Toastmasters' Most Buzzworthy Speeches of 2014

Buzzworthy speeches of 2014

Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organization’s membership exceeds 313,000 in more than 14,650 clubs in 126 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience. I have been a member since 2007.

Toastmasters recently named seven speeches as the most “buzzworthy” of 2014. The speeches were chosen because they were personal, memorable and heartfelt, and they captured the attention of audiences around the world. What is the secret to giving a speech that is viewed and shared by millions of people? As Toastmasters says, “A successful speech resonates with interesting content and a heartfelt delivery.”

Each speech below has its merits. You should take the time to watch at least a few of them. And if you would like to recommend one of your buzzworthy speeches of 2014, please leave a comment with a link to it.

  • March 2: When Matthew McConaughey won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance in “Dallas Buyers Club,” he described the three things he needs each day: 1. Something to look up to. 2. Something to look forward to. 3. Someone to chase.
  • March 20: In his TED Talk, leadership expert Simon Sinek explored what makes a great leader. He suggested it’s someone who makes his or her employees feel secure and who draws staffers into a circle of trust. Creating trust and safety—especially in an uneven economy—means taking on big responsibility.
  • May 6: After winning the NBA Most Valuable Player Award, Kevin Durant brought the audience (and himself) to tears while thanking his mother during his acceptance speech for being “the real MVP.”
  • May 28: Returning to Harvard, her alma mater, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg addressed the graduating seniors and told them, “The first time I spoke out about what it was like to be a woman in the workforce was less than five years ago. That means that for 18 years, from where you sit to where I stand, my silence implied that everything was OK. You can do better than I did, and I mean that so sincerely.”
  • August 18: After a tough loss in the Little League World Series, David Belisle, coach of the Cumberland American Little League team, delivered an inspiring postgame speech to his players, telling the team, “You’ve given me the most precious moment of my athletic and coaching career.”
  • August 23: In his speech, “I See Something,” Sri Lankan Dananjaya Hettiarachchi inspired the audience with his story of personal growth and was crowned Toastmasters’ 2014 World Championship of Public Speaking. Hettiarachchi beat 30,000 other contestants from 126 countries to win the championship. 
  • October 10: Two years after surviving a terrorist attack for advocating girls’ education, 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner. In her speech, Yousafzai vowed to continue speaking out on the importance of education, saying children around the world “should stand up for their rights” and “not wait for someone else.”

Like the article? Help and spread the word!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email

2 Replies to “Toastmasters' Most Buzzworthy Speeches of 2014”

  1. John, Thanks for posting. I will certainly go and watch them. Could you let us know how these were selected: who decided? What were the criteria? etc

    1. Thanks for the comment, Sean. Like Mark Twain in my previous post, I gratified to be able to answer you promptly. I don’t know!
      I don’t think that the list is, by any means definitive, and I suspect that it was the product of a give-and-take group discussion. But it is a decent list nonetheless. The person to contact for the answer to your question is Dennis Olson, Public Relations Strategist at Toastmasters International. Dennis contacted me about the list a couple of weeks ago.
      Regards and Happy New Year!
      John

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Testimonials

John delivered a keynote address about the importance of public speaking to 80 senior members of Gore’s Medical Device Europe team at an important sales event. He was informative, engaging and inspirational. Everyone was motivated to improve their public speaking skills. Following his keynote, John has led public speaking workshops for Gore in Barcelona and Munich. He is an outstanding speaker who thinks carefully about the needs of his audience well before he steps on stage.

Karsta Goetze

TA Leader, Gore and Associates

I first got in touch with John while preparing to speak at TED Global about my work on ProtonMail. John helped me to sharpen the presentation and get on point faster, making the talk more focused and impactful. My speech was very well received, has since reached almost 1.8 million people and was successful in explaining a complex subject (email encryption) to a general audience.

