Toastmasters International World Champion of Public Speaking: Manoj Vasudevan

On August 26, Manoj Vasudevan became the 2017 Toastmasters International World Champion of Public Speaking with his speech “Pull Less, Bend More“. In it, he tells a captivating story of how he overcame marital issues with sage advice from his mother. With metaphors, imagery, and real-world lessons, this simple seven-minute speech is truly enchanting.

At a Glance:

The Speaker
Manoj Vasudevan is a world-renowned leadership coach and management consultant who has worked with many major multinational companies in Asia, Australia, North America, and Europe. As CEO of Thought Expression, a communication management organization, Vasudevan has coached executives, celebrities, bureaucrats, UN diplomats, and many other influencers.

The Topic
“Pull Less, Bend More”

When a relationship falls through in our lives, we are usually quick to blame the other party. But, in Manoj Vasudevan’s speech, he encourages other to heed the advice his mother once gave to him: pull less and bend more. When we learn to give, rather than expect to take, conflicts between individuals, groups, and even countries can dissolve into harmony. 

Who Should Watch and Why
Everyone should watch this speech for the sake of its topic. It’s a universally relatable point of discussion with valuable and easily-applicable advice.

This speech is also extremely pertinent to anyone interested in giving speeches. This speech earned Vasudevan the title of Public Speaking World Champion, so watching and studying this speech could be great research for anyone looking to improve their own public speaking skills.

Strengths of the Presentation
This speech won first place in the 2017 Toastmasters International World Championship of Public Speaking, so it’s safe to say the presentation was very strong. But Vasudevan has been cited with a few specific details that make his speech-giving so riveting:

  • He immediately hooks the audience. He starts off strong, catches the viewers with humor, and then follows the rhythm of the speech, connecting it all with sincerity. The stronger your first impression, the easier it will be to keep attention.
  • He uses short but effective sentences to spread his message. Each sentence can be spoken within a breath, and the words filling each sentence are rich with imagery and emotion. The concise sentences weave together beautifully to make an overarching metaphor of Cupid’s bow, pulling and bending, working together to rekindle his relationship.
  • Vasudevan uses his body language to really push the story forward. From his hand motions to the positioning of his body in context with the audience, each movement he makes is deliberate and makes the audience more inclined to trust what he has to say. Vasudevan even says that the smile he gives the audience before the speech was planned.

  • Finally, one of his biggest strengths is the format of his speech. This speech has been planned, rehearsed, and meticulously picked at in order to achieve perfection. But most importantly — it doesn’t sound like it had been planned. Vasudevan flowed through the speech like it was a direct conversation. Rather than a cookie-cutter lecture spoken to a mass audience, each sentence seems perfectly crafted to you, the listener.


  • Get the audience interested fast. Humor and sincerity can work together to gain that attention and trust.
  • Use short and active sentences. Clear and concise language