COVER STORY-Reigning Champion, Kay Terera on winning the coveted title and handing over the baton

In May of 2020, designer and artist, Kay Terera, from Division Z, beat nine other orators to take the top spot at the annual Southern Africa Championship of Public Speaking which was held online. I was delighted to catch up and speak to her, almost a year on, after her historic win.

Now that you are preparing to hand over the baton to a new champion, what tips and ideas would you like to share?

As a contestant it’s important to surround yourself with mentors and coaches that are going to propel you forward. Dedicate yourself to absorbing as much information about speech-writing and presentation mastery as possible, then put it into practice.

As one of my coaches says, “We don’t enter contests because we are great speakers. Rather, we become great speakers because we are courageous enough  to enter contests.” So give yourself a pat on the back for having the courage to take on this ambitious goal.

Most importantly, when you take to the stage the spotlight is on you, so don’t forget to be your authentic self and have fun! If you do that, you will shine every time!

Give us a review about your year as a champion.

Winning the Southern African Championship was a massive vote of confidence for me. It felt like validation for the work that I’d put into mastering my craft. Through it, I’ve made connections with people all over the world (especially since Toastmasters went virtual). I’ve had the privilege of being invited to host events, present keynote addresses and even provide paid masterclasses. This accolade has literally opened up a new world and an expanded opportunity to use my voice to touch people’s hearts and influence their minds.

What is the common misconception people have on public speakers?

A common myth about public speaking is that you are either born with the ‘gift of the gab’ or you are not. I am testament to the contrary. I am naturally an introvert but Toastmasters helped me find my voice! What I did not get through nature, I received through nurture. For that reason, I highly recommend Toastmasters as the place to nurture your communications skills.

In conclusion…….?

Being a competitive speaker has been an incredibly enriching and rewarding experience. The ups and downs of the journey have taught me to be committed to lifelong learning, equipped me with emotional intelligence and opened up opportunities that I might otherwise have missed out on. I’m grateful to District 74 for hosting exciting contests that push the boundaries of speechcraft for its members each year.