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World Champion Speakers Summit—Part 4


By: Michael Aun


If you were searching for similarities between Past World Champions of Public Speaking you should keep on looking. No two were similarly motivated.

The 2000 winner Ed Tate confessed, “I was a stutterer. As a kid, I was always being made fun of. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. So at 8 years old I started reading the newspaper out loud every single day…..from 8 years old on, I had been preparing my life for this.”

Competition is innate to some life. The 2001Champion Darren LaCroix lamented “My motto to myself was, let no one out prepare me!”

The 2002 champ Dwayne Smith figured out how Toastmasters could help him. “I can take this information that they have in Toastmasters, I can read it and I can apply it. Then, I can teach other people how to speak. So, I joined. The week after I joined, they brought out the big guns! Those people were so good, they were eloquent and they made sense. I thought I have no business being in this organization.”

The 2003 title holder, Jim Key, said “I saw Zig Ziglar, CPAE® and Les Brown, CPAE®. I remember the impact they had on the audience. I saw people I worked with had taken to heart some of the things they heard. I thought, ‘I want to be able to THAT!’”

The 2004 champ Randy Harvey observed: “The most benefit I got from the contest was how to say and make a real salient point in a short amount of time.” “It is a little of a misnomer that I won the World Championship my first year in Toastmasters. I was in speech and debate in high school, I was in speech and debate in college, I was a college youth pastor, as a teacher I spoke, as a principle I spoke. I had a lot of experience speaking.”

The 2005 victor, Lance Miller said “I have lost more contests than I have ever won, and I sat in the audience and thought I won the contest and lost it more times than I ever won. But most of my lessons were in the losing. The journey to the World Championship was more a journey of self-discovery and self-definition than it was a journey in public speaking.”

“The hardest thing for me in public speaking,” said Miller “was to just be myself and talk to the audience. If you had an opportunity to alter the course of mankind, are you prepared? We all have opportunities to say something and make a difference is somebody else’s life. What if we are not prepared to make that difference when that opportunity presents itself?”

Toastmasters 2007 winner Vikas Jhingran observed: “It was very clear that communications was a very important part of your corporate experience. It mattered how you presented ideas and how you thought about things and were able to communicate about it. I realized that this is a skill that is going to hold me back if I do nothing about it. No, I wasn’t trying to win the World Championship. That is not what I was going after. I just wanted to improve.”

The 2010 winner David Henderson stated “I very quickly learned that if you want to be trial lawyer you have to be a great public speaker. And contrary to popular opinion, lawyers are not good public speakers.”

Others like the 2011 champ, Jock Elliott, had a more modest objective. “I wanted to be comfortable speaking. Then I realized it as easy to be a bad speaker and comfortable with it as it is to be a good speaker and comfortable with it.”

The 2015 Mohammed Qahtani had larger aspirations. “I wanted to speak to 1,000 people. If I could speak to 1,000 people, that’s it! That is my dream!”

“I am going to be a teacher,” said 2018 winner Ramona J. Smith, “But public speaking is my dream! So, let’s try it again, from a more humble perspective.”

No two of us arrived in the same manner. Go to World Champion Speakers Online Summit to learn more about how the champs got there.

Michael Aun is the longest tenured (living) World Champion of Public Speaking, having won in 1978.