JCI European Public Speaking Championships

Article Posted by Valerie Van Kemenade
19th May 2019

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Recently I attended the JCI European Conference 2019 in Lyon together with other delegates from JCI Scotland. This was my second European Conference and very different than the first one. Mostly because this time I decided to take on the challenge to compete in the European Public Speaking Championships.

The first challenge came with the topics. They were typical ‘JCI’ topics and not topics I would usually choose to talk about. Together with help from other members I managed to find an angle to talk about both the official topic and topics I am passionate about such as equality.

During the preliminary round there were 10 contestants and I was the third speaker which luckily meant I didn’t have to wait too long. We weren’t allowed to watch the other contestants and therefore I could not tell at all how I had done. We were all awaiting our turn together outside in the hallway. Although we were all focussed on our speeches this was also a nice moment to get to know JCI members from other European countries. Around lunch time we received an email to say who made it through to the final and I was delighted to see my name there!

There were only 3 contestants in the final and we were told that the level was very high this year, no pressure…! It felt great to represent JCI Scotland during something I love to do, public speaking, and it was great to see so many delegates there to support me. It was a great learning experience to speak in front of a big room where all eyes are on you, in front of judges and in front of people from many different countries. This was something I had to keep in mind whilst speaking as I tend to speak very fast and for most people in the room, and the judges, English wasn’t their first language.

Unfortunately, I didn’t win this time but I am very proud of making it to the top 3. It showed me the opportunities there are in JCI and how much confidence I had gained and what I have learned from local JCI training events. I had a great time competing in the European Public Speaking Championships and would do it again without a doubt!