Class Reunions

[ Contents | Search | Next | Previous | Up ]

Re: About the presenter

From: Russ Hicks
Date: 11 Oct 2004
Time: 12:52:43 -0500
Remote Name:


Hi Christy, Hang with me here a minute, this can get a little hairy, especially with these aggravating run-on paragraphs like we have here this year... That contest was the Humorous Speech contest in Toastmasters International, a worldwide public speaking organization. (See for details about Toastmasters, a wonderful organization!) There are about 180,000 Toastmasters all over the world. There are eight "Regions" in Toastmasters and Region 3, the Southwest United States region, has about 30,000 members in ten states, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, and parts of Arkansas, Louisiana, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. Each year there is a contest for Humorous speeches that begin at the club level (about 20 members) and go, tournament-wise, up through Area, Division, District, and Region. You win the contest at one level and you move up to compete at the next level. In 1996, I won all those levels up through District (North Texas) and wound up competing at "Region" in Albuquerque, New Mexico, against 8 other District winners. After the smoke cleared, I actually WON that contest too, and believe me, no one was more surprised than me! I really had a blast doing that, but I never thought I stood a chance at really winning that contest. But somehow the judges thought otherwise, and I wound up with the first place trophy, one of my most prized possessions now! To this day, I still can't believe that really happened. But it did. Yes, I worked my tail off all during that contest season and grew tremendously during that time. Public speaking is a LEARNED ART, not a gift from God to only fluent speakers. Toastmasters, like the rest of the general population, is composed of about 99% fluent speakers. But stutterers can participate too! And WIN contests! And have FUN doing it! We have a Toastmasters club here in Dallas dedicated to people who stutter, and we are well respected in our local Toastmasters District. (See for our club's website) In Toastmasters we learn "communication and leadership" and that drives the point home that "communication" and "fluency" are totally different concepts. Yes, I stuttered in that speech. But yes, I apparently communicated well. At least the judges thought so. So who am I to argue with them? <grin> I've been very active in Toastmasters for nearly 16 years and have achieved the rank of Distinguished Toastmaster, DTM, the highest educational rank in Toastmasters. Just like the National Stuttering Association, I owe a tremendous part of my life to Toastmasters. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Thanks for asking that question, Christy. I obviously enjoy talking about that time! Russ

Last changed: 09/12/05