Friday, January 24 was a special day for the ESU of Estonia as we were able to meet over 70 students from all over the country for a seminar on public speaking and the National Public Speaking Competition.
The audience received advice and guidance from a number of speakers tied to public speaking and the ESU in different ways. HM Ambassador Chris Holtby provided some encouraging words and stressed the importance of public speaking in all walks of life. Phillip Marsdale, the Director of ILS Europe, introduced newly created learning resources for the NPSC, complete with videos and exercises, available for free here (follow the instructions on our Facebook page for access). As the Chairman of the ESU of Estonia and the Convenor of the upcoming competition, Zinaida Jevgrafova introduced the organization and its central annual event, the NPSC, in detail. Steven Wilson from Junior Chamber International Scotland talked briefly about the organization and went over the basics of public speaking. Emmet Tuohy, Research Fellow at International Center for Defense Studies and debate champion at Georgetown University, shared his perspective on what makes a successful speech. Finally, two former NPSC contestants – Triinu Lepp, runner-up of the first Estonian NPSC in 2009 and current Secretary of the ESU, and Deivi Õis, winner of the NPSC 2013 and finalist at the IPSC 2013 – shared their experiences at the national and international finals of the competition and gave advice to future contestants.
After the speakers had had their say, the students were able to practice impromptu speech in small groups with help and feedback from Zinaida Jevgrafova, Emmet Tuohy, and Marje Liigus.
We extend our gratitude to all guests and speakers for coming out as well as to our member Marje Liigus and Jakob Westholm School for hosting the seminar. We sincerely hope to see all Friday’s participants and more at the National Public Speaking Competition on March 1. We are especially happy to have seen many students from schools that have registered for the competition for the very first time and are hopeful that their enthusiasm and interest will spread knowledge of the NPSC even further.