A Champion’s Story

Did you hear who won the championship this year? Not the Masters, not the Super Bowl, and not the Series—we’re talking about the 2019 Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking that concluded this summer.

Aaron Beverly, a thirty-year-old project manager at JP Morgan, won this year’s championship.  He beat out 30,000 participants from 143 countries, according to this Henry DeVries piece in Forbes.

The seven-minute speech, entitled “An Unbelievable Story,” recounted an adventure Beverly had at a friend’s wedding he attended in India. As a nice touch, Beverly wore the traditional Indian wedding attire that he had worn to the wedding.

Beverly’s story was personal, it was funny, and it was poignant. We highly recommend you watch it. His presentation style engaged, entertained and even inspired his audience as he relived his experience as the only African-American at the wedding.

Better yet, the championship-winning speech hit all of the Fundamentals: big gestures, wide variations in volume, POW! statement, purposeful movement, pauses, eye connection and amazing energy.

He also wrapped up his story with an important message—the “why” behind his telling of his story. Remember, it’s not always enough just to tell it—you often need to SELL IT by giving your audience the reason you shared that story in the first place.

DeVries’ article included some tips from Beverly himself as to how to become a more impactful speaker. Most of them were messages that you’ll also hear from us—be yourself, know your audience, make personal connections, and use words you’d use in normal conversations.

And finally, Beverly added that successful speakers should inspire their listeners with a call to take action. “While speaking solely for entertainment is good, the best speakers in the world get audiences to take action….Giving value and helping make your listeners better than they were before you spoke is, in my opinion, the ultimate goal for any speaker dedicated to the craft of communication.”

Great job on the speech, Mr. Beverly. Congrats on the win!

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