If you’d told me a year ago that, for fun, I would spend my Thursday evening travelling to Leeds to compete in a public speaking competition, I wouldn’t have believed it. And yet, somehow, that is exactly what happened last week.
This – in no small part – was thanks to our President, Sandra. She is hugely passionate about training public speaking and very keen to see Sheffield members winning wherever possible! As some of you may know I won the JCI Yorkshire Extempore (off the cuff public speaking) competition earlier in the year, so the pressure was on to bring another trophy back to Sheffield.
The train journey over was spent running through my speech – how the Olympics inspired a generation – and listening to James A and James O doing the same. There may also have been the odd offer to bribe the judges but Steven was having none of it!
We arrived and, as always, the Yorkshire welcome was amazing. It was easy to forget whilst catching up with members from Leeds, Barnsley and Bradford that we would soon have to steel ourselves for the competition.
I was fortunate enough to be able to go first which meant I could sit back with a cuppa and a cookie to enjoy the other speakers. This was the highlight for me. We often talk about the development opportunities in JCI but it’s not so often that we get to see the difference it makes. I attended JCI Presenter in March with James O and remember him moving nervously around, talking very quietly and generally looking a bit uncomfortable. What a change! He delivered a brilliant speech on active citizenship that kept the audience’s attention throughout.
The other speeches all showed just how far our members have come. After ten years in JCI, Michael from Leeds entered for the first time and had us laughing from start to finish. Ollie from Barnsley was typically insane – there are images from that speech we’ll never forget (no matter how hard we try!).
It was certainly not going to be an easy decision and after a very lengthy discussion the judges decided to allow the top three candidates to go through to the national round in Belfast. Which were in reverse order… Ollie, Michael and me! A fantastic end to the night for Sheffield but in true JCI Yorkshire style, everyone joined us for a celebratory drink after.
So if you’re going over to the UK convention, I really do recommend popping in on the Friday to see JCI members doing what they do best: learning by doing.
Categorised in: Training
This post was written by makedo