Six Minutes – the public speaking and presentation skills blog recently did a fantastic Interview with Ryan Avery: 2012 World Champion of Public Speaking, if you’re involved in regularly speaking to groups of children and young people you want to check out this interview, here’s a few snippets:

Ryan Avery was selected as the 2012 World Champion of Public Speaking a few weeks ago at the Toastmasters International international convention in Orlando, Florida.

Question: When did you develop an interest in public speaking? Is it something you’ve found easy through high school, college, and into your career, or have you struggled?

I have always enjoyed talking with people but just because you talk, does not mean the person listening is enjoying themselves. I am part of the “like” generation (where we say “like” every other word). I wanted to make sure I was representing my generation and my employer, Special Olympics Oregon, in a professional way so I needed a place where I could improve and develop my speaking skills.

I have always felt confident speaking in front of large groups but what I struggle with is making sure I am connecting, engaging and leaving them with something that will make their life better. I don’t just want to speak. I want to connect and leave them with something of value. There are thousands of speakers but very few resonate and connect.

Question: The title of your world championship speech was titled “Trust is a Must”. Why did you choose this theme?

Randy Harvey is the 2004 World Champion of Public Speaking and my mentor. “Trust is a Must” came from Randy’s training of listing out three key questions:

  1. Who am I?
  2. What am I about? and
  3. Where did I learn that?

Randy’s coaching helped me find the things that were important in my life and the stories that went along with them. This took me months to work on and most people don’t know that the speech I gave on the finals stage on August 18th was my 27.0 version of “Trust is a Must”. I changed it up that many times in order to get it that point and it was because I was finding out who I was and what message I wanted to send. I am still figuring that out and something tells me it is a life long process!

Question: Each year, thousands of Toastmasters around the world enter speech contests. What advice do you have for them?

Get a mentor!

Answer Randy’s three key questions of:

  1. Who am I?
  2. What am I about? and
  3. Where did I learn that?

You need to be persistent: There will be times when you don’t want to wake up at 5am or you will get no one to laugh at the speech you thought was funny! Get up, speak and keep going!

HAVE FUN!!! One of my mentors told me “Ryan, no one rides a roller coaster to get to the end. Enjoy the ride!”

Question: Finally, what advice would you give to other Six Minutes readers who aspire to become more confident and effective speakers?

Find the best mentor you can think of that lives around you and ask them to coach you.

Practice, Practice, Practice! (I would give my speech in the middle of downtown whilepeople walked by, stared me down, looked at me like I was crazy. Once you do something like that you will be confident on any stage you walk on!)

Videotape yourself and watch what you do right/wrong!


Married to the amazing Sarah and raising Jakey, Daniel, Amelia, Josh & Jonah in our blended family. Passionate for Jesus, social work & sport.

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