Speech competitions as an inspiring activity in Landjugend Österreich

Florian Timmeren-Maier is an active member of Rural Youth Austria. In this blog he introduces his favourite activity that the organisation does, which is speech competitions.

Greetings from Austria!

My name is Florian Timmerer-Maier, I am 20 years old and currently living near the village Neumarkt in Styria, Austria, which is also where I grew up. My family owns a dairy farm; it’s located, as you might imagine, in the middle of nowhere.

I’m here to tell you about the “Landjugend”. A great part of culture here, especially for teenagers and young adults, is a rural youth organization called “Landjugend”. In each county there are multiple delegations of that organization, which spans nationwide. I, myself, am a member, so the Landjugend is a big part of my life too.

Each year there are a fair amount of different competitions, in which the delegations from each county compete against each other. Such competitions include sense mowing, ploughing and my personal favourite, the public speaking competition.

At one such speech contest you can participate in three categories:

  • Spontanouse speech
  • Prepared speech
  • “Neues Sprachrohr”

“Neues Sprachrohr” means that you don’t have to monologue, but you could also act or even sing, as long as the attention of the audience is on you and your performance.

My favourite category to participate in is prepared speech. You have to talk about a topic that you’ve picked and prepared beforehand for 4-6 minutes at a time. The number of topics you can choose from is huge and you can even broaden your own horizon while listening to the other competitors giving their own twist on an already familiar topic.

My inspiration for my speeches mostly comes from my childhood and youth, where I had to face quite a lot of obstacles. They also influence my process of picking the topic and preparing my monologue. For example, the topic I had chosen last year was “I paint a picture”. I decided to go in a much darker direction with my story of the picture, than the other contestants and talked about suicide, “the risks of love” and how to prevent this from happening.

I would describe myself as an unconventional speaker. I try my best to use rhetorical and stylistic devices, in order to project feelings onto my audience. A man at one of those speaking events once told me that my speech remind him of a song that you can’t help listen to over and over again. This was a huge success, because from my point of view it´s more important to touch someone with your speech or make them over-think some of their bias, than winning the competition.

In conclusion I would like to say, that I’m grateful to be a member of the “Landjugend” and that I can compete in my favourite contest year after year. I would like to thank the RYEurope for the opportunity to write this blog entry and thank you all for reading.

All the best,