In Spring this year, Enna Khan, President of Kings Speakers entered the international club contest and successfully made it to Divisional contest level.
Here’s a 60 second interview to find out her thoughts on the contest experience:
Why did you join the contest?
When I first entered a humorous contest in 2018, I was disqualified due to my speech being too short. I was mortified! One piece of constant feedback I have received from evaluations is that I conclude my speeches too soon and I run off stage. The contest was an opportunity to challenge myself on that feedback and ultimately not be disqualified!
What preparation did you do for the contest?
I had a burning desire to write about race and my upbringing. I wrote my speech just capturing my thoughts and then I refined it when I go into practice to make it flow. I then practice and practice as much as I can, like in my lunch breaks and walking in the park! I shared my speech with Graeme Bass who has been at contest level and I videoed myself and shared it with others for their opinions. I think it is useful to listen to feedback and use it to do what feels natural for you. I didn’t want my speech to be too theatrical, I wanted it to be an authentic.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about the contest?
I would say go for it because I promise you will come out stronger. The whole experience is fun and a growing process. I did have a “wobbly” before the Divisional contest where I questioned whether I was good enough but my Mentor, Paul Mitchell encouraged me that I was. The support was amazing, even people from other clubs gave me feedback! The great thing about participating in a contest is that it challenges you to be a better speaker and go out of your comfort zone which we always talk about at Kings Speakers.
What was contest day like?
In the morning, I rehearsed in my garden because that it’s a large open space that I could walk practice in. I got to the venue early, to rehearse again and get familiar with the space. I was very nervous but getting to know the space and the seating area helps. The contest began and I waited outside the room until my turn! I could hear rapturous applauses and the nerves built up again as I was waiting! When it was my turn, I did my best and I went for it. People are always supportive in the crowd and it helps to see friendly familiar faces like Brian Skelton, one of our members. I didn’t place in the contest but I was so proud that I did it and I feel much more confident in my communication.
Will you enter another contest?
I will definitely enter another contest and I recommend other people to experience it. Contests are a massive opportunity to meet people from other clubs and learn from them. It does take effort to join a contest but the more you give, the more you’ll receive in terms of speaking tips, confidence and experience. I believe it is a great opportunity to grow, and achieve better public speaking and which is the reason we go to Toastmasters. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain.