District 78's own David Otey will compete in the semifinals of the World Championship of Public Speaking this August at the 2018 Toastmasters International Convention in Chicago.
Otey earned his place in the semifinals by winning 1st place in the International Speech competition at the District 78 Spring Convention this past April in Rapid City, SD.
"I have enjoyed the growth opportunities afforded by Toastmasters, including the opportunity to hone my skills by competing," Otey says.
In his first attempt at the International Speech Contest in 2008, he was disqualified for going over time at his club contest and vowed never to do that again. In 2009, he advanced further, winning the District 78 contest in Deadwood and taking third place at the Region IV convention in Winnipeg.
This summer, Otey will get his first crack at competing in the semifinals at the Toastmasters International Convention. There will be ten semifinal rounds on Thursday, 23 August. Otey will compete in Semifinal 9 against speakers from the US and Canada, and also Europe and Japan.
The winners of each of the ten semifinal rounds will go on to compete for the coveted title "World Champion of Public Speaking" in the final round on Saturday, 25 August. In this round, each finalist must present a speech they have not used in competition before.
"I credit my time in Toastmasters with helping me make the leap out of broadcasting and into training and public speaking full-time," Otey says.
About 13 years ago, Otey's career in broadcast engineering led to an opportunity to lead a national, industry-wide training effort in support of a new technology being rolled out to about a thousand TV broadcasters. When he was recruited to lead it in 2005, he had to go overnight from being the subject-matter expert to being a training expert as well.
Noting that he was unprepared for this role, Otey says he was fortunate that someone steered him to Toastmasters. He joined his first club, Littleton Toastmasters, in Colorado.
His wife, Susan, also underwent a career change, becoming an ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church. Her appointments to serve churches in Montana led them first to Billings, where he joined Sunrisers in 2007 and later added Trailhead Toastmasters. In 2014, he joined Speakeasy, his current club, located in Great Falls.
Otey has served as President of Sunrisers and Speakeasy and Vice President Education of Trailhead. In his time in Toastmasters, he has earned Advanced Communicator Silver and Advanced Leader Bronze designations.
In October 2017, Otey published The Speaker’s Quick Guide to Telling Better Stories, the first in what will be a series of Speaker’s Quick Guide titles. Being able to tell stories well is an essential skill for a speaker that he started studying seriously after hearing Craig Valentine, the 1999 World Champion of Public Speaking.
Otey's passion now is helping scientists and engineers tell the story of their work. With his engineering background, he finds that he relates well to those audiences.