Comments on Professional Speech Marathon from its winner Yaroslav Fedorina

 Yaroslav Fedorina


Fellow toastmasters!


How many of you want to participate and WIN a speech competition?


As you know I have recently participated in the speech marathon and now I want to share my experience with you.

When I agreed to participate I just wanted to test myself a little bit and to share my career story with others. I hadn’t delivered any speech in our own club by that day, so I did not expect to win.


Still I was determined to do the best to show that Changemakers can change people and make them orators really quickly. First, I wanted to tell a really funny story about my adventure in Sunny Atlanta (one day I will tell it to you). But I tried the story on my friend and understood that it’s impossible to tell it in enough details within seven minutes. I couldn’t start writing my speech, because I couldn’t make up a funny topic. So I procrastinated until five days before the competition. Then I decided to sit and write a decent story about my career and my sphere even without any funny details. While I was writing my speech I remembered more and more interesting facts and found a few funny photos to use in slides. I was really absorbed by the process. I improved the speech and added more details every day. The story became better and I loved it more and even started to think, that if I did my best, I would be able to win.


The day before the contest Andriy Spivak gave great advices on how to write a peerless speech and I used some of his valuable tips. Could you imagine what I would do if I read his book?


Maria Kuzmenko looked through the speech and advised more improvements (Thank you, Maria!). In the evening I introduced all of them.


I rehearsed the speech a few times with slides, pauses, normal tempo… got a 7 to 8 minutes speech. I decided, that I will definitely forget a paragraph or two, so didn’t worry about the time. So, I went for a competition.


I was the fourth. I saw how speakers started their speeches by asking questions, and decided to introduce some spied techniques into my speech. It wasn’t the best idea to introduce changes 10 minutes before the entrance.


I started fine – with rhetorical questions and funny slides. Sincere audience laughter gave me the confidence and support. I saw, that every fellow Changemaker in the room did everything possible to cheer me. I loved it!


While I was telling my story something was forgotten and some new paragraphs were introduced instead. The half of my speech was already behind and… suddenly the red light illuminated the conference room.



I was really shocked as the ending was the strongest part of my speech! I started to panic. How could I miss the green and yellow lights? What should I have done? I saw my supporters started to worry. I thought to myself whether to continue and be disqualified, but finish my great story, or to stop immediately. I decided to jump to the last paragraph of my speech and skip the rest. Later I found out, that I stopped on 7:25 – 5 seconds prior to disqualification.


I was stressed… I even forgot to put the presenter down on the table and took it to my seat. I thought I had failed. I was sure, that I had chances to win before… but now the fact I skipped some strong points and distorted the logic didn’t give me chances.


The winner was announced and, surprisingly, I heard my name. I won the competition! It’s a fabulous feeling! It is absolutely worth the time spent and efforts applied.



Then I found out that I was only two voices ahead of Timur – the second competitor, whose story was brilliant.


Changemakers, I encourage you to prepare speeches and practice on our meetings as much as possible. With every speech you are becoming better and more professional. Participate in contests and believe in yourself! Your desire and best efforts can do a miracle!


Do your best and put your soul into your speeches and performances! Share a piece of your soul, not dry facts.


If you are frustrated and don’t know what to write about – just sit and start writing and the inspiration will catch up. Do this as early as possible to have enough time to polish your speech, prepare other material and learn key elements (the beginning and the ending as well as basic structure).


When you rehearse your speech and decide its length, mind the reality (on the stage it most probably will take longer) and don’t introduce changes in the last moment!


Become better with Changemakers and never stop achieving better future!



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