Chicago Resident Advances to Semifinals of the World’s Largest Speech Contest

Barry B. Mixon rises to the top of a pool of 30,000 Toastmasters contestants
Barry Mixon PR
Barry Mixon PR
July 23, 2012 - PRLog -- Barry B. Mixon, of Chicago, IL, rose above more than 150 local participants to win the District level of the Toastmasters International Speech Contest, representing Cook, DuPage, Lake, and McHenry counties.  Mixon’s win advances him to the semifinal rounds of the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking, which will be held in Orlando, Florida on Thursday, August 16, 2012.

Mixon, a member of Toast of Algonquin club in Algonquin, IL won the hearts of the audience and judges alike with his speech,”In the Winter of 1992.” The speech touched on the problem of homelessness.    “No matter how many times you see a person or how long you work with someone, you never really get to know them until you know their story,” says Mixon.  

Asked for speaking tips, Mixon said: “There are two essential keys to connecting with an audience.  First, whatever you have to say to an audience, if you deliver it as a story, you will touch the audience.  When you share a good story, it becomes memorable, will call a person to action, and most importantly, a good story will make you want to share it with someone else; the second key is to know and understand the ‘Seven Elements of Storytelling.’  Understanding the power of storytelling and using the elements of telling a good story not only gives you the ability to give a speech but a speech that can change the world.”  

Eighty-six district-level winners from around the world advanced to the semifinal round after a six month process of elimination through Club, Area and District speech competitions. The contestants’ speeches were judged on content, organization, gestures and style.

“I am looking forward to competing in Orlando.  On August 16th, I get to take something that I created - an alchemy of all the things that I have experienced in my life and learned in Toastmasters -- and literally present it to the world”, says Mixon.   Mixon is self-employed and the owner of The Gem Hunter Gemological and Storytelling Services, Inc. in Chicago, IL.  He joined Toastmasters in 2009 to become a better speaker and leader at work and in the community.  

The Toastmasters International Speech Contest is the world’s largest speech contest, involving 30,000 participants in 116 countries. It concludes at the organization’s 2012 International Convention, held August 15 -18, in Orlando, Florida, at the Hilton Bonnet Creek Resort. Nine finalists will emerge from the semifinals, and they will compete in the finals on Saturday, August 18th for the coveted title of Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking.

To contact Barry Mixon, or learn more about the contest or Toastmasters club membership, contact District 30 Public Relations Officer, Gena Crump.  Follow Toastmasters International on Twitter @Toastmasters (#TIConv12).

About District 30
District 30 is one of 86 districts, which comprises more than 225 corporate and community clubs in the Chicagoland area.   To learn more about District 30, please visit:

About Toastmasters International
Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. Founded in October 1924, the organization currently has more than 270,000 members in 13,000 clubs in 116 countries. Each week, Toastmasters helps more than a quarter million people of every ethnicity, education and profession build their competence in communication so they can gain the confidence to lead others. For information about local Toastmasters clubs, please visit

Source:District 30 Toastmasters International
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