Great article last week in Forbes Magazine on former High School Debater and Motivational Speaker, Tony Robbins. Robbins besides being on the high school debate team was also his High School's Student President. However, in an unstable household he was chased out of his home by his mother with a knife, never returned, did not attend college, worked as a janitor, and eventually became one of the world's most recognizable public speakers and motivational speakers...
"Remarkably, Tony Robbins—who grew up in an unstable household caring for his alcoholic mother—didn’t recognize his own ability to move people with words until a high school debate teacher, Mr. Cobb, recognized his skill. The teacher told Robbins, “I have never seen anybody who can stand up and speak with no notes, look around to kids who won’t listen, and mesmerize them with just raw communication.” He handed Robbins a speech called “The Will To Win” and made this challenge: If Robbins read the speech and connected to it, he would have to agree to compete in a persuasive oratory competition. If it didn’t move him, Robbins could simply return the speech. Robbins read it and cried his eyes out. He entered the competition and won first place. He won a second speech contest, and a third.
“I realized it [public-speaking] was a skill and a gift,” Robbins told me. “And that the skill and the gift combined could do some beautiful things. I’ve now been practicing it for 39 years.”
“The number one reason people are ineffective speakers is because they’re focused on themselves. If you’re focused on yourself, then you can’t possibly connect with the audience,” Tony Robbins