Oak Bay Toastmaster Soren Russow heads for Kelowna next weekend after finishing first in a District 21, Division B Contest April 7.
The exciting night in Victoria featured eight dynamic, creative speeches from Toastmasters vying to represent Division B at the District 21 competition in Kelowna April 21 where Soren Russow will compete for the chance to go to Chicago for the World Championships in August.
Russow who took first place in the International Speech Contest. Giselle Plourde won 2nd place and Alexis Santacruz won third.
“The speech is about making a choice to be happy now regardless of life’s external circumstances and sharing some of the stories of challenges I’ve gone through in my life,” Russow said.
Russow, a resident of Oak Bay for close to 30 years, is a Laughter Yoga leader/comedic actor, a pedicab operator, and a Videographer. The laughter yoga is what led him to Toastmasters about five months ago in a bid to hone his public speaking skills. He spoke alongside Matti Anttila at a pair of Hearts and Hands conferences.
“That inspired me to really improve my public speaking skills. It went very well but I just wanted to enhance them to improve my comfort level speaking in public,” Russow said.
Anttila, also serves as his mentor and speech coach for the contest. The speech he gives has been through a few iterations, tweaked every time he competes.
“Every time I’ve been working with a speech coach and mentor and we’re working to revamp the speech,” Russow said. “The growth that I’ve experienced is also to keep it fresh for the audience but also for my benefit. It can get quite boring to work on the exact same speech for a period of time without adjusting it. There’s always ways of improvement with everything.”
He’ll attend the conference April 20 to 22 with the competition April 21 in Kelowna.
“There’s going to be a lot of people with educational material as well as other public and inspiring speakers,” he said.
“I want to learn and of course take notes and grow from it. … I have a vision of travelling the world and speaking at various conferences.”
Oak Bay Toastmasters club meets every Tuesday from 7:30 to 9:10 p.m. in St. Patrick’s Parish Hall (downstairs multipurpose room), 2060 Haultain St. Learn more at oakbaytoastmasters.ca
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