Greg Williams, legislative liaison at Headquarters, Air Force Space Command, poses with his Toastmasters International District 26 first place trophy at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, May 9. 

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Greg Williams, legislative liaison at Headquarters, Air Force Space Command, won first place in the District 26 Toastmasters International competition in Denver, May 4, 2019.

Toastmasters International, an organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a network of clubs worldwide, hosts an international speech contest every spring for members to participate and compete. Headquartered in Englewood, outside of Denver, the group has been in existence since 1924, and has more than 357,000 members in over 143 countries.

Williams has won four consecutive Toastmasters competitions this year at the club, area, division, and now district levels with his speech titled, “Yes, You Can.”

“My speech is about personal life stories that involve overcoming physical limitations and personal disbeliefs,” said Williams. “For example, I talk about a time when I was learning to serve a tennis ball. I didn’t think I could serve the ball because of my physical limitation. My tennis instructor, who had half of a left arm, showed me that if he could serve and play, then I could also.”

As a member of Toastmasters for the last 30 years, Williams is no rookie to the thrill of competing.

“I love being challenged by the other strong contestants, learning from them and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone,” said Williams. “I am trying to improve my speech, so it will become the best speech that I can deliver. Winning is the best part, though!”

Williams is an active member of the Pikes Peak Toastmasters Club, and credits his participation in Toastmasters for instilling confidence and organization into his public speaking skills in both personal and professional spheres.

“In my personal life, when I am faced with a challenge or a goal that I have set, I now realize that I have the mental capacity, determination and resolve to achieve almost any goal that I want to accomplish,” said Williams. “Because of my Toastmasters background, I now have greater confidence and organization in my briefings at work, and I’m able to present information in a way that is better received by the audience.”

Williams awaits notification as to whether he will be one of the semi-finalists to compete at the World Championships of Public Speaking at the 88th Annual Toastmasters International Convention in Denver this August.

While Peterson AFB hosts Toastmasters Club 5316, HQ, AFSPC is also set to launch its own club in August.

“Toastmasters is known for sharpening public speaking skills, but it’s so much more than that,” said Rosie Suerdieck, historian at HQ, AFSPC and former president of Peterson Toastmasters Club 5316. “Toastmasters teaches me leadership, the importance of teamwork, the need for collaboration through active listening, and how to communicate in ways that create a true sense of impact.”

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