Hello and welcome!
Like many people, I have always had a love for, and appreciation of, good public speaking. Think back to a great speech that you heard. Perhaps it was inspiring; perhaps it was heart-rending; perhaps it was hilarious. Regardless of their subject-matter, all great speeches have one thing in common: they captivate their audiences for whom time momentarily stands still.
Unfortunately, all too often, public speaking is just . . . well . . . bad. But it does not have to be that way. With practice and commitment, anyone can improve their public speaking skills. It is my hope that this blog will offer the right mix of advice and encouragement to help you do just that.
I have been speaking in public – in one way or another – for most of my life. My parents always said I was talkative as a child, which I think is a nice way of saying that I never shut up! Fate led me to law school where I developed a great interest in oral advocacy. Twice I represented my law school in mooting competitions, and the second time saw my team win the national championship for Canadian law schools.
As a lawyer, I had the great fortune to work at a law firm that specialized in litigation. I learned much from my senior colleagues, and they helped me to develop my confidence and my style. After many years, I made the transition from private practice to public international law at the United Nations where I gained invaluable experience speaking before international audiences.
When it comes to public speaking, there is always room for improvement. Since 2007, I have been a member of the International Geneva Toastmasters Club where I continue to work hard to hone my communication skills. My club is in District 59, which comprises 18 countries in Continental Europe.
I have had the good fortune to do well in several Toastmasters public speaking contests at the District level:
- 2008 Speech Evaluation Contest – First Place
- 2008 Humorous Speech Contest – First Place
- 2009 International Speech Contest – Second Place
- 2009 Table Topics (Impromptu Speaking) Contest – First Place
- 2009 Humorous Speech Contest – First Place
- 2010 International Speech Contest – Finalist
- 2011 Speech Evaluation Contest – First Place
- 2012 International Speech Contest - Second Place
- 2013 Speech Evaluation Contest (French) – First Place
- 2013 International Speech Contest – First Place
While awards are nice, one of the greatest pleasures that I have had in Toastmasters comes from helping others gain confidence in themselves and seeing them make steady progress in the development of their public speaking skills.
My hope is that this blog will provide similar assistance to others. So please stay awhile and have a look around the site; with luck you will find something useful or at least amusing.