And the winner of the Division Contest is…

…me?! Me! Me.

This past fall I competed at the District 21 Table Topics Contest. In a few short weeks, I will be competing at the District 96 International Speech Contest. The minute after I won the Division Contest, I texted my mentor Joe and tell him he was right: he had long ago predicted I would end up at District. I still find it hard to sink in because I have always viewed speeches for the International needing to be the triple threat: inspirational, motivational, humorous. I feel like my speech does not mean any single one.

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Almost a Champ Again

Some memories feel like a dream: just over 1.5 months have passed since the District 21 Fall Conference in Parksville. A part of my mind still asks “did that really happen?” In truth, it almost didn’t happen.

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Speaker’s Showcase: The Morning After

My eyes popped open this morning just before my alarm was set to ring. Through the sleepy haze and howling wind outside, my mind asked me: Did yesterday really happen? Continue reading

Trusting in the Relatable

We stand on the shoulders of giants.

In my previous life as a Science major, that quote stuck with me. Our forefathers (and mothers) made major discoveries and obtained knowledge that we take for granted today. Often we use that gained knowledge to form our own experiments, make our own discoveries, write our own papers, etc.

Except I always had the thought of “everything that can be written about, has already been written about, how on earth can I come up with something original?”

I had the same approach when I first tried writing speeches for Toastmasters. In amongst trying to get a handle on my nerves, I was trying to find a topic I could “teach” to the audience. I was (and still am) considered young in comparison to the average age of a Toastmaster, everything I have experienced in my short life, my audience has already experienced, many times over. Continue reading

Poise of a Champion

Monday night I found myself attending the local Division L International Speech and Evaluation Contest after receiving an invitation from a friend. This was the first non-home Division contest I attended, and I was quite happy to see a number of familiar faces.

One of those familiar faces was a Toastmaster by the name of Chris Archer. We had never been formally introduced (I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t know my name) but I had seen his speech on Saturday when he presented his speech at the famous Just Pros Dragon’s Den. Both versions of the same speech were almost the same, word for word: a great speech then and a great one now.

Yet, something was different. Continue reading

Remembering: One Year Ago

It is time. Fall of 2013 and in the Toastmasters’ World, that means the season has started for the Humorist and Table Topics Contests. Thousands of Toastmasters will come together to compete; they will be trying their hardest to make you laugh your butt off, or they will be trying their hardest to answer thought-provoking questions on the spot.

It is almost one year to the day when I stepped in front of my own home club and delivered my own Humorist Speech. I could have never known how far I would get to go.

Before my reign comes to an end at the 2013 Fall Conference, I’d like to hog the spotlight for a little longer and take a quick stroll down memory lane. Please allow me to share the video of my speech at the 2012 Fall Conference for District 21 (Richmond, BC), a speech that would allow me to win First Place at the Humorist Speech Contest.

Ladies and gentlemen, my speech: Mistaken Identity.

I hope you enjoy it.

Take Your Time

“You have all the time you need. All the time in the world.”
– Allan Quatermain, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Shane West as Secret Service Agent Tom Sawyer.

Shane West as Secret Service Agent Tom Sawyer.

That quote is a line from the movie The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Allan (Sean Connery) is reminding Tom Sawyer (Shane West) about shooting. Never mind the target is the villain running for his life. Never mind he is already miles away. In that moment (pictured above), Tom Sawyer aims, takes a moment, fires, and hits his mark. He is finally an expert marksman.

I feel a bit old (the movie came out in 2003) but remembering that scene reminds me of a piece of advice I want to share (especially) with newer speakers. It is advice I have only recently begun putting into practice. Continue reading

What I Learned from Toastmasters (Comedians)

“By the looks of it, the contestants at the District Humorist Contest must be funny enough to rival stand-up comedians.”

That was something I said to a friend of mine (at the start of the Humorist journey) as we looked down the long path from club to district. Never in a million years did I believe I would be among them. Over the years (yes, years) of trying new jokes and bombing those same jokes here is my vote for advice I would want to give to others. These are a few of the points I have learned from my experience in the Humorist Contest. Continue reading

What I Learned from Watching Stand-Up Comedians

Laughter is the best medicine; that was a outlook on life my mother tried to instill in me from an early age.

To say I watched a lot of stand-up comedy on TV was (at one point in my life) an understatement. I want to quickly go over a few things I have learned from watching stand-up comedians perform, whether it is on TV or live. I don’t want to focus so much on their techniques on how to be funny; if you are interested, Darren LaCroix teaches these techniques extremely well. Continue reading