Talk Soon Staff Day Speech Showcase a Roaring Success

The second annual Talk Soon Speech Showcase took place on May 23rd as part of Wash U’s Staff Day events.

Troy DeArmitt, member of WUSTL Speaks and founder of the Talk Soon Speech Showcase, explained that “the staff day showcase had to happen. Too many good things were taking place in the weekly meetings to not do more to recognize them, to honor them. Simply, the achievements and the personal growth taking place in our members had to be properly celebrated.”

This celebration included five speeches, each of which had been delivered within the past year. From Toast of WU, Becky Jordan gave a talk called “Introverts”; Jenny Weber gave a talk called “Beyond Sparking Joy”; and Lizz Gunn gave a talk called “How to (Just Barely) Survive Giving a Wedding Toast.”

From WUSTL Speaks, Rebecca O’Laughlin gave a talk called “The Mystery of the Quoi”; and John Richards gave a talk called “The Friendliest Serial Killer.” The invited guest judges named John Richards’ talk the Speech of the Year, earning him $100 and the Talk Soon trophy.

After winning, John remarked, “I love that the event has become reoccurring and that even non-Toastmasters are talking about how excited they are for it to be part of their Staff Day experience. It is such a great way to showcase the benefit TM has on speakers.” All five speakers were later recognized by Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton during the Staff Day raffle and prize announcements.

In addition to the five speeches, Mary Clemens, of WUSTL Speaks, gave an impromptu speaking demonstration and Bella DeArmitt (Troy DeArmitt’s daughter) gave an interpretation of a TED Talk. Finally, Rosalind Early gave the talk that made her last year’s winner: “The Life of a Desperate Single.”

Jennifer Huck, of Toast of WU, helped organize the Staff Day event. “I love this showcase because it demonstrates the power of Toastmasters to enable individuals to personally grow in their communication, presentation, leadership and networking talent,” Huck said. “I have witnessed multiple WashU colleagues grow from being frightened at public speaking to being able to move an audience to thought, laughter or tears. This showcase brought all of those items and more to the floor: deep thought, joy, and fellowship.”