In a presentation lasting just 420 seconds--and embellished by a brief riff of the Frank Sinatra classic "I Did It My Way"--Hopkins MBA student Craig A. Valentine captured the world championship of public speaking at the recent Chicago convention of Toastmasters International.
Valentine, now nearing completion of studies in the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education, was one of nine finalists, each representing one of the regions from 68 countries around the world in which Toastmasters International operates 8,500 clubs. He delivered a rousing seven-minute talk titled "A Key to Fulfillment" to an audience of some 2,000 members of the 75-year-old public speaking organization, which is headquartered in Mission Viejo, Calif.
In the speech, he urged people "to take a few minutes of silent time every day to get in touch with themselves and decide where they want to go in life," says Valentine, 28, a product manager for Community of Science, Inc., an organization that helps find funding for scientific researchers.
Peter Petersen, one of Valentine's professors, says, "I find that the public speaking part [of a business career] is so important. If you can be relaxed and deliver your message effectively, it is a key to success."
Valentine received a hefty, diamond-shaped crystal trophy that "looks like a huge Grammy Award" and spent a couple of hours signing autographs for the clearly wowed members of the audience.
A full-time career in public speaking is "absolutely"
something he is considering once he gets his MBA. He already does
public speaking part time, addressing youth groups such as the
Maryland Independent Living Program operated by the state
Department of Human Resources. Recently he addressed a group of
some 250 youngsters, aged 16 to 21, at a retreat at St. Mary's
College, speaking to them about such "employment readiness"
skills as preparing for job interviews.