Speech Contests: 3 reasons to enter

Speech Contests: 3 reasons to enter

10516607_10152689681087223_326696477728417988_n

BY IAN HAWKINS
Contest season is upon us, and the call is out for Toastmasters to buff up their favourite speeches for the International Speech Contest. If you’re not planning to enter, your reasons may be one of the following:
  1. It’s nerve-wracking
  2. I don’t have anything to say
  3. I won’t win
These three reasons for not being in the contest are, however, the three reasons why you absolutely should be taking part.
  1. It’s nerve-wracking
This may be true, but there is only one way of dealing with nerves, and that is for you to be in charge of them, rather than letting them be in charge of you. If you don’t like getting out of your comfort zone, you may as well live under a duvet. Taking part in the contest ups the ante – so consider it a rehearsal for the times in real life when you need to perform under pressure.
  1. I don’t have anything to say
Part of the challenge of the International Speech Contest is that it is a completely blank slate. Few things help creativity like a deadline and an audience. If you’re short of ideas, stop thinking of yourself, and start thinking about what the audience wants to hear. Once you have decided on a message they will appreciate, think of your recent speeches: what do you do well? What have you learned to do better? Deliver the message they want in a way that plays to your strengths.
  1. I won’t win
Thousands of people go in for the contest, but there can only be one winner. So sure, your chances are slim, but – so long as you enter – infinitely better than zero. And anyway, going for the win isn’t what it’s about. People who have been in a contest together have a shared bond. It’s an experience that will change you. There is something very special about being in a contest, and watching someone else get a deserved win. Being in the contest is playing at the top of your game – for you.
The contests are your chance to take what you have learned and put it on a larger stage beyond the comfort of your club. It can be scary. You might forget your words. The audience might not like your message. You might not place. But, so long as you are taking part, you cannot and will not have failed.
Ian Hawkins is a writer, presenter, comedian and speaker coach. He won the Bronze Award at the 2013 Toastmasters International D71 Speech Contest Final.
Our Club Mission
To provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment to foster self-confidence and personal growth where every member can develop communication and leadership skills. Join Us!