This year’s winner of the Toastmasters International World Champion of Public Speaking was Mohammed Qahtani.
His inspiring and humorous speech was about the power of words, and how they can completely change the outcome of an event. As he explains in his speech, one single word can even completely change one person life.
As you watch his speech, don’t just be entertained, also get conscious about the power words can have and make the decision to start using them more carefully. You will never know the impact your words are going to have on someone else, so use them wisely.
Watch the speech below and read the comprehensive analysis Business Insider made of it:
He immediately gets the audience on his side
Qahtani starts his speech with a sight gag, pretending to consider lighting up a cigarette before the audience’s reaction convinces him not to. He transitions from this into a sober defense of the tobacco industry before saying, straight-faced, that all of the facts and figures he cited were made up. The audience then roars with laughter.
“When you get an audience laughing, you’ve got them on your side,” Qahtani says.
He doesn’t lose sight of his message
The punchline of his fake defense of Big Tobacco is that you can convince people of a lie, even an absurd one, if you deliver it in the proper way.
Every presentation needs to have a thesis — a message that the audience is convinced of and will take with them. Qahtani’s message is straightforward: We must be conscious of the power our words can have over other people, for better or worse.
He makes it personal
A friend once told Qahtani, “When you’re on the stage, the most important thing is the audience. Don’t care about how you look; where you are on the stage; how you sound — just care about the audience.” Qahtani has used this advice to stay focused on how his audience reacts, and, rather than going through the motions, he adjusts his delivery depending on how his audience engages with his material.
He uses his strengths to overcome his weaknesses
Qahtani grew up with a stutter and deals with it occasionally. He says that even though the stage empowers him and rids him of the impediment, his vocal delivery will never be his strong point, and neither will his stage presence. But that’s fine.
A fellow Toastmasters member once told Qahtani, “Some people are strong with their words. Some people are strong with their voice. Some people are strong with their stage presence. Your strength is humor. Use it.”
He ends on a hopeful note
Qahtani opened his speech with humor to get the audience laughing and relaxed, but he would have fallen into a stand-up act if he didn’t transition into moving personal anecdotes. Similarly, if he kept his entire speech heavy, his audience would have felt depressed or even bored rather than satisfied.
Ricardo is Motivational Speakers Daily resident Editor. If it makes you say "OMG! That's awesome!!!" then Ricardo probably wrote it. Despite the subject of his articles Ricardo is surprisingly well adjusted. When he's not writing, he's listening to music, cooking, and playing with his girls.