The Corporate Speaking Challenge 2015 saw Stephen Edun take first place and presented with the winning trophy. We caught up with Stephen shortly after his winning speech to see what tips he had that he could share with other speakers.
Stephen describes himself as the underdog who never gives up; fortunately his determination paid off after winning first place in this year’s Corporate Speaking Challenge.
A once unconfident public speaker, during his 20’s Stephen’s confidence flourished during his MBA through practicing his public speaking and presenting in front of his peers. Practising a mentality of not allowing people’s judgement to affect him, his confidence grew after each speech he made.
Stephens’s public speaking skills have helped his career as a freelance finance director, helping him to get his ideas across and influence the people he works with; his skills have also helped when pitching to new clients.
Stephen’s top tips on the skills needed to be a good speaker include always keeping the speech relevant to your audience. He explains that a good structure is necessary and presenting the speech as you would do to a friend, acting in a way as if you’ve known the audience for years and to not sounding like a preacher.
For Stephen, an engaging speech involves good story telling and original material, shying away from the normal case studies and quotes that everyone has heard before; he explains that some energy and a few jokes always go down well too.
Stephen believes that high energy is a contributing factor to an engaging speech and interestingly he says he gets some of his energy from his nerves. He feels that a little bit of nerves is good as, when performing, that energy engages the audience, making the speech sound more like it is being presented for the first time, rather than already 20 times before.
For Stephen preparing for a public speaking engagement involves constant work on his material and his presentation technique. Stephen likes to practice by rehearsing his speech in front of an audience, gaining their feedback and taking on board their recommendations.
Stephen entered the competition because he is a self-acclaimed competitive person and wanted to compete against the best public speakers. Stephen felt that the Corporate Speaking Challenge was a great opportunity to learn as well as being a reminder to all he has achieved. Telling stories of some of the challenges that he has faced and being able to share his stories on such a platform helps him to stay motivated and focussed.
Participating in this years’ Corporate Speaking Challenge has taught Stephen to refine his material right down to the very key elements, which in turn has helped him to create what he feels is the best speech he has come up with to date.
Having entered the Corporate Speaking Challenge last year and come second, Stephen appreciates his victory all the more this year. He has stated that it is a great feeling to win second time round as many speakers have been placed and try to come back and win it. Stephen also believes that failure can be seen as a positive as “you learn from your failures and build on your successes”. It is the biggest achievement in Stephen’s public speaking career so far and this is a success that he wants to build on.
Stephen felt that the competition was a first class event and was very well organised. With multiple judges of a high standard, different heats and a different venue for the final, Stephan felt that overall this was a great event.