Articles in category: Speech Contests

Ryan Avery was selected as the 2012 World Champion of Public Speaking a few weeks ago at the Toastmasters International international convention in Orlando, Florida.

I was delighted to discover that Ryan is a Six Minutes reader, and was doubly delighted when he agreed to an interview.

His story is that of a champion, not only of a contest winner but a young man with big dreams and the commitment to make them happen.

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LaShunda Rundles was selected as the 2008 World Champion of Public Speaking a few weeks ago at the Toastmasters International convention in Calgary, Alberta.

As reported earlier, LaShunda was one of 10 finalists to compete in the world championship speech contest.

One of my colleagues noted that “she delivered the best speech I’ve ever heard — a speech that moved my soul.

I am honored that LaShunda made the time to answer several questions about her victory, her speaking career, and her remarkable life story. I am delighted to share this inspirational interview with you.

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One of these 10 people will be crowned the new World Champion of Public Speaking on August 16th, 2008 at the Toastmasters International convention in Calgary, Alberta.

Update (August 16): LaShunda Rundles is the 2008 World Champion of Public Speaking. K. Loghandran placed 2nd, and Katherine Morrison placed 3rd.

Each year, over 230,000 members in over 11,000 clubs in 92 countries around the world have the opportunity to participate in this contest where competitors deliver 7-minute speeches judged on core message, speech development, language, and delivery techniques.

The club contest is the first of six stages which culminate in the World Championship of Public Speaking contest. The 10 speakers left standing have each out-spoken and out-inspired fellow competitors at five previous contests. [Back in May, I bowed out in the quarter-finals.]

Here are the 2008 finalists for the World Championship of Public Speaking. As you can plainly see, there is no single “speaker mold”: they bridge four countries, both genders, numerous ages, and diverse backgrounds.

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Speech contests are your fastest route to your greatest improvement.
David Brooks, 1990 World Champion of Public Speaking

This past weekend, I won the Toastmasters District 21 Speech Evaluation Contest and placed third in the District 21 International Speech Contest.

The accolades are very nice, but they are fleeting in nature. On the other hand, the breadth and depth of lessons learned during these speech contests are long-lasting.

This article highlights just a few of these valuable lessons which apply to all speakers, whether novice or professional.

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Imagine yourself speaking at the World Championship of Public Speaking. You’ve written a speech from your heart, and you deliver the best performance of your life. When the winner is announced, it’s you!

Possible? Yes.
You can win.

That which separates those who win from those who do not win is not lifetime speaking experience nor contest experience. Not gestures. Not vocal variety. Not rhetorical devices. Not overall delivery skills.

The most critical discriminator between those who win and those who do not is preparation.

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Many of the techniques described in this series of articles were honed during several years of attending and competing in Toastmasters Evaluation Contests. In both 2006 and 2007, I reached the District 21 finals, taking 2nd place in 2007. [Update: I won the District 21 Evaluation Contest in 2008.]

This article, the fifth in the Speech Analysis Series, inspects Toastmasters evaluation contests from several angles:

  • How does the contest work?
  • Why should you attend?
  • Why should you be a test speaker?
  • Why should you compete?
  • How can you win?

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