

You will appreciate the book's clear, easy-to-understand style, which is free of hard-to-remember rhetorical terms. Each tool is laid out on two facing pages: a half-page description of the tool, followed by copious examples of it in use, allowing you, the reader, to clearly understand the tool's use in different situations.

In addition to having The Speaker's Toolbox trigger new speech ideas, you can adapt the examples to dovetail into your own speeches. In addition to refreshing your mind of some of the better-known speech tools such as Alliteration, Repetition, and Triples, you will learn some of the newer tools such as Twists, Senses, and Visual Words. It is a toolbox of fresh, helpful ideas that you will want to keep nearby.

The Speaker's Toolbox can be likened to explaining the ingredients that go into a speech whereas the third book of the trilogy, The Speaker's Blueprint is akin to a recipe book describing how various speech ingredients are blended together to create a memorable speech. The two books, The Speaker's Toolbox and, later, The Speaker's Blueprint are the yin and yang of a great Speechfest, that I hope you will prepare and serve up often.

What's In It?

The 500 Word Gap
The 47 Tools
1. Addressing the Basics
2. Alliteration
3. Amplification
4. Connecting Conversationally
5. Connecting via Asides
6. Connecting via Participation
7. Connecting via Questions
8. Connecting via Segments
9. Contrast
10. Details
11. Emotions - Discovering Them
12. Emotions - Showing Them
13. Enthusiasm
14. Exaggeration
15. Humor
16. Lines That Linger
17. Memory Hooks
18. Mental Musings
19. Metaphors
20. Parallelisms
21. Pauses
22. Phrase That Stays
23. Poetry
24. Props
25. Quips
26. Radio Commentary
27. Repetition - An Introduction
28. Repetition - At Sentence Beginning
29. Repetition - At Sentence Ending
30. Repetition - Triples
31. Rhyme
32. Roasts
33. Senses
34. Similes
35. Speech - Preparation
36. Speech - Opening
37. Speech - Closing
38. Surprise
39. Titles Are Not Trivial
40. Triples
41. Twists
42. Vary Your Visual Speaking Height
43. Visual Words
44. Vive La DiffeI rence
45. Vulnerabilities
46. Who Am I?
47. Xtra Tips
Great Speeches to Learn From
·  David Henderson
·  Vikas Jhingran
·  Randy Harvey
·  Jay Nodine
·  George Vest
·  Noah Sweat

What Others Are Saying

"Brian Woolf got it right! He covers all the essentials in his book, The Speaker's Toolbox. If you want to be a powerful presenter, this book is full of ideas to help you. I wish this resource was around when I started. Well done!"
·  Darren LaCroix, CSP, AS, World Champion Speaker

"Brian - Tremendous research! You clearly do have a passion for speeches. You've provided a book that will teach many for years to come!"
·  Harold Patterson, World Champion Speaker

"Let me express how impressed I am with your book. Great job! The useful tools you've included and the numerous speeches you've analyzed will be a blessing for every speaker."
·  Pres Vasilev, World Champion Speaker

"I will require every one of my proteges to read this book. It lays out so succinctly the key elements that so many speakers struggle with, the things that are so hard to explain. I loved the combination of great minds and speakers outside Toastmasters as well as those within. The footnoting procedure is excellent. Thank you for writing this excellent book!"
·  Randy J Harvey, World Champion Speaker

"I love The Speaker's Toolbox. This book is an excellent resource for building an award-winning speech and a great reference source for those who aspire to be great speakers, both neophytes and vets."
·  Kenny Ray Morgan, World Speaking Champion Finalist

"I had the opportunity to meet and hear Brian Woolf, author of The Speaker's Toolbox. He is an amazing speaker and teacher. I highly recommend this book!"
·  Ray Ciafardini, Jr., Toastmaster

"The Speaker's Toolbox is fascinating and I'd think would be very helpful to all kinds of folk. The tone is quite inviting. I love the specific examples of various points such as the twists. Were I still teaching there is much I would like to use!"
·  Malinda Tulloh, Ph.D., Professor of English (Retired)

About the author...

Brian Woolf is a speechaholic. He loves listening to speeches, thinking about them, and giving them; and he loves reading and studying them - their makeup, their message, their "music" - to discover their magic.

It wasn't always so. In High School he avoided entering the annual speech contest. At 22, in his first job, he knew he needed speaking help. Toastmasters was just being introduced to his native New Zealand. He joined. He learned. He gained speaking confidence ... enough to subsequently use the skills learned to graduate with Distinction from the Harvard Business School with its two-year program focused on dialogue-based case studies. In later years, he has spoken extensively, including conferences on five continents.

Toastmasters continues to play a key part in his life. Brian has been an active club member in New Zealand, Ireland, and the USA. He has won five District (State) Speech Contests - and lost many more (which is when intensive learning occurs!) In 2003, he was one of the nine finalists in Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking. Mastering communication skills helped him not just in Toastmasters but also in the business world and as an author, where the art of simple, clear communication guided his writing of three marketing books. This book shares many lessons Brian wished he had learned decades ago with the goal of speeding up your speaking journey.

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Copyright © 2022 Brian Woolf