Toastmasters Speech Number 2 (CC2)

The objective is to select an appropriate outline in either chronological, Spatial, Causal, Comparative, Topical, or  Problem-solution that will best achieve the speech objective and organise the speech into an opening, a body and a conclusion.

The speech below was presented as Competent Communicator Toastmasters project number 2 at  Kwanza Kenya Toastmasters Club.

 The conclusion and closing was lost by me, but I hope it can help a Toastmaster somewhere and especially Toastmasters in Kenya with the second project.
  See evaluation below


Corporate Chameleon

My uncle had two missing teeth. He called his neighbour a chameleon.
Chameleon! That’s what you are! Said He, and his dental formula changed forever.

However being called a chameleon should not necessarily be taken as a bad thing.  In fact calling a system administrator a chameleon is a compliment.

How so?

Because, many users find electronic gizmos challenging to use and system administrators assuage the pain. Not because themselves are not frustrated by dealing with difficult equipment, no, they have adapted multifaceted skills akin to those of a chameleon to deal with it. Let me illustrate how.

First, skin

A Chameleon’s ability to change it’s skin colour is legendary. For example between August and November in Nairobi, John Gakuo’s Nairobi that resembles an amazon forest, the vegetation is in full bloom the green giving way to purple, yellow and red. In turn, the chameleons up the trees change from green to motley of colours in order to blend in. On their part inside the corporate boardrooms and ice-cold conference halls managers are busy and alive planning changes (they call them strategies) for the following year. Unfortunately their decisions are rarely rolled down to the hoipolloi lower down the corporate food chain such as the system administrator. These are left to their own devices. Devices such as the deft chameleon skin to sense the changes envisioned and adapt accordingly, and they have to, or else the upcoming company end of year dinner would double-up as their farewell party.

Often also, these decisions require more than one system change. To view them all properly requires a wide angle view; which brings us to a chameleon’s second characteristic.


Each of a chameleon’s protruding eyes can move independently of each other.

It can look in two directions at the same time and perceive two different images. Therefore without moving its head it can scan almost 3600 of its surrounding. Similarly a system administrator needs to view the entire computing spectrum simultaneously.
While a user sees an individual gadget or application, a computing system is an intricate network of Hardware, firmware and software. By knowing a bit of each and a lot about the people using the system, system administrators figure out how to seamlessly bring services from different servers all working together.

The system changes come with limited time lines because information Systems is a highly volatile technology that needs to be consumed fresh for it to have any tangible benefits. Therefore, from the system admins bug of tricks pops out a chameleon’s third characteristic.


A chameleon can extend its tongue to almost twice its body length. The tongue can flick out to full length within a fraction a second, fast enough to catch a fast flying insect. What of a system administrator?

While giving a boss or a client the excuse that the “the system is down” lets off the hook most workers, when the system is down, that is when the System Administrator’s job ratchets a notch or two higher. The crucial function of the system administrator is to eliminate threats to the system such as downtime. The second most important is to turn round a failed system. Therefore every time there is a threat to the system sys admins have to move with speed beyond their normal ability to reign in the rogue system.


A chameleon’s body is flexible and rather flat such that it can bend easily from side to side. This self-effacing characteristic allow it to blend better with leafy surroundings while squeezing between twigs without attracting attention. Similarly, a system administrator needs to be flexible to the corporate working schedules.
Not only are the system admins required to be flexible schedule wise, they must also be flexible enough physically to fit in the spaces left by the users souvenirs, family photos and flower bouquets.


 Speech value
(Interesting, Meaningful to audience)
 5 4 3 2 1
Homorous manner. Engaged audience. V. interesting
(Research, Rehearsal)
  5 4 3 2 1
No use of notes
(logical clear)
  4 3 2 1
3 prong approach. Good transitions
(Captivating, led into topic)
  5 4 3 2 1
Excellent. Humorous. Teased us. Wanted to hear more
(flowed smoothly, appropriate support material)
  5 4 3 2 1
  5 4 3 2 1
Good semantics though not appropriate to the overall message
(Appropriate, helpful)
  5 4 3 2 1

  • What could the speaker have done differently to make the speech more effective?

a) for the title – “the sys admin” not necessary and probably better without.

b) conclusion was not connected to the purpose

  • What did you like about the presentation?

a) Loved the way use of humour to very skilfully bring an entertaining twist to a otherwise informative speech.

 b) Use of metaphor 

Toastmasters in Kenya

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