District 96 District International Speech Contest Winner 2020 - Scott Hayward

When thinking about many of our long term, polished Speakers, and Inspirational Leaders, we can always think of Scott Hayward, member of the Blue Heron Toastmasters, and Top Story Advanced Toastmasters, and now he is the District 96 District International Speech Contest winner for 2020.

The District International Speech Contest was held in May 2020, via Zoom, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I had the opportunity to reach out to Scott about his winning speech, and he provided me with some wonderful feedback about the process of writing and preparing his speech, and thought it would give you some ideas for your own speeches.

The title of Scott's speech is "A Kindergartner's Guide for Grownups Seeking Spectacular Success", and Scott says that the speech was a bit unusual because the first and last quarters were from the perspective of his five-year old self. He wanted the title to be a little unusual and reflect that voice, hopefully to be a bit funny, and he liked the alliteration of the words.

The opening story of the speech had been rolling around in his Scott's head for some time, as he came up with pieces of the speech in the Fall, but really wrote the first draft a few weeks before the Club Contest. He says he doesn't practice speeches out loud or as often as many speakers probably do, as he likes to walk through them in his head a lot, picturing himself in front of an audience and imagining how he'll change his voice, pause, and use his body. He finds this just as effective and people don't report him to Skytrain security :O)

This was a completely new speech for Scott to prepare, and he always keeps a list of future speech topics. He adds to the list when an idea comes up, or he thinks of a story that he can add to one on the list already. There is always one or two speeches on his list which are really special topics, and the contest speech came from one of those.

The inspiration for the speech really came last year when he was leaving his job. What surprised him was the fact that he didn't regret quitting the only full-time job he had since University. He really misses the people he worked with, but was long overdue for a change and had known this for a very long time. Lots of people out there might be going through the same thing, accepting the status quo and staying at the same job because it's stable instead of pursuing something different or better.

Scott's goal of the speech was to encourage people to be open to taking risks in life. They won't all work out, but he didn't want to grow old wondering what could have been. Leaving his job didn't create the anxiety that he expected. It was the right decision, long overdue, and it brought a sense of calm and purpose.

On a personal note... the stories in the speech were true. He did drop two 3-quart jugs of milk on his front porch when he was 5 years old to see what would happen, and his mom was talking to a neighbour in the driveway. He also left his job of 21 years last summer (2019).

As an aside, he eventually did admit to his mom that he dropped the milk on purpose to see what would happen. She wasn't angry and didn't send him to his room. Then again, he told her over a glass of wine at a family dinner 25 years later. She remembered the incident, and we had a good laugh over it. :O)

Scott's biggest overall lesson from this experience has been how Toastmasters supports each other. It felt like he had a team of coaches and fans from Blue Heron Toastmasters, even people he competed against were supportive. He can point to at least a half a dozen improvements in the speech and say exactly who suggested a change to bring to it. He is very grateful for all of the support.

Overall, the speech process and experience reminds Scott Hayward that being a District Champion comes with a responsibility to share what he has learned with the next generation of speakers, just as so many people share generously with him.