Watching the World Championship of Public Speaking on live streaming along with a 100 odd other Toastmasters was a memorable time. And it was all the more special since Aditya Maheshwaran, a member of my Toastmasters club, made it to the top 10 finalists. So the members of the club decided to cheer him on virtually as we made it to the streaming venue early on saturday morning . Armed with sustenance like biscuits and energy bars, I was get, set, go for the first live World Championship viewing of my life!
I could have stayed home to watch the streaming by myself. But sitting with other speaking enthusiasts and cheering for our local champion took the experience to a new level. And to be fair, we cheered and applauded for each speaker. Making it to the top 10 finalists of this prestigious contest is no mean feat. And it’s only fair that they all be treated with the respect and spirit of competition that they deserve.
Some of the speakers stood out in their style of delivery making them memorable despite not winning the trophy. One such speaker was Katina Hunter who opened the contest as the first speaker of the day. She doesn’t just speak but demonstrates what she says and it’s shocking at first to see her do what she does on stage. But with so much confidence and elàn! Her talk is not out on YouTube yet but she made a similar version of the presentation in the semi finals of 2016 and this isn’t any less impressive. Watch it here
Another speech that stands out for me is of John Andrews, a funeral manager. He not only turns his rather morbid profession of dealing with funerals into something interesting but also does it humourously. His message – humour is not just a coping mechanism but a survival skill – hits home well with the audience. His speech is not up yet and I’ll try to share the link once it is on Youtube.
Coming to the winning speech, Manoj Vasudevan deals with the theme of universal integrity despite differences which touched a chord with the judges and audiences alike. He uses his personal experience and the example of a bow to show how whether it is spouses or nations, one has to give up ego to pull less and learn to bend more like the bow to accommodate differences. You can watch the winning speech here:
With 3 out of 10 finalists from India (or Indian origin), Asians shone this year too. Darren Tay, the winner of 2016 championship is a lawyer from Singapore and Vasudevan brought back the title for Singapore, making Singapore the winner second time in a row.
Toastmasters International is a great and safe space to become a confident speaker. And this international speaking contest is the culmination of one’s speaking skills.
Watch the winning speech from 2014 and 5 lessons we can learn from it here
Watch the winning speech from 2016 and 5 lessons we can learn from it here