Toastmasters International District 76

Toastmasters International District 76 Japan Communication and Leadership Program since 1924

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Tips from District 76 Speech Contest Champions

International Speech Contest Champion 2012

Ruskyle Howser
Musashi Kosugi Toastmasters Club
It is once again my honor to represent District 76 in the International Speech Contest, this time in Orlando, Florida. 
When I went to Palm Desert, California as the District 76 Champion in 2010, I didn’t really know what to expect. I didn’t know how good I would have to be to compete at the international level. The two speeches I prepared were the best I had ever written, but they simply weren’t good enough. I wasn’t good enough.
Watching the top speakers, such as 2010 World Champion, David Henderson, taught me that speeches could be so much more powerful and memorable than I had ever thought possible; that they could be more than a great story or a logically compelling message. I understood, for the first time, that a speech could reach out and touch the audience, touch me, so deeply that it became unforgettable. 
The best speakers did that, not by being clever, but by being honest. They didn’t tell me what to do, but instead took me on a journey into their own life experience, a journey that taught me, or reminded me of, important universal lessons.  
For the past two years, I have been struggling to apply the lessons of that experience. It wasn’t until this spring, when I finished second in the Tokyo Toastmaster Club speech contest, that I finally realized that I had to make that leap. I still had another opportunity to compete through the Musashi Kosugi Toastmasters Club, but I had to throw away my old way of speaking. 
I had written a speech about the last conversation I ever had with my father, but it felt much too personal to ever use in a contest. Yet when I remembered some of the great speakers I had seen in Palm Desert, I saw that they too were speaking about deeply personal, sometimes painful, experiences, so I decided to do it. 
It was frightening to expose myself emotionally like that on stage. As I progressed through the levels of the contest, there were a couple of times that I barely made it through the speech. But every time, the audience embraced as it never had before, not because I had won the contest, but because my personal story had touched their hearts and reminded them of an important universal lesson.
Once again, I will travel to the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking with the best two speeches I have ever written, but this time, I know how good I have to be. I know how powerful a speech can be; how powerful it has to be to compete with the best. 
I also know that I can’t go there to win. I have to go with an open heart to share my own experience and to give the audience the benefit of what that experience taught me. Only then, will I have a chance to speak and compete at the highest level.

International Speech Contest Japanese Champion 2012

Shigeru Kobayashi
Chofu Free-Fright Toastmasters Club



最も大きな転換期はディビジョンコンテストの一週間前、ある信頼する仲間から「自らComfortable Zoneを破れ!」と真摯なコメントをもらい、タイトルとメッセージを残して全部を変える決心をし、それが幕張大会での決勝へと導いてくれました。




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