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 2013

 Naoki Tamura
Sunrise Toastmastersclub

 “You Decide” is a story dedicated to my eternal hero, the late founder of Daiei, Inc., one of the greatest business gurus in the 20th century, Mr. Isao Nakauchi, also known as Mr. G.


The story began when I was about to meet him for the first time; I was shaking from nervousness in front of the door, looking at the shining plate that said “President.” I can still evoke the dazzling plate in my brain. I can still remember a surge of excitement. I was 26 years old. 

Great movies open with a scene that grabs the audience’s attention, and keeps them wanting to know what’s happening next. Why shouldn’t great speeches be the same? If a speaker fails to captivate the audience within the first 30 seconds, the audience will mentally decide to shift their attention away from the entire speech. 

That’s why I always give special attention to the opening part and re-write it over and over again so that I can get my audience to think, “Wow, this one is going to be awesome! I wonder where he is going to take us on the journey.” 

I began writing the speech on February 1st and finished on March 1st. I re-wrote it 17 times in the month. I tried rehearsing the speech with the first draft, and it took 28 minutes! I thought, “Wow, the timer would get an arm cramp holding up the red card...” I spent the last 20 days of the month trying to cut it by 75%, making every single line shorter, sharper and unforgettable. It reminded me of Jerry Seinfeld, an American stand-up comedian, saying “I will spend an hour taking an eight-word sentence and making it five.” 

With 50% of the speech being completed, I set a goal that I wanted to achieve with this speech; that was, I wanted my audience to act on my core message; “Stop living someone else’s decision, and take the control of your life back.” However, while I was further developing the speech, I realized that it was not what I wanted to do. What I really wanted to do with the speech was to have my audience see what I saw, hear what I heard and feel what I felt. I wanted to have my audience emotionally connect with Mr. G in the same way as I did with Mr. G. I wanted to have my audience hear his last words “You decide” with exactly the same state of mind I had at his funeral. The question was, “How?”


The key was in “storytelling.”

Stories are the most powerful delivery tool to emotionally connect with your audience. I believe that If I master the art of storytelling, I will master the art of public speaking. 

One of the keys in storytelling is dialogue. Dialogue is the heart of a story. 

The first draft of my speech was full of narration. It sounded completely boring. There was no emotional appeal to the audience, so I replaced it with dialogue and that’s when my story came alive. 

Dialogue breathes life into a story and makes it possible to share with the audience as if it is happening right in front of them. 

Reading the comment sheets that I received, I was glad to find out that a lot of audience members perceived the last line “You decide” as not only the words delivered from Mr. G to me, but also the core message delivered from me to the audience. 


There are so many more elements and techniques that I took into consideration in creating and delivering this speech. I wish I could share those with you, but there seems to be a limit on this page. If you are interested in those tips, I am more than happy to deliver a workshop for your club! 

 Lastly, I would like to give special thanks to all of the Conference Committee members for organizing such a spectacular event! I want to say thank-you to the audience for cheering me on when I was walking up to the stage. My fellow contest rivals: Bob, Mariko-MaMa, Drian, Kaji-san, and Kawaguchi-san, I am humbly honored to have shared the stage. Also, I am truly grateful to all of you for inspiring me for the world championship of public speaking in Cincinnati. 

Thank you! 

International Japanese Speech Contest Champion 2013

 Shigeru Kobayashi
Fantasista Toastmasters Club

 (Japanese Only)


二年前、ファンタジスタトーストマスターズクラブで著名なスピーチ演者になりきる暗唱ブートキャンプを行いました。その時に選んだスピーチがI have a dream。キング牧師だけでなく、私にも、誰にも夢がある。何かスピーチに結びつかないかと、記憶の片隅に引っかかっていました。それから二年の熟成期間を経て、過去の夢に視点が移っていました。書き始めた途端、子供の頃の夢や心踊らされたものがどんどん出てきて、白黒テレビ、アポロ11号月着陸、真空管、シンガーソングライターと、どう考えても7分に収まらない素案が出来上がりました。そして実際にジャズボーカルやスピーチクラスの話が進行しており、昔追いかけていた夢とリンクするのでこれらを結び付けました。この乱気流多き時代に新たな夢を持てというのはなかなか難しいものがあります。しかし、誰もが様々な理由から実現できなかった夢があるはずです。それを思い出してふと笑顔に、そして新たにそれに向けて行動すれば新たな世界を発見できるかもしれません。これはどんな人にも共通だと思いました。



実はコンテスト前日に自分の中で葛藤がありました。大会のゲストスピーカーKwong Yue Yang氏のワークショップで世界大会のスピーチの7,8割は夢をテーマにしたものだと言っていました。スピーチタイトルが「ドリーム」ですから不味いという気持ちが半分、一方で多くの人に共有できるので思惑通りという気持ちが半分でした。当日朝、ひとつの結論にたどり着きました。このスピーチは自分を突き動かすもの、いわゆるセルフリーダーシップという世界観につながることを発見し、自分の腹にストーンと落ちました。自分が納得しないと自信を持ってスピーチができません。深く考える機会をくれたKwong Yue Yang氏に感謝します。




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