Maple Grove resident is semifinalist in the world’s largest speech contest

Mark Skipper, of Maple Grove, out-shined more than 1,000 local contestants to win the district-level competition of the Toastmasters International Speech Contest. Skipper advances to the semifinal rounds of the contest, vying for one of 10 spots in the World Championship of Public Speaking to be held at the Toastmasters International Convention Friday, Aug. 25, in Vancouver, Canada.

Skipper, a member of Tic Talker in Plymouth, surpassed fierce competition to win over the judges with his speech, “The Power of a Hug.” The speech touched on the themes of love, safety, and security. When it comes to connecting with the audience, he said, “Everyone, especially men, have the power to uplift someone’s day or literally save their life.”

Skipper will compete with 101 other winners from districts around the world who advanced to the 2017 semifinal round after a six-month process of elimination through club, area, division and district speech competitions. Their five- to seven-minute speeches were judged on content, organization, gestures and style.

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