Last week I did one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. It was also one of the most amazing experiences I’ve every had. I participated in the JCI World Public Speaking Championship at the JCI World Congress in Osaka as the European representative competing against the three winners one each from the Americas, Africa and the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.
To get to the finals at the World Congress means that I already competed at the European Congress in Aarhus in June against the winners from the different European countries, and won.
The topic for the speech was “Be the Change”, The topic is set by HQ and is the same for everyone at the regional (i.e. Europe and similar) and world level.
I didn’t win the World finals, but the experience of competing was amazing and I truly recommend it to anyone interested in challenging themselves and learning how to do public speaking (famously the thing we are the most afraid of in our lives, even before death).
Through the process of preparing for the competition I have become a lot more confident speaking in public. Everything from my tone of voice, body language and speech structure have become better.
Most suprisingly I think was the process of writing the speech. I first wrote a speech that was very much a written text. A good speech, but nothing particular. Working with Simon Bucknall (2008 Public Speaking Champion) made me realise the work that goes into making a speech truly good, and spoken, as opposed to written. Simon helped me through the process, compared to Simon I am a performer. While Simon is the true expert of public speaking, I am a performer. Give me a speech and I’ll perform it, while Simon can tell what works and why.
I’ve had amazing support the whole way, from Simon Bucknall who helped me structure my speech and work on body language and gestures to Steve Wells who coached me into confidence (“no matter how I fall, its always on my feet, its always on my good side” became my mantra, a mantra I will keep), to all of JCI Norway who allowed me to practice in front of their local presidents and members both at their leadership weekend and national convention, to everyone at the European Congress who were amazingly supportive and loving, to the judges and other participants and of course all of JCI UK and National President Lesley Young who convinced me to compete in the first place (normally the winner from the UK competes, but Richard Watts who won JCI UK’s national public speaking competition in 2009 couldn’t attend the European Congress so we needed an alternative and that became me!).
All in all it was a huge kick. Amazing experience. Want to do the same? Come to the JCI UK National Convention and participate in the JCI UK National Public Speaking competition, if you win, you get to compete against the other national winners at the JCI European Congress in Tarragona in June 2011!
You can see my speech on youtube
Categorised in: Charity
This post was written by Sofie Sandell