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4 things to look forward to for #TICONV14

By Motivation No Comments

Toastmasters International will host its first International Conference outside of North America this year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Chelsea and I are on our way to attend.

Throughout the week I will be recapping the event and posting about my journey of what it took to become the

Here are the 4 things to look forward to for #TICON14

1) Seeing friends: Chelsea and I have traveled to many Districts and met many amazing people. It is always so good visiting with them, catching up, and hearing their goals for the upcoming year. This might be my favorite part of any conference!

2) Meeting new members: I am still in contact with many of the Toastmasters I met at my first convention. I hope to meet many more! I am also looking forward to connecting with leadership teams in China and Australia to learn more about their Districts, since I will be speaking at their upcoming conferences.

3) Finding out who will be named this year’s world champion: I cannot wait to see who will be crowned this year’s World Champion. I have attended so many District contests this year and have seen some powerful speeches. This year’s competition is going to be tough which will make for a great event! Who will become the next World Champion of Public Speaking? We will know very soon! If you want to be among the first to know, subscribe to the blog in the top right hand corner of this page. I will post immediately once the winner is announced!

4) Reliving fun memories: It is fun to think about the year I competed and what it took to get there. It is fun to think about my team at Special Olympics Oregon supporting me and sending me flowers to my hotel room. It is fun to think about the friends I met, my family being in the audience, and my District being by my side every step of the way. It is fun to think about Chelsea and I tossing and turning the night before the big competition and her saying, “I love you no matter what happens… but you need to get some sleep!” It is fun to think about how much our lives have changed and imagining what these next years will look like! Reliving memories can inspire you and light a new fire inside of you! What are some fun times you can relive to get those creative juices flowing again?

We arrive in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday (yea, 30 hours of travel time). Looking forward to having fun, learning a lot, and seeing people I care about. Enjoy your weekend, and as always…

Dream BIG,

Question: If you are a Toastmaster, what are you looking forward to most? Remember, if you are not going to the conference you can still join in live stream!

Do You Want a Handwritten Letter?

By Communication No Comments

During the World Record attempt a couple months ago I asked to write you handwritten letters so I could train to sign 5,000 signatures in one sitting.

You came to my aid and sent in your addresses and messages to request a handwritten letter all over the world. I sent more letters in two weeks than I can count! Over the past several weeks since then, the letters have arrived and you have shared with me when you got them and how much they meant by posting on Facebook, emailing me photos of you at your mailbox and even showing them to me in person when I see you. That really means a lot to me and I thought of continuing to write them!

I really enjoy writing those letters so much and hearing from each of you I thought I would do a project where I write one handwritten letter everyday in 2014. I might get more request than one a day, or might not, but I will write at least one letter a day, starting today, in 2014 and am asking for your help.

Do you want a handwritten letter? All you have to do is email me your mailing address at with a subject that says “I want a letter.” The first 30 people to send me an email at will be guaranteed to get a letter!

I think there is something special about going to your mailbox and seeing an envelop that has your name printed on it in human handwriting! This will be fun for me and hopefully it is a way I can give back in another way to say thank you for all you do for me!

I hope you are enjoying the start to your week and I look forward to receiving your emails. Remember to sign up for my blog in the top right hand corner of this page via email and continue receiving content focused on leadership, speaking and productivity every Monday and Thursday! As always…

Dream BIG,

Question: Know someone who could use a letter? Share this article on your social media or via email and let the hand writing begin! 

Advice from Public Speaking’s Most Prolific Author

By Motivation, Uncategorized 4 Comments
Holding each other's books!

Holding each other’s books!

Have you ever met one of your heroes in person? Had the chance to sit down and talk with them for an afternoon? I am happy to say I got that chance recently when I met Mr. James C. Humes, one of the world’s greatest orators and authors.

His books inspire, his life-story motivates and his ability amazes me. In fact, his books are the major reason why I fell in love with the art of communication and wanted to dedicated my life to helping people improve their communication skills. Reading his books gave me the motivation in a major way to write Speaker, Leader, Champion with Jeremey Donovan.

His firm handshake, pink and blue bow tie and lion-gaze eye contact intimidated me at first. He lived up to the person I had envisioned in my mind. Randy Harvey introduced me to Mr. Humes’ books when I was training for the World Championship. Randy gave me a copy of one of Humes’ books “

Here are the framed front covers for most of the books Mr. Humes has written!

Here are the framed front covers for most of the books Mr. Humes has written!

Mr. Humes has spoken in all 50 states, more countries that I could keep count and he was a speech writer for Nixon, Ford, Regan and Bush Senior. He wrote the words on the plaque that Neil Armstrong placed on the moon during the first landing! He has written more than 40 books and learned from Winston Churchill! He told me, “Meeting Churchill was like meeting Caesar or Napoleon, it was like shaking hands with history. Best advice Churchill gave me was to study history because in history lies the secrets to statecraft (government)!” 

He’s the real deal and as professional speakers, he is one many of us look up to.

