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What does it take to deliver a winning Toastmaster speech?

Many people who strive to be great speakers think it takes years of experience, some magical talent or perhaps even a lot of luck. Over the past years that I’ve been in Toastmasters, I’ve seen that some or all of these reasons aren’t even true. Whenever I see a Toastmaster enter a speech competition for the first time, in a lot of cases I see doubt but also the following phrases come out from them:
“I’m not good enough.”
“I don’t do this for a living.”
“I haven’t been in Toastmasters long enough.”
“I’m not a professional speaker.”
“There are other speakers better than me.”
“I don’t know if I have what it takes to be a great speaker.”
Those that overcome these doubts by partnering with a great mentor within their club or the organization, dedicating themselves to some hard work and having a positive mindset usually succeed. Here are two stories I’d thought I’d share with you of Toastmasters that did exactly this. Hopefully they’ll inspire you to realize what’s possible within Toastmasters.

Ande Clumpus
Ande is a 26 year old financial analyst who joined Toastmasters just over a year ago when he decided to enter into the International Speech Contest. He not only beat out several speakers that had years of more speaking experience within Toastmasters but went all the way to the semi-finals competing against some of the best in the world.
You can read more about his story here.

Yan Li
Yan was a 2 year member of Podium Toastmasters when she entered the International Speech Competition. She was encouraged by a member of her club to enter the competition. She had many doubts when she competed such as English not being her first language and she had no idea if she could even write a good enough speech. She also made it to the semi-finals of Toastmasters and beat out 1,000 other Toastmasters in the GTA to get there. I had the chance to interview Yan a few years back. You can read that interview here.