Toastmasters International Speech Contest

The Toastmasters International Speech Contest, August 20, 2011, was a true international event.

The Speech Contest Chair was John Lau, DTM, International President-Elect, from Kuching, Malaysia.

The 2011 World Champion of Public Speaking was awarded to Jock Elliott from Bongaree, Queensland, Australia.  Second-place winner was Kwong Yue Yang of Guangzhou, Guangdong, China.  And third-place was Scott Pritchard of Henderson, Nevada, United States.  We’re proud to have Scott as a member of our PowerHouse Pros Toastmasters club in Las Vegas.  If you’re ever visiting Las Vegas, be sure to visit our club on the first and third Monday.

John Lau opened the contest with a wonderful warm-up of the audience.  He has a charming personality and a gentle humor that connects with the audience.  He employed the vehicle of singing to carry some of his humor.  He used the improv principle, “If you’re not a professional singer–be bold.”  Elvis looked at home on the Las Vegas stage!  By the time the first speaker took the stage, the Contest Chair made sure the audience was ready without up-staging the contestants.  Well done.

All nine contestants used humor effectively in their speeches.  My favorite use of Observational Humor goes to second-place winner, Kwong Yue Yang. He inserted the traditional, “Fellow Toastmasters, guests…and Elvis.”  This reference worked especially well because he was speaking in the first slot, which made the reference very timely.

He continued his speech, and using stage-space, moved from center-stage to stage-right to represent moving from Australia to China, noting that:  “On this stage you can see that it’s a long way to China.”  I paraphrase the words.  It was a great line about the size of the huge stage.  He wasn’t the only contestant to make a reference to the large stage, but he was the first.  And it was effectively blended into the content of his speech.  He was rewarded with second-place, which was a challenge having drawn speaking position number one.

I had fun attending the contest and enjoyed nine great speakers.  The contest is always one of the high-points of the convention.