Little Moments – A Toastmasters Speech Contest Speech

Hey everyone.

Here’s my Toastmasters Speech Contest Speech from this year. Some of you have probably already seen a version of this one. If that’s the case: oh well. I did this one two years ago and lost in Round 3, but I always felt like there was MORE to it than what I was doing. So I tried it again this year and I feel like I got close enough to what I felt the speech was supposed to be that I can put this one to bed.

I didn’t win this year. I didn’t even place. I kinda felt that was going to be the case, because the message is kinda Hallmark-y, and a lot of the staging is a bit over the top. I can also see LOTS of ways to improve on future speeches, and that’s what I hope for when I go into a contest: to get better.

Fun notes:
1) I planned to do the speech in present tense but, when I started, accidentally slipped into past tense, so I had to edit present vs past on the fly as I was going. That keeps you on your toes.

2) I lost my place there for a moment right before I go over to yell at Eliott. Nothing stops your heart like being on stage in front of a few hundred accomplished speakers, with your brain going: “Holy ****. I can’t remember what the hell I’m supposed to say next.”

3) I need to lose weight. GOOD LORD.

I may or may not take a year off in 2020. I still haven’t decided. At any rate, making it to District three times in four years ain’t too shabby, especially since I won District once and placed third in the semis. It would have been nice to go all the way this year, but, as I am fond of saying about some of my favorite sports teams: He who loses and walks away can lose again another day.

There’s always next year!

Keep Pushing

I haven’t said anything in this space, but I applied to be a TEDx presenter a few months back. And, wonder of wonders, they didn’t reject me outright!

This would be the first time out of about nine or ten applications that I got a callback for an interview. I spoke with one of the organizers a few weeks ago, did some video recordings, and the people who make the decisions are RIGHT THIS VERY MOMENT working toward putting together that final list.

I’d love it if I could be on that stage (sometime in March), but I’m not holding my breath. These things are hard to get to, and there are a TON of good speakers out there, vying for the same spot. One of them, my good friend Michael Nunes (who pops up in my debate posts occasionally … under a different name, of course), is hoping to get the call as well.

We’ll see what happens.

It’s just a good feeling when you’ve butted your head against what feels like a brick wall for a long time and then, suddenly, there is a crack. Even if I don’t make this one, the fact that I got to interview makes me want to keep pushing.

Keep pushing at your brick walls, no matter how string they may seem. If we all keep at it, eventually, we’ll knock them down.

The Four Horsemen Podcast

Back in August, I spoke at the Athanatos Confernece. the whole point of that was so my good friends Dan Flecknoe, Anthony Horvath, Tim Austin and I could do onstage what we’ve been doing online for two decades now: talk about religion, politics, and social issues. Tim wasn’t able to make it, but Dan, Tony, and I had a great time.

Since then, we’ve been talking about doing something similar, except online. We’re still early in the planning stages, but it seems like we might be moving toward putting together a podcast of the four of us. I’m in Florida, Dan is in the UK, Tony is in Wisconsin, and Tim is in Australia, so scheduling might be tough. Bit it sounds like fun to us.

Stay tuned. You never know what might be coming your way.

Discussions and Friendship

I spoke at the Athanatos Christian Arts Festival in Wisconsin over the weekend, and we had a great time. I got to meet some friends I’ve known only through social media – friends like Joe Courtemanche and Jamie Greening – and I finally got to meet Dan Flecknoe in person. Dan and I, with Tony Horvath, have been debating/discussing God and faith and other matter for going on two decades now. Dan, an Atheist, and I, a Christian, are working on a book together on the subject, and the three of us met on stage for four debates/discussions, each of which was an hour and a half.

I say “discussion” in addition to “debating,” because what stands for debate these days amounts largely to two or three people yelling bad slogans at each other on Facebook or Twitter or, if we’re REALLY unlucky, up close and in person. With placards. And maybe weapons, too.

It’s different with us, though. We disagree, sometimes quite strenuously, but we remain friends. I think the difference is we are actually interested not only in WHAT the other side thinks, by WHY they think it as well. Being friends for so long also gives us the luxury of being able to seriously question our own assumptions and ideas. That’s where the real fun starts: learning to look at something.

The big win for me out of all of this was showing people that you can disagree about something and still have respect for each other when you’re finished. Respect is something sorely lacking in today’s world.

Come See Me At AthanatosFest 2018


Hey there, people. I’ll be sharing the stage with my friends: Dr Anthony Horvath, Daniel Flecknoe, and Tim Austin in a series of debates on religion, spirituality, politics, social issues, and more at the Christian Arts and Apologetics festival ATHANATOSFEST in Wisconsin in August. I hope to see you there!

Speech Contesting: The Farce Awakens

After months of hard work, I accomplished a small goal for this year. I won the District 84 Toastmasters International Speech contest. This is round four out of six. The whole thing starts in February with over 30,000 competitors in 15K+ clubs in over 100 countries worldwide. In August, I will represent central and northern Florida (not including the panhandle) in Round5 – the semi-finals – at the 2016 Toastmasters International Convention in Washington, DC.

I’ve never made it this far. I am equal parts stoked and terrified. I’m just a simple Analytics Nerd who sits in a cube all day, and I’ll likely compete against real, honest-to-Pete professional speakers who regularly speak in front of hundreds or thousands of people.

The contest is in August. Wish me luck!