11 minutes | Apr 3rd 2015

Mark Brown Interview

What’s Mark Brown, winner of the 1995 World Championship of Public Speaking, talking about?  You’ll find out today – on the table. Today we're talking to Mark Brown, winner of the 1995 World Championship of Public Speaking.  Good morning, Mark. Mark L. Brown:  Good morning, Kim. Kim Krajci:  How are you today? MLB: I am feeling so great and I'm honored to be able to spend some time with you todya. KK:  Thank you.  Where are you right now? MLB:  I'm home in a little town called Lizella, Georgia, some two hours south of Atlanta, having returned last night at 1 a.m. from a week of speaking in Colorado. KK:  Colorado, and you're going to be in Cleveland. You must travel a lot. MLB:  Actually, I travel close to 100 days a year on the job because I am a full-time professional speaker at the moment, so yes, I do travel quite a bit. KK:  How long have you been in Toastmasters? MLB:  Wow, I've been in Toastmasters for about 22 years.  I became a member in the spring of 1993. KK:  And you won the world championship in 1995?  You must have come in with some pretty amazing skills. MLB:  Well, you know, I often get that question, but I think I was blessed and fortunate with some basic skills.  But I really appreciate the Toastmasters program.  I took to it right away and actually found myself in the World Championship in 1994 after being in only 14 or 15 months.  And then I went again in 95, on my second round.  I was able to win the World Championship.  It has been quite a ride for the last 20 years.  I can't believe it's been 20 years, but I tell people I did win in the previous millenium, and I have the old VHS  videotape to prove it. KK:  Technology has certainly changed. MLB: Indeed it has, yes. KK:  Looking back, have you seen the World Championship's type of speech has changed? MLB: Since I've competed back in 1994 and 95, one of the most significant changes, I think, has been the use of humor in Toastmasters' speeches to win contests.  I have found that most contestants do their best to incorporate humor.  They want you to think, to feel, to laugh, to have an emotional response and also a call to action - all in seven minutes.  The addition of humorous content is the most significant change I've seen since I first began to compete 21 years ago.   The other thing I think may be coming down the road is that there may be an increased use of props.  The most popular prop I've seen in Toastmasters speech contests has been a chair. It has been used for various reasons, in various ways, and used by contest winners as well.  I think with the advent of technology, I will not be surprised if, in the near future, we don't see Powerpoint or some other electronic visual aid being used in speech contests down the road. KK:  That's really interesting.  It presumes there's going to be availability of that sort of thing at the various levels of the contests.  That there will be a Powerpoint project at area, and at division and at district.  I don't know that we've got such things, but it's an interesting thing to think about. MLB:  The reason that I say that is I actually had a discussion about this, in a Facebook group recently, where it was raised by fellow Toastmasters, and they said, the consensus seemed to be that the way things are these days, it will not be a surprise.  I'm also a member of the National Speakers Association.  Quite recently, I've noticed several presenters using Powerpoint slides.  At Toastmasters conventions and at conferences, speakers, including keynote speakers or guest speakers come with a laptop and a remote control unit and they use slides.  And now, again, we're 21st century.  Projectors are getting smaller and smaller and smaller, and sometimes it's quite easy to use a small projector, a portable projector that one can carry oneself and use them in competition. Who knows?  It may be five years, it may be three.  I have no idea,