Meet A Toastmaster: Ben Sloyan

International Speech 2020/21 Contest Winner (District 91)

The International Speech Contest is the Superbowl of public speaking. The level of talent it attracts is astounding. And everyone who participates – whether that’s as a contestant, an organiser or a spectator – comes away from the experience enriched by it. If there’s any one defining secret of success in public speaking, it’s in fixating on serving your audience, rather than getting a particular result.

A District audience might be somewhere in the order of 300 people, each one of whom is giving you 7 minutes of their time. Taking £30 per hour as the average value of someone’s time, you’re being gifted the equivalent of more than £1,000 of life. And that carries with it the moral obligation to give your audience a gift in return.

There’s also a lot to be said for learning how to take evaluations on board. Toastmasters heavily emphasises the importance of feedback, and rightly so, but the contests taught me that receiving and implementing feedback is an art in itself. Maintaining your own authenticity in a sea of differing opinions is an ongoing discipline.

Whether you’re considering taking your first steps into public speaking or planning to enter next year’s International, I cannot recommend Toastmasters strongly enough. If in doubt, you are always welcome at Casterbridge Speakers!

Last Updated on 18th June 2022 by Olga Galaiko