Tuesday, November 6, 2007




District 31 Toastmasters Builds Bridge with the National Speakers Association- New England Chapter, http://www.nsanewengland.com/ President, Stephen Shapiro steve@24-7innovation.com Phoenix at the 2007 Toastmasters International Convention! And from that day came a bridge with the Emerging Speakers Program.

On Saturday November 3, 2007 in Natick Massachusetts the National Speakers Association - New England held it's monthly Chapter meeting in Natick Massachusetts with two featured guest speakers, Darren LaCroix and Vikas Jhingran!

Both Darren and Vikas are Toastmasters, both are the only two World Champions of Public Speaking (WCPS) from New England to win since the Toastmasters International speech contest began in 1938(!) and BOTH winners are from my home District 31 which covers eastern Massachusetts and the entire state of Rhode Island!! http://www.district31.org/

If you are not a Toastmaster - let me just give you a brief synopsis of what the International Speech Contest is. In the “Toastmasters World this event is like “Olympics of Public Speaking”! Toastmaster members who are in “good standing” are allowed to compete in a series of five speech contests beginning with the Club, Area, Division, District and Regional. Then out of 25,000 contestants from 14 countries only 10 finalists compete at the annual Toastmasters International Convention in an extremely large room filled with 3,000,000 audience members.

During the speech there are 20 judges who carefully review each contestant’s speech organization, content, voice quality, body gestures, grammar, delivery and of course presentation. The final winner is then crowned “THE WORLD CHAMPION OF PUBLIC SPEAKING” (WCPS). http://www.toastmasters.org/

In August 2001, Darren LaCroix http://www.humor411.com/ won the title WCPS at the Toastmaster’s International Convention hosted in California with his speech “OUCH”! Darren shares his journey on how he fell on his face and failed but laughed his way to the top! As a young entrepreneur he opened up a Subway Sandwich Shop that financially “SUNK”. As a beginning Stand-Up Comic without a “funny bone in his body” he learned from other comedian mentors like Vinny Favorito, who lives and hosts at O’Shea’s in Las Vegas http://www.harrahs.com/EventsDetail.do?locationCode=OLV&detailName=vinnie-favorito-detail&e ventTitle=Vinnie%20Favorito that the key to getting better in front of an audience, is “STAGE TIME”! “STAGE TIME”! “STAGE TIME”. Darren encourages all of us to fall on our face, but get back up, take the next step and “fall forward” instead of remaining backward with regret...

This past August 2007 at the Marriott Desert Resort in Phoenix Arizona, Vikas Jhingran, won the WCPS title with his speech “THE SWAMI’S QUESTION”. This speech was about his hope of getting into the graduate school of his dreams - Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Vikas held up an envelope and said the answer to his question was “inside” which was a metaphor from the Swami’s Question to use meditation to find the answers inside ourselves.

Vikas encouraged us to “FIND OUR OWN STYLE”. He asked us to write down three of our strengths and three of our weaknesses. He used music to explain that a speech is an emotional roller coaster ride and we need to connect with the audience and decide where we want to take them. Vikas also performed his Region Vii winning speech “POST CARD”.

Darren showed us a photo of his closet filled with countless video tapes and audio cassettes of speeches that he presented throughout the years. He explained that a co-worker once said “Darren you are so lucky”. But Darren assured us all that it wasn’t “luck” that helped him to become a World Champion. It is a process…years of “hard work”…“commitment to the craft of public speaking”… and a “willingness to fail” in order to get better. He advised us ALL to record our speeches and explained that we can’t be our best ALONE – we need to be COACHED by people who are the best in the field.

Then to "hit home the point" - Darren gave a short story about Red Sox Champion, left-hander, David Ortiz who videos himself every time he gets up at bat and then he watches the rewound play during the game – so that he can continue to keep getting better.

Darren and Vikas also had a question and answer session and offered a live coaching session with the “CHAMPS”. Invited up to speak was my District 31 Governor, Cherylle Garnes, DTM who “TOOK THE NEXT STEP” and gave her District 31 Conference Speech – which will be this Saturday November 10, 2007 at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel & Trade Center, Marlboro, Massachusetts - please join us! http://www.igroops.com/igroops/d31+webpages+20

Although both Darren and Vika’s style are very different – they both achieve their results through their willingness to write out their speeches’, present them in front of many different audiences, take all that valuable feedback and more importantly get coached by other Champions.

How about you? – Will you TAKE THE NEXT STEP? Fall on your Face? Find the answers to your questions inside you? Fall Forward?, Get Coached? FIND YOUR OWN STYLE? Video/Audio Record Your Speeches? Take a Risk Compete in a Speech Contest?

Go ahead - reach for the "OUCH" - "FALL ON YOUR FACE"..."FALL FORWARD...TAKE THE NEXT STEP"!!

Check out Darren LaCroix's Blog

Join the Champions Edge - use my affliate link!

Respectfully Submitted,

Sherri Raftery
District 31 Lt. Governor of Marketing

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