Monday, April 8, 2013

National Speech Champions!

Bradley University won the national intercollegiate public speaking championship at the American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament! Western Kentucky University and George Mason University were second and third respectively.

What a pleasure it was to judge this contest. I saw some of the most talented and inspiring performances I have ever witnessed.One young man in particular, deserves mention. His name is Jacoby Cochran and he was crowned as national champion in the Individual Sweepstakes. I was blessed to have judged him in several speaking events and he is one of the best young speakers I have ever seen in the thousands of college students I have witnessed in my career.

I saw him in the Quarter-Final round in Persuasive Speaking and he easily was my choice as the best of the six speeches in the round. His speech focused on the failure of the U.S. government to prosecute those responsible for the fiscal crisis we faced five years ago. His passion, research, structure and writing were all extraordinary. I fully expect he will go on to great things in his career. I don't know what his career plans are but this young man could be a political force if he chose that route.

I also had the pleasure of judging him in the Final round of Informative Speaking. In that event he spoke about a program called STRIVE. It is a "virtual vaccination" for combat-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in use by the federal government. The program uses computer simulations like those used for pilots and astronauts to put soldiers through the horrors of combat BEFORE they experience the real thing. With impressive results, it will protect soldiers from the post-war psychological struggles that have led to so many social problems and suicides. It will identify those at the highest risk for problems BEFORE the damage is done and "vaccinate" them from the tragic psychological consequences of war. The program sounds quite promising and the speech itself was another amazing effort by Mr.Cochran.

So remember the name of this young man. I would bet money he will make his mark on our world before he is done!

I will try to write some more thoughts on the contest when I have more time. If you would like to see the results they can be found at Speechwire.com and click on the AFA-NIET link.

For now, I need to get some rest before my three and a half hour drive to the Kansas City airport and flight back to New Jersey.

Until then, be well and speak well. And, as always, Thanks for reading.

For more information about Dan Leyes and his consulting services visit Semiosphere Consulting.