Toastmasters Presents The Seven Most Buzzworthy Speeches of 2015

Top Seven

Last summer, I was honored to deliver the opening keynote at the annual Toastmasters International Convention in Las Vegas. In case you aren’t already familiar with Toastmasters International, Toastmasters is a non-profit educational organization teaching public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network. I share Toastmasters’ roundup of the most buzzworthy speeches of 2015. Enjoy!

Toastmasters International Lists 7 Most Buzzworthy Speeches of 2015

Whether it was David Letterman signing off on the Late Show for the final time or Caitlyn Jenner accepting an award recognizing her courage, the most discussed and shared presentations of the year were thought-provoking, emotional and inspiring. After viewing hundreds of contenders, Toastmasters International considers the following seven speeches the most buzzworthy in 2015:

  • February 9: As Beck walked on stage to accept the Album of the Year Grammy®; he was met by Kanye West who looked as if he was going to repeat his infamous Taylor Swift interruption from the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. Fortunately, West sat back down without incident; Beck kept his composure and delivered a thoughtful and gracious speech.
  • February 22:  When J.K. Simmons won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar® for his performance in “Whiplash,” he took the opportunity to remind people to call their parents. “I’m told there’s like a billion people or so (watching). Call your mom. Call your dad, if you are lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet. Don’t text. Don’t email. Call ‘em on the phone. Tell them you love them, and thank them, and listen to them for as long as they want to talk to you.”
  • May 17: As he gave the commencement speech at George Washington University, Apple CEO Tim Cook implored the graduates to follow their values as they seek a career. “Graduates, your values matter. They are your North Star. Otherwise it’s just a job—and life is too short for that.”
  • May 20:  After 33 years and more than 6,000 episodes, David Letterman ended his final Late Show with his typical self-deprecating humor, telling the audience “in light of all of this praise, merited or not, do me a favor; save a little for my funeral. I’d appreciate it.” 
  • July 15:  As she accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs, Caitlyn Jenner made an emotional plea to viewers. “If you want to call me names, make jokes, doubt my intentions, go ahead, because the reality is I can take it. But for the thousands of kids out there who are coming to terms with being true to who they are, they shouldn’t have to take it.”
  • August 15: With his humorous speech, “The Power of Words,” Saudi Arabian Mohammed Qahtani was crowned Toastmasters’ 2015 World Championship of Public Speaking. Qahtani beat nearly 30,000 other contestants from more than 100 countries to win the championship with his a personal tale about events in his life where “if words had been said differently, they would have elicited a radically different response.”
  • September 20:  Becoming the first African-American to win the Emmy® for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Viola Davis gave a speech about the need for more diversity in Hollywood. “The only thing that separates women of color from everyone else is opportunity,” she said. “You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”

To schedule an interview with a Toastmasters leader about what made these speeches stand out from all of the other speeches given this year, email

About Toastmasters International

Toastmasters International is a worldwide nonprofit educational organization that empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organization’s membership exceeds 332,000 in more than 15,400 clubs in 135 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators and leaders. For information about local Toastmasters clubs, please visit Follow @Toastmasters on Twitter.

Thank you Toastmasters!

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