Tania Ehman

Sooke Toastmaster takes on the world

Tania Ehman challenges for international speech honours

Tania Ehman is looking to talk her way into a world championship.

The Sooke woman will compete this week in the semifinals for the Toastmasters International Speech Contest and, if she succeeds there, also the World Championship of Public Speaking.

“Not many people get this opportunity and I take it very seriously,” says Ehman, 52.

“I approach my speeches with a reverence. I feel very humbled by the opportunity to have thousands of people there giving me seven minutes of their life, and I don’t want to waste a second.”

Going into the semifinals and final, which will be held in Washington, D.C. from Aug. 18 to 20, are 96 Toastmasters from around the world, each of them winning the top spot for their district.

They’re what remains of more than 30,000 participants from 126 countries, according to Toastmasters International.

Ehman’s one of only eight Canadians left in the competition and she says, “It’s a little overwhelming.”

For the semifinals, Ehman will write a new talk, although she has the opportunity to use the same speech she gave to win the district championship. She must write a second speech for the final.

“They’re both motivational. My goal is to move into a career of motivational speaking. My speeches are definitely rooted in motivation to be a better person.”

Each talk is 4½ to 7½ minutes long, but, says Ehman, can take well over 100 hours to write, refine and practise.

She will speak to more than 1,000 Toastmasters delegates at the Washington convention.

Ehman joined Sooke Harbour Toastmasters Club 2½ years ago to start the pathway for a new career in motivational speaking.

“Tania is definitely very determined to achieve her goals,” said Suzanne Viau, president of Sooke Harbour Toastmasters Club.

“I think her chances in Washington are very good, either way we’re very excited to be there.”

More information on the Sooke Harbour Toastmasters Club can be found here.