At the end of the month, our project manager, Laura Rebbe, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, will be competing in a ‘District Speech Contest’ as part of a Toastmasters District 30 Spring Conference being held at the Skokie Holiday Inn on April 28th and 29th. Laura won a place in this competition from a Toastmasters Division C ‘Table Topics’ Speech Contest she won on March 22nd, which was held at Northern Trust Bank’s Chicago offices at 180 W. Madison.
Photo taken by Epstein's Monika Ciesielska
The Toastmasters ‘Table Topics’ Speech Contest that Laura won consists of each contestant being asked the same question, a question that the participants have no prior knowledge. The contestant is then given a few moments to think and then for one to two and half minutes gives a speech on that topic. The purpose of this ‘Table Topics’ format is to exercise a contestants ‘extemporaneous speaking abilities,’ and their ability to formulate a complete and clear idea with an opening, body and conclusion in a very short amount of time. An ability that anyone involved in the AEC industry understands is a critical skill set considering the numerous times we are asked by clients, vendors, consultants and colleagues to speak about industry/project topics during meetings and/or interviews. In a nutshell, being able to think on your feet, as Laura demonstrated in her contest, is essential to business as well.
If you are curious the question Laura was given during her contest was, ‘What legacy would you like to leave?’ Laura told us her response could be summarized thusly, ‘I told the audience a story about my husband’s grandfather who passed away this past October. As a farmer who lived in a small community his entire 91 year life, society would not consider him a great man. However, at his funeral I met so many people whose lives he had touched through his kind words and generosity that it changed my understanding of what a great man is.’
Lastly, the April 28th and 29th ‘Contest’ will also follow the ‘Table Topic’ format and involves winners from Toastmaster District 30, which encompasses eight Divisions covering the entire Chicagoland Area. And, this ‘District Speech Contest’ is the highest level of competition for this particular event.
Best of luck Laura – your Epstein family is proud of you and, of course, pulling for you!