Public speaking secrets of a world champion

Public Speaking Secrets of a World Champion.

For those of you who read my May newsletter which outlined my participation in the Toastmasters Annual International Speech Competition, the finals were held in Las Vegas in August and the 2011 World Champion of Public Speaking Final was won by Australian Jock Elliott. The competition from start to finish takes approximately 6 months, my journey in the competition was an exciting and grueling 12 weeks of speech preparation and training. Jock went onto compete in the finals and ultimately win the global competition. His journey took an additional 3 months after my intensive journey of speech preparation and delivery had finished…..I can only begin to imagine how intense, all-consuming and ultimately exciting his journey to final victory must have been!

I was therefore fascinated to listen to both his speech and post-speech interview recently and gain an insight into both his journey and of course his winning technique. I recently listened to Jock being interviewed by a previous world champion Mark Brown (1995). I want to share some insights I took from Jock’s feedback on public speaking because I believe they are relevant to all of us when speaking or presenting.

In reply to the question “What techniques did you use consistently to advance in the competition?” Jock mentions the following key points which I have summarised in bullet points.

Key takeout 1: Don’t stop competing, compete in every competition you can as this exposes you to risks and takes you out of your comfort zone. Jock’s insight is highly valuable and does relate to everyday speaking and presenting. Speak at every opportunity you get, put yourself forward to speak or present even when you don’t really want to. Speaking frequently will take you out of your comfort zone but you will become a better speaker for it and learn a lot about yourself and what you are capable of.

Key takeout 2: Prepare thoroughly and continually. He reiterates the importance of good preparation when speaking in the areas of content, physical preparation and psychological preparation. This point is extremely important as good preparation can reduce nerves significantly and it also ensures you set yourself up for success. How to prepare effectively is a key component of my group and one-on-one training. It is fundamental to success in public speaking.

Key takeout 3: Relate to your audience always and address the needs of the audience.Jock’s point is again fundamental to good public speaking. Public speaking is not about you,rather it is about the audience which means you have to identify with your audience. The more you know about them before you speak the easier it is to engage them.

Key takeout 4:Jock always tries to use humour, pauses and eye contact when speaking.These are 3 important delivery techniques that will help you engage your audience when speaking or presenting. The implementation of these techniques takes the most coaching and practise. They can feel very unnatural to begin with but are crucial to the delivery of a good presentation or speech.

Check out Jock’s winning speech at

This is obviously a subject I am passionate about….contact me to discuss how you can become a world champion too.

Source: “Interview with the 2011 World Champion of Public Speaking, Jock Elliott.”
Date: September 2011