Andy Yen

CEO, Proton Technologies

John gave the opening keynote on the second day of our unit’s recent offsite in Geneva, addressing an audience of 100+ attendees with a wealth of tips and techniques to deliver powerful, memorable presentations. I applied some of these techniques the very next week in an internal presentation, and I’ve been asked to give that presentation again to senior management, which has NEVER happened before. John is one of the greatest speakers I know and I can recommend his services without reservation.

David Lindelöf

Senior Data Scientist, Expedia Group

After a morning of team building activities using improvisation as the conduit, John came on stage to close the staff event which was organised in Chamonix, France. His energy and presence were immediately felt by all the members of staff. The work put into the preparation of his speech was evident and by sharing some his own stories, he was able to conduct a closing inspirational speech which was relevant, powerful and impactful for all at IRU. The whole team left feeling engaged and motivated to tackle the 2019 objectives ahead. Thank you, John.

Umberto de Pretto

Secretary General, World Road Transport Organization

I was expecting a few speaking tips and tricks and a few fun exercises, but you went above and beyond – and sideways. You taught me to stand tall. You taught me to anchor myself. You taught me to breathe. You taught me to open up. You taught me to look people in the eye. You taught me to tell the truth. You taught me to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. I got more than I bargained for in the best possible way.

Thuy Khoc-Bilon

World Cancer Day Campaign Manager, Union for International Cancer Control

John gave a brilliant presentation on public speaking during the UN EMERGE programme in Geneva (a two days workshop on leadership development for a group of female staff members working in the UN organizations in Geneva). His talk was inspirational and practical, thanks to the many techniques and tips he shared with the audience. His teaching can dramatically change our public speaking performance and enable us as presenters to have a real and powerful impact. Thank you, John, for your great contribution!

Sara Canna

HR Specialist, World Health Organization

John is a genuine communication innovator. His seminars on gamification of public speaking learning and his interactive Rhetoric game at our conference set the tone for change and improvement in our organisation. The quality of his input, the impact he made with his audience and his effortlessly engaging style made it easy to get on board with his core messages and won over some delegates who were extremely skeptical as to the efficacy of games for learning. I simply cannot recommend him highly enough.

Thomas Scott

National Education Director, Association of Speakers Clubs UK

John joined our Global Sales Meeting in Segovia, Spain and we all participated in his "Improv(e) your Work!" session. I say “all” because it really was all interactive, participatory, learning and enjoyable. The session surprised everybody and was a fresh-air activity that brought a lot of self-reflection and insights to improve trust and confidence in each other inside our team. It´s all about communication and a good manner of speaking!"

Jon Lopez

General Manager Europe, Hayward Industries

Thank you very much for the excellent presentation skills session. The feedback I received was very positive. Everyone enjoyed the good mix of listening to your speech, co-developing a concrete take-away and the personal learning experience. We all feel more devoted to the task ahead, more able to succeed and an elevated team spirit. Delivering this in a short time, both in session and in preparation, is outstanding!

Henning Dehler

CFO European Dairy Supply Chain & Operations, Danone

Thanks to John’s excellent workshop, I have learned many important tips and techniques to become an effective public speaker. John is a fantastic speaker and teacher, with extensive knowledge of the field. His workshop was a great experience and has proven extremely useful for me in my professional and personal life.

Eric Thuillard

Senior Sales Manager, Sunrise Communications

John’s presentation skills training was a terrific investment of my time. I increased my skills in this important area and feel more comfortable when speaking to an audience. John provided the right mix between theory and practice.

Diego Brait

Director of the Jura Region, BKW Energie AG

Be BOLD. Those two words got stuck in my head and in the heads of all those ADP leaders and associates that had the privilege to see John on stage. He was our keynote speaker at our annual convention in Barcelona, and his message still remains! John puts his heart in every word. Few speakers are so credible, humble and yet super strong with large audiences!

Guadalupe Garcia

Senior Director and Talent Partner, ADP International