I bet you're probably thinking, "I didn't know there was a World Championship of Public Speaking?" Well, now you do! For me, this is up there with the Super Bowl and the NBA Finals.
The competition is run by Toastmasters International. It starts at the Club Level. If you're in a Toastmasters Club, and you've given 6 speeches or more, you are eligible to compete. I competed a couple years back and made it to the Division level, but lost to some fine competition!
Contest season culminates at the Toastmasters International Convention, which was held in Vancouver Canada this year. I went with my good friend, and mentor Eno Georgette Inwek.
Speech Contests are highly subjective. I've studied Contest Judging extensively, and while there is a set of criteria that you are supposed to use for scoring, I think most judges tend to use the simple "Which speech did I like the most?" approach.
In my humble opinion, you can never get mad when you hear the results from the judges, because every person interprets a speech in their own way.
In my years in Toastmasters, I've been a part of District 1 and District 52. This year, the District 1 Contest winner, Tristan De Montebello won his semifinal region and competed in the Finals!
Tristan's speech was dynamite! Brilliantly delivered, well crafted, and very unique. Sadly, he did not place. But, alas...I have no idea what the 15 judges were thinking. Personally, I did not agree with the 1st place and 2nd place winners. They were great, don't get me wrong. But, I LOVED Tristan's speech and the 3rd place winner, Kevin Stamper, who had me eating out of the palm of his hand.
Here is a quick recap of thoughts from Eno Georgette Inwek and I:
Getting to see the WCOPS live was a remarkable experience! Perhaps, I'll be on that stage one day...
If you have a fear of public speaking, or you simply want to improve your presentation skills, I can help! Please contact me. I provide one on one coaching services and I put on workshops all around the world.
In the meantime, visit one of your local Toastmasters Clubs! The organization is highly supportive and it has helped me in more ways than I can explain.
And who knows, maybe you could be on that world stage one day!