An Aberdeen man who won the international speech contest for the UK and Ireland will now go on to compete in Europe, with hopes to become the world’s best speaker.
Kyle Murtagh was awarded the accolade from Toastmasters, an organisation dedicated to helping people from all walks of life become more confident speakers, communicators and leaders.
Winning first place means he is regarded as the best speaker amongst 4,000 members from 200 Toastmaster clubs across the UK and Ireland.
Mr Murtagh, originally from Aberdeen, joined the club in 2017 while he was a student in Glasgow and has been competing ever since.
He said: “I was studying psychology at Strathclyde, but I figured out that I didn’t want to do psychology so that opened up another problem of ‘what am I going to do when I graduate?'”
Determined not to give up and to find out what he truly wanted to do in life Mr Murtagh began trying different things, including joining a speaking club.
“Of course I was afraid, I was terrified at first. Eventually I started to get into it and I started to realise the benefits it has, not only in terms of learning how to speak better but with confidence in other areas of your life too.” He explained.
Toastmasters is the largest public speaking organisation and Mr Murtagh joined to improve his presentation skills and achieve his new goal of becoming a professional speaker.
In 2018 at the age of 22, he started his own business called Confidence by Design. Through this he helps companies and individuals improve their own presentation skills in business environments.
Now, the 25-year-old still competes in the Toastmaster competitions, using it as a tool to continue developing and improving.
One step closer to goal of becoming world champion
It was announced that he had won the UK and Ireland round on May 22 and that he will be competing against the other champions in Europe in the quarter finals.
He said: “It was very satisfying and I was very pleased with myself. It is the furthest I have got so far.”
After entering numerous competitions and progressing a step ahead each time Mr Murtagh explained that it was down to determination and commitment.
“If it doesn’t work out the first time you don’t just give up do you? You’ve got to keep going, and try find a solution and learn from what went wrong. That’s another reason I entered these contests, because it is the fastest way to progress, you’ll learn so much from competing against others and being judged and feeling the pressure and all of these great things.”
His speech, an insightful look at dyslexia, entitled You Can Decide was recorded and will be judged alongside speeches made by the other champions in the quarter finals.
This round will be a behind the doors contest where two out of eight will be chosen to go through to the semi-finals, which will be held live in August.
Mr Murtagh said: “I’m just waiting for an email to hear if I get through or not, it’s July when we’ll find out. It’s a long time but you’ve just sort of got to prepare for the best really, because you’ve got to do a different speech in the semi-finals so I’m working on that now.”
The young Aberdonian, who still lives in Glasgow, has said that he will keep competing and that he has a goal of becoming the world champion, no matter how long it takes.
“My goal eventually is to become the world champion so I’m not getting too ahead of myself and there’s still a long way to go.
“This really is what I love to do.”