Story of love wins speaker world championship

Mr Manoj Vasudevan's speech on what it takes to make a marriage work won the judges over.
Mr Manoj Vasudevan's speech on what it takes to make a marriage work won the judges over.

Pull less, bend more, professional speaker Manoj Vasudevan told a rapt audience at the finals of the world's largest public-speaking competition, about what it takes to make a marriage work.

"When I first met my wife, I imagined that we were going to stay together forever," he said, "but when we started marriage, we had differences. We were arguing about the big things, the small things, and sometimes nothing."

Turning to his mother for advice, he was told: "You fall in love with the Cupid's arrow, but to stay in love, you need to be like the Cupid's bow, and learn to compromise."

His message of compromise and unity, told from his own experience, won over the judges to bag him gold at the competition, held in Vancouver, Canada.

It meant Singapore has won the Toastmasters International World Championship of Public Speaking two years in a row. Last year, Darren Tay, 28, won the championship in Washington DC.

The competition sees more than 30,000 contestants from 142 countries. The finals required speakers to give a five- to seven-minute prepared speech on a topic of their choice. They were judged on delivery, content and language.

The permanent resident, an engineer by training, said he was not a natural speaker and first started practising public speaking in 2009. He took on emcee jobs and did stand-up comedy to train himself.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 28, 2017, with the headline 'Story of love wins speaker world championship'. Print Edition | Subscribe