Members of Toastmasters have the opportunity to compete in various speaking contests after completing six speeches from the Competent Communicators manual. This happens first at the club level, then at the area level, then division and finally at the district level.
Contestants who compete in the International Speech contest, if they win at all levels listed above, have a chance to compete to be crowned the World Champion of Public Speaking. For competitive speakers within Toastmasters, this is the most prestigious designation that can be reached.
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to support a member of my club who was competing in the International Speech Contest at the district level. I sat with other members of my club at the table directly in front of the stage. It was a unique opportunity to get a chance to witness some of the best speakers in our district close up.
I was amazed at the great level of talent, practice and preparation that the competitors displayed. The competition was stiff and the member of our club did not win the contest. The person who did win was Presiyan Vasilev, who gave an amazing presentation about a time when he had car troubles.
So it was interesting to learn a few months later when Vasilev was crowned the World Champion of Public Speaking for 2013. I wasn’t surprised…he was that good. To see the winning speech, please view the video above.
Interesting to note…according to Darren LaCroix, Vasilev delivered his speech at various points somewhere between 40 and 50 times. Also worth noting, he is a member of six different Toastmasters clubs in the Chicago area.
If you’ve been around long enough on this blog to read about the Pecha Kucha presentation by Maria Scileppi that blew me away, you know that she spent 60 hours to prepare for her six minute 40 second presentation. I have no doubt Vasilev spent considerably more time to prepare in his quest to become the World Champion speaker in 2013.
I share all this as a reminder to you that, if it’s important enough, you must put in the time and effort to do your best…to be your best. And while you may not be designated as a champ after all this preparation, you will win the respect of others and more importantly…yourself.