Interview with Alexander Pattyn

Fonske News
Exclusive Interview with Alexander Pattyn      

How did you feel after you won the division contest? 
When I won the division contest I didn’t realize what it would mean to go to a district conference. I had never been at one and didn’t know what to expect. I knew that I would have to step up my game to make it to the finals.

What support did you get after the division contest?
Luckily I had a lot of help from people all over our division, Artful Orators organized a glamorous feedback meeting with a jury consisting of an opera singer, a stage actor, a film actor and someone who participated in the evaluation contest. Some members of our own club helped out when I had to rewrite the speech due to unexpected political events 😉 Prince Motiani, contest master of the division contest and longtime member of a club in Luxembourg, became my coach for the district level! We had long skype calls where we would go over every line to work on the vocal variety and body language.

How did you prepare for the semi-finals in Madrid? 
I arrived on Friday around 11u at the venue “Palacete de Pastrana” in Madrid. The semi-finals were planned in the evening so I still had some time to practice and attend some workshops.  Carsten gave an excellent workshop on ‘planning humor in a speech’. After lunch I practiced my speech for a last time before the semi-finals with Prince. There were two semi-finals one with 6 and one with 7 candidates. Of each group three could go through to the finals. Before the contest started there was some time to test the mics, which was useful because I had never spoken with mics.


What do you remember from the semi-finals?
I don’t remember much of the speech itself but I do know that the room was packed! Immediately after the contest, Carsten who was contest master of our semi-final, announced the winners: John, Melchior and I went through to the finals! I would speak on the big stage! Amazing! What I will always remember is the atmosphere after the speech! I was congratulated by everyone, and got lots of valuable feedback! There was not much time to celebrate because contestants briefing for the final was at 9u. sharp (Spanish sharp:-)


How was Saturday morning and last minute preparations?
Saturday started with a contestants briefing at 9:30. The stage was enormous and there was place for an audience of 400 people!  We had to hurry because at 10u it was time for the table topics with Sydney Schreiber representing our division! Topic of the day “Darling, I have a confession to make”. After the 13 contestants rocked the stage it was time for the key note speech of Darren Tay, world champion public speaking 2016! I skipped lunch to practice my speech one more time now that the stage was free.



How did the big moment go?
At 18u the contest master announced the first speaker, I put my hats in position (indeed thats, plural J remember I had to rewrite my conclusion). Carol Bauser, the contest master announced me: Alexander Pattyn “Toastmasters 2.0” (twice):

Time to go for it!  An amazing experience! I finished with an orange light so no disqualification, pfioe! My speech was second so I could see the other speeches. The competition was though, an honor to be among those speakers!


How was life after the speech?
I was still a little shaky that it was all over! I had the chance to talk to a lot of people. And we are a public speaking club so we can talk for hours J. I was overwhelmed by the reactions on my speech and got a lot of feedback. I have learned so much from during these days.

How the announcement go?
We learned that the winners would be announced during the gala dinner and this started at 21u00. Well we are in Madrid, so we started at 22u00.  At 1u00 (yes, 1u00 that is correct, after all we are in Madrid) they started announcing the winners. Humorous speech: 1. Melchior Glatthard; 2. John Sandner and 3. Yiannis Arahovitis. Well-deserved winners! Many laughs and talented speakers! At 2u00 it was time to head back to the hotel because I had to leave at 7u00. A short night but it was worth it.


How did your acting work help you? 
I am member of a small theater group called “Kippenvel”. We perform a play once a year and some small impro events. Carla, our director, always says that on stage your gestures should be bigger and further from your body so that your audience can easily see them. I think this helped with the Donald imitation. I exaggerated Trumps hand gestures and tried to do a lower voice in order to make a clear distinction between me as the Donald and me as myself. One of the problems I had was that in the parts where I didn’t imitate the Donald and just gave the speech, I also had a tendency to play a role and over do it. This was something that many people told me in preparation of the contest and I definitely still need to work on.

What was it like to be home and famous? 
Back home my Facebook exploded. I didn’t check it in Madrid and was overwhelmed with all the messages, I loved the picture of you guys! I was so lucky with all the support! Most of you endured my speech 3 to 4 times and each time I got valuable feedback. I have written this before but when you see a contest speech, you see only the one person delivering it. What you don’t see are those helping him/her to get there. And my support was, to say it in Donald’s words, “tremendous, quite frankly amazing”. A big big thank you for all of you who helped me rewriting and fine-tuning my speech and those who supported me! It has been an unforgettable experience!

Copyright 2016 Fonske News
Interview by: Frank Turley (Tintin was sick)

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