His home is like an American Museum with oil paintings hanging on the walls, vintage books that line the floor and his entry way table is a chest from Christopher Columbus dating back to 1501. It was an honor to meet Mr. Humes and during our time together I was able to get to know him and his lovely wife.

I asked why he has dedicated decades of his life to the art of communication. He paused, looked at me and said “Speech is power…” and proceeded to tell me about how Winston Churchill used his words to inspire a nation and as he spoke, reminiscing on the words of Churchill, he ended by saying “… words are the difference between defeat and survival.”

He is right! There is nothing more powerful than speech! Why wouldn’t you want to master the art of speaking?

I am thankful I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Humes as he is someone I very much look up to. Just listening to his stories, being allowed in his home and learning from him was a top ten moment for me. He offered me advice for the next time I talk on stage and shared the three elements of what it takes to make a great speech:

You Need A Great Man (or Woman)
Someone willing to step up when times are tough. Someone who is willing to speak out on issues they believe in. Someone who is willing to use their voice to make a difference. The world is full of great men and woman we just need more of them to use their voice to help our world! A great man or woman will not be made overnight. You need trials and tribulations, you need failures and a sprinkle of success stories- you need to experience life. All of the things that have happened and are happening in your life, prepare you to be a better person, to be a stronger man and a capable leader.

You Need A Great Occasion
There are only a few opportunities in life for a great man or woman to deliver a great speech because there are few great occasions. But look for them. Reach out and ask to be the speaker. Reach out and see what you can do to get yourself on stage, in front of that microphone and during the next great occasion. Think of how you can be remembered for the words you say.

Ryan Avery and Toastmasters and James HumesYou Need Great Eloquence
You can borrow the eloquence from someone by sharing their story and how they handled the situation. Think of great leaders of our time and how they were able to handle the situations given to them. Remember to share stories that make a point, pause to let the audience soak in what you are saying and end with what Humes likes to say a “Soul Shaker!” (inspirational story). 

It took time, digging and a lot of research to be able to get in touch with Mr. Humes but it was worth every minute! Take the time this week to look over who inspires you, who motivates you and who you look up to. Reach out to them and come up with a list of questions to ask when you two meet. Your heroes are out there and they are willing to meet with you if you only ask! Remember to use your voice to make a difference and as always…

Dream BIG,

P.S. If you could interview one person this week, who would it be?

Ryan Averys Book Signing

6 Reminders Why You Should Take a Risk

By World Records 9 Comments
This week more than one thousand people came together to do something BIG! Many people planned for months, spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to plan for an event where we didn’t reach our target goal. Was it worth it? Absolutely!

Whenever you have the word “world” in front of what you are trying to accomplish like “world record” or “world’s largest” or even “world’s best” those goals don’t come easy.

We promoted Toastmasters around the world, raised money for a good cause and helped hundreds of people become stronger speakers! We worked hard, we held ourselves to the highest standard and I am proud to say we took advantage of wanting to create history! Going for the world record reminded me why you should take that risk:

“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” – Thomas Jefferson

So many people wait. They think and think and think and never act. This week we acted. The world belongs to dreamers who take action. We are defined by what we act on, not the ideas in our head. Go out there and find out who you really are by taking a risk and going for those big goals of yours!

“To be wholly devoted to some intellectual exercise is to have succeeded in life.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Devote yourself to one thing and you will accomplish so much more. We planned, acted, worked, trained and collaborated on one idea of breaking this world record and that is a success in my book. Devote yourself to a bigger goal or mission in life and change the course of history!

“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” – Henry Ford

No one cares what you are going to do, they want to see you going for it! They want to see you accomplish your dreams! Don’t talk about what you will do, talk about what you are doing to make your goals happen. What actions are you taking to build your reputation so you can inspire more people and accomplish more things?

“The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself.” – Mark Caine

There are enough average people in the world. There is plenty of room for you to be great if you decied to step out of the environment you are in, hold yourself to the highest standard and take that risk. Don’t be average, don’t be good, shoot don’t event be great, be the best at what you do and help change this world!

“Do something wonderful, people may imitate it.” – Albert Schweitzer

I want to thank everyone who wrote me, messaged me and called me saying how they feel inspired to go for their goals after they saw what happened with the world record. At first I was disappointed with not reaching our goal and truthfully felt embarrassed for a minute but when each of you reached out to me and encouraged us to keep going, it meant more than you know! You might not reach your goal when you go for the BIG ones at first, but you inspire people along the way. Is that worth it? Absolutely!

“Dust yourself off and try again.” – Aaliyah 

As my wife likes to remind me, “What is the worst that can happen?” I am already thinking of where we can try this World Record again. I am going to reach out to a few contacts to see how we can pull this off because you have to keep going for what you believe in. You have to keep making things happen. You have to because the world deserves your energy, your passion and guts!

Thank you to everyone who supported this 1st attempt at breaking the World Record for the largest book signing in history. Together we made this event happen. This title is ours and together we will make it happen in the near future. Let me know if you have an idea for where we should try it next or how we can improve the event. Should you take a risk today, this week and this year? Absolutely! The world belongs to dreamers who take action! As always….

Dream BIG,

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