January 17th, 2021

Toastmasters look to talk themselves to a spot on the world stage

By Jensen, Randy on June 5, 2020.

Greg Bobinec

Lethbridge Herald


Last weekend, six of the top Toastmasters from southern Alberta and Saskatchewan battled it out for two different titles, for a chance to qualify for Toastmasters International World Championship.

Toastmasters spend dozens of hours working and enhancing their craft as they try to tell a convincing and compelling story or life lesson to entertain and inspire audiences.

“There were two different titles that were offered this weekend, the first one being Table Topics, which is essentially impromptu speaking, so we brought the contestants in one by one and they get the questions and they have to answer it immediately,” says Jocelyn Hastie, District 42 Director. “The second one is International Speech, which is typically inspirational speeches, and the district champions competed. The winner of the international contest goes on to compete for World Champion of Public Speaking. At this time, our champion is going on to compete at the quarter-finals and should she finish at the top of that competition, she will go on to the World.”

Kanak Khare from Calgary won audiences and judges over through her powerful story of perseverance through challenging circumstances and making the best of opportunities to become happy. Through her compelling speech, Khare will be moving on to the quarter-finals where she will have a chance to qualify to compete against the world’s best.

“Kanak is a very fascinating lady and the talk was very inspirational,” says Hastie. “The name of the talk was ‘My Final Prescription’ and in it, she tells the story of growing up in India and having an arranged marriage and really winning the lottery by marrying a handsome doctor who brought her to Canada. She is now a widow, but it is her story about her learning to breathe and by learning to breathe, to be happy.”

Hastie says Toastmasters like Khare spend much of their time perfecting and enhancing their stories through a number of levels in the ranking system. By the time Toastmasters reach the district level, they would have presented it up to four times, and each time gets better and better.

“It really is a tremendous amount of practice. Most competitors will deliver their speech at the club level and win at the club level to compete at the area level. They win the area level to compete at the division level and then compete in that in order to get to the district level which is what we had over the weekend,” says Hastie. “Generally, they will have delivered their speech at least four times in competition, so the speeches between competitions can change drastically. They don’t have to be the same, and they could give a different speech, but most competitors keep the same speech, make it razor sharp for when they present at the district level.”

Toastmaster public speaking is a popular craft around the world with over 30,000 competitors testing their skills to make it to the International World Championships every year. District 42 will have another district contest coming up in the Humorous Speech category, as part of their June 13 celebration, and is free of charge for people to register online at D42tmevents.org.

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