Here’s the great speech that won the World Championship of Public Speaking last night. Watch it for your benefit!
This is my take on what was interesting in the winning speech and what anyone can learn from.
Courage is the key word
The main thing I saw was… courage:
- Courage to talk about a topic that comes from a non-Western cultural context.
- Courage to avoid exaggerations in body language, use of voice, and props.
Why do I say this? Because in this contest the judges often reward you for such exaggeration, which looks slightly odd even for many Toastmasters members, let alone non-members.
- Courage to take a risk by choosing a speech title that is easily misheard and impossible to understand without hearing the speech itself.
This sort of a choice about the speech title usually creates confusion in the audience.
During the speech the audience actually found out that the difficulty to understand the name of the speech matched with the content and the message of the speech.
Other building blocks of a good speech
For me the main thing in any speech is that the content of the speech is clear and there’s a message that is relevant and easy to relate to.
Even better if the speaker is able to make the audience laugh.
The winning speech totally achieved each of the above goals.
I also saw great interaction with the audience. In this case, with a very large audience!
The speaker also did a great job of gradually building expectation during the speech. In this case, he did it by making the audience eager to hear another key word, and having them wait all the way until the end of the speech to hear it. This is a technique used both in suspense movies and in stand-up comedy.
This sort of performance looks easy when you watch it, but it takes not only great talent, but a huge amount of hard work. Like in Olympic sports.
Good to know about the context of this speech situation
Don’t expect to see a speech that takes a strong stance on an important current issue. In Toastmasters contests, you tend to be punished by the judges if you talk about something that can be interpreted as political. This is a challenge for the speakers as they still need to try to say something meaningful.
All in all, great job, incredible achievement, Cyril Junior Dim, well deserved!!
P.S. The topic of the speech was about the difficulty of being proud about what makes you different from everyone else. Because being different from those around you can put you into trouble.
As to myself, life has taught me that where people are different from others, or do something different from what most others do, is usually where they achieve their greatest heights of accomplishment and achievement.
Where we are different from others is what enables us to shine, and also succeed in life, whatever that means to each one of us.
But being different also takes… courage.