By Janet Fuchek
The following is my question and answer interview with Scott Pritchard, the third-place contestant from Henderson, Nevada, at the recent Toastmaster International World Championship of Public Speaking, held on Aug. 20, 2011, at Bally's Las Vegas Hotel. The competition was held in conjunction with the 80th annual Toastmaster International World Convention at the same location, from Aug. 17-20, 2011.
JF:Congratulations on your public speaking award!
SP: Hi Janet, Happy Tuesday. I would be honored to address your questions.
JF: What Toastmaster club do you belong to, and how long have you been a member of the organization?
SP: I belong to Voicelinks toastmasters and have been in toastmasters for 2 1/2 years.
JF: What Toastmaster distinctions have you received?
SP: I have held club officer positions of President and VP of Education and have the designation of ACB. I have been very aggressive and have given over 200 speeches during that time at toastmasters as well as outside the clubs.
JF: What got you interested in Toastmasters?
SP: I got involved with toastmasters to improve my communication and presentation skills. It has changed my life in a very positive way.
JF: What was your reaction to your third-place finish at the 2011 World Championship of Public Speaking?
SP: When they announced I took 3rd place at the World Championship of Public Speaking, I was ecstatic and grateful for the recognition knowing I was the only American to place out of 35,000 competitors.
JF: How did you come up with your speech topic?
SP: I tapped into personal life experiences with a universal message.
JF: What message had you wanted to leave with the audience from that speech?
SP: Your dream, "It will happen when you take action."
JF: What does it take to become an accomplished public speaker?
SP: Perfect practice makes perfect. Embrace failure, be fearless and don't be afraid to make mistakes. The more you fail, the more you succeed.
JF: What are the benefits of Toastmasters?
SP: Toastmasters has helped me in all areas of my life, my wife Robin says I am now a better listener, at least I think that's what she said, I wasn't really listening.
JF: How has Toastmasters inspired you?
SP: Conquering public speaking helps with confidence and carries over to other areas of my life.
JF: Describe a few highlights of the recent Toastmasters International Convention at Bally's Las Vegas Hotel.
SP: Awesome competing against 35,000 contestants, meeting people from all over the world and hanging with other like-minded people.
JF: How does attendance at such a convention benefit Toastmasters and their guests?
SP: Exposure is the name of the game, marketing and promotions go a long way in helping promote the event and introduce even more people to toastmasters.
JF: What are your future goals as far as Toastmasters and public speaking are concerned?
SP: Thanks to Toastmasters I now do stand up comedy and host the show on the Strip at Planet Hollywood every Saturday night. I am also getting involved with the College market and pursuing corporate speaking gigs.
JF: What tips do you have for aspiring public speakers?
SP: Get going and keep going.
The 81st annual Toastmaster International World Convention will be held from Aug. 15-18, 2012, in Orlando, Fla., at the Hilton Bonnet Creek, with District 84 playing hosts to the event.