We are All Capable of Public Speaking at a High Level
All of us have the potential to become leaders and communicate at a very high level. A perfect example is the story of Mohammed Qahtani. It might be surprising, but it took time for Qahtani to build confidence and overcome his fear of public speaking. Just like the rest of us. What is even more impressive is that he faces the additional challenge of managing a speech impediment.
Qahtani credits Toastmasters for helping him flourish. Now he not only performs as a comedian, he is also the 2015 Toastmasters’ World Champion of Public Speaking. Qahtani’s winning speech, “The Power of Words,” is well written and his delivery is polished. I embedded the video of his speech in this blog post as an example. It should not only be watched as a source of inspiration, but as something that is attainable.
What Makes this Speech so Great?
The key to the entire speech is that he keeps it simple. He stays focused on the essential core of his message, “You have the power using your words to change someone’s life.” The chosen topic is universal and especially relevant to a Toastmasters audience. What I like the most is that the content is engaging and memorable. It does not surprise me that the speech meets all of the criteria mentioned in my past blog post, “Speech Content that Makes an Impact.”
Qahtani starts out his speech very unexpectedly with a gaffe. He pretends to start lighting a cigarette on stage. Then the audience’s expectations are violated when he convinces them that the dangers of smoking are exaggerated. He immediately admits that he misled the audience to make a point. The audience responds with laughter and it is obvious that he has already won them over.
You always, always have to leave your audience on a hope. – Mohammed Qahtani
Qahtani is able to express this message and maintain the attention of the audience through the use of three stories. These stories make his concept tangible and they evoke emotion. He starts simple, with a story about how he changed his wording to teach his young son a lesson. Then he satirizes scientists struggling to communicate a message about global warming. Lastly, he pulls the audience’s heart strings with a story of a friend who desperately struggled with confidence, due to a lack of affection from his father.
Qahtani is not an expert in the field of linguistics, nor does he provide any research or data to back up his claim. Nonetheless, he is able to persuade the audience. The audience is able to easily link the cause and effect in each of his anecdotes. Therefore, he achieves credibility.
Qahtani uses his humour to engage audience and win them over. He retains their attention and demonstrates his point through the use of stories. The speech concludes summarizing the point in a simple and memorable phrase, “Your mouth can spit venom or it can mend a broken soul.”
Qahtani explains, “You always, always have to leave your audience on a hope. A hope that there is something that they can do.” He not only delivers a polished and dramatic performance, but he communicates a clear message that the audience takes away from his speech.
For information about Speech Contests and how you could become the World Champion of Public Speaking check out this blog post. For more information about Mohammed Qahtani and his winning speech, check out his interview by The Toastmasters Podcast. You may recognize the voice of one of the interviewers; it is none other than our clubs very own Greg Gazin!
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