Michael A.T. Stewart, president of Tobago Professional Speakers Toastmasters Club will represent Trinidad & Tobago at the Regional Table Topics contest. Toastmasters International (TI) is a world leader in communication and leadership development. Part of the TI Educational Program involves participation in speech contests. Tobago Professional Speakers recently became a chartered TI club and is now part of a global network of clubs in 116 countries with over 280,000 members who meet to improve their speaking and leadership capabilities.
Stewart, a communications consultant, survived three rounds of Table Topics competition to earn the title T&T’s Best Improv Speaker. Table Topics is a display of extemporaneous speaking skills. Speakers deliver a 1 – 2 minute improv answer to a question. The four finalists in that segment were asked “Looks, Brains, Wealth – rank those in order of importance to you when it comes to your ideal partner. And tell us why you chose the order you did.” As hard as Table Topics may seem to most, Stewart illustrated it is not that hard when he delivered the winning response beginning with “Brains, Looks, Wealth…” Odiah Gift of Winners Club, Trinidad, placed second. She said “Brains, Wealth, Looks…” to the agreement of most of the women in the audience. The Table Topics contest culminates during the May District Conference in Guyana.
Stewart also placed third at the Area level of the International Speech contest, just barely missing out on the opportunity to compete at the National level. His prepared speech “It’s Not that Hard” in which he explored the perks vs. the pits of marriage drew a strong positive response from the audience. Jamillah David of Winners Club in Trinidad went on to cop the title of T&T’s 2013 Champion Prepared Speaker. David, though born in Trinidad, was raised in Black Rock, Tobago and is very proud of her Tobagonian heritage. Jamillah’s speech titled “Reflections of an almost 30-year old” kept the audience at the edge of their seats. In a bold move, early on, Jamillah made something of a wardrobe change during her speech, taking listeners back to the simpler time of childhood innocence and wonder. The International Speech contest leads to the 2013 World Championship of Public Speaking on August 24 in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. Since February, over 30,000 speakers in 116 countries began rounds of contests.
For now, Michael and Jamillah must prepare to face other Toastmasters from around the Caribbean at the District Conference. To get more information on the District Conference in Guyana, to locate a club, attend a meeting, or learn more about Toastmasters membership, email firstname.lastname@example.org .