Bartholomew takes home first place speech contest award

CADILLAC — Tom Bartholomew, of Bear Lake, won first place on Feb. 23 in the Toastmasters Area 20 International Speech Contest held in Cadillac.


Stories of inspiration and transformation typically rank high in these contests. Bartholomew’s was no exception. His speech, entitled, “You Can Always Juggle Rocks” was spoken with passion and interlaced with humor, creating a highly engaging experience for his audience.

One of the key speaking techniques stressed in Toastmasters International is connecting with the audience. Bartholomew proved to be an expert in the field, leaning in to his audience with an array of keenly refined skills including vocal expertise, superb facial expressions and a skillful use of props.

When asked about his decision to participate in the contest, Bartholomew said, “I thought it would be a great way to share my message with a lot of people.”

He said winning the contest was ‘exhilarating’ and he’s excited to see how far he can go.

Bartholomew will now move on to the Toastmasters International Speech Contest, which initially begins with thousands of contestants. First, however, he and other first and second place contestants must compete with dozens of other finalists in Michigan and win at Division, then District levels.

Two second place contest winners also hail from Northern Michigan. Matthew French, of Traverse City, took home the second place award in the International Speech Contest with his speech entitled, “Boys of Summer.”

Mike Conlon, also of Traverse City, won the second place award for his participation in the Speech Evaluation Contest. In this contest, speech evaluators listen and watch attentively while a speech is given. They evaluate and conduct a written and verbal critique of the speech based on specific criteria to help the speaker refine their skills.

Area 20 consists of four clubs in the north and eastern regions of Michigan.

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