Regional public speaking contest comes to Kigali

Published by Mugabo Jean d’Amour
On 22 June 2017 saa 05:10
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East African Toastmasters are set to test their public speaking wit in the contest that will take place in Kigali on June 23 and 24, 2017.

The 3rd Best of Toastmasters East Africa (BOTEA) Conference will let East Africa experience the thrill of watching finest speakers compete for the title of BOTEA champion of public speaking.

The event is taking place at the Kigali Exhibition and Conference Village tomorrow and at Kigali Marriott Hotel on Saturday. The conference is comprised of a panel discussion, communal work “Umuganda”, a gala dinner that will feature a keynote speech by East Africa’s only Distinguished Toastmaster, Rozy Rana.

The BOTEA conference will open with a panel discussion with a theme, “Why Public Speaking Matters” on Friday starting at 5:30pm at Kigali Exhibition and Conference Village.

The speech contests will attract more than 35 contestants in their public speaking skills as well as their critical thinking ability. Each contestant will prepare two 5-7 minute speeches ahead of time and will present these to the audience in English on any topic of their choice.

Judges rate the contestants on the following criteria including speech content, effectiveness and originality, speech value and organization, audience response, speaker’s body language (gestures, style) and time management.

Joshua Tahinduka, winner of BOTEA 2016 and former president of 1Rwanda Toastmasters Club, says the contest is a good experience worth living and every contestant can win the crown.

"Becoming the East Africa’s champion of Public Speaking was the culmination of a dream I didn’t think was possible. Every contestant is capable of winning the crown and nothing is obvious, all one does is enjoy the moment and learn by doing," he says.

Caroline Namara, president of Rwanda Toastmasters club the club has weekly meetings that provide a nurturing space for members to prepare for challenges faced in contests and in their day-to-day activities.

The conference will attract Toastmasters from Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. It will provide all participants with a weekend break from work and mostly with the opportunity to connect with contestants and a diversity of individuals from all walks of life in the East African region. Admission is $30 (Rwf25,000).

The conference will also provide an opportune time to Toastmasters leaders to commence a journey that will see East Africa form a Toastmasters District. The District will have a responsibility of coordinating all Toastmasters activities in the region including membership growth, mentorship among other coordination activities.

The event is organized by Toastmasters International, a nonprofit educational organization that empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders.

Founded in 1924 and headquartered in California, USA, the organization’s membership exceeds 345,000 in more than 15,900 clubs in 142 countries.

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Mr Joshua Tahinduka (C) reacts after winning the Best of Toastmasters East Africa (BOTEA) contest in Nairobi last year