Name: David Sotvedt
Toastmasters Award Level: CTM
Profession: Investment Management
Toastmasters Member since: 2000

I am a Vancouver born and raised guy who has lived here most of my life. Educated at UBC, I’ve been working in the financial services industry in various roles since 1993. In 2000 I joined a Toastmasters club in which I actively participated until the club closed its doors in 2009. In January 2013 I joined Vancouver’s Seymour Speakers Toastmasters Club – THE best morning Toastmasters club in the city for sure!!

Why did you join Toastmasters?

I joined Toastmasters because at the time (late 2000) I was starting in a new job which required me to do a lot of presentations at work functions, both to small groups (2-3 people) and larger ones (40+). I did some public speaking in university however I needed to definitely improve both my competence and confidence in public speaking.

What is your most memorable Toastmasters experience?

For me personally it was a recent (April 2016) speech I gave on the late entertainer, Dean Martin – I dressed up in a tuxedo and even sang “Blue Moon” at the club meeting – and amazingly no one complained about my singing! An awesome, fun, memorable experience!

Which of your skills have improved the most since joining?

I believe one personal skill that has improved for me since I joined Toastmasters is the ability to listen carefully to what people have to say as well as to better articulate my own thoughts, ideas or opinions in a speech (ok, that’s two skills, not one…two is better than one?!)

What are your top 3 tips for giving a successful speech?

  1. Thoroughly know your speech topic
  2. Watch your timing: in my experience, the first time around the speech is too long, so you’ll likely need to cut, cut, and cut out some stuff!
  3. Practice, Practice and Practice some more!

Why would you recommend joining a Toastmasters club?

I would recommend ANYBODY to join a Toastmasters club. Why? Because you can proceed through the various speech projects at your own pace; you will learn about yourself, and from others, your various strengths and areas for growth; Toastmasters is definitely a “safe place to be shy, nervous and even afraid” of public speaking; and, most of all, it’s a great place to make new friends and acquaintances – you’re all in it together!

David served on the club executive team as Treasurer during the 2014-15 year.

How did being part of the executive team contribute to your leadership skills?

Being part of the exec team made me appreciate the details and all the “behind the scenes” actions that must happen in order to make a successful club. I realized that by stepping up and taking on a leadership role, it enhanced my understanding of and appreciation for the Toastmasters organization and experience.

Why was being on the executive team important to you?

Being on the executive is important to me in that it’s a tangible way for me to “give back” to the club which has given me a lot over the past 3+ years, and also being actively involved with the exec allows me to have a major role in where we want to grow and develop the club in a positive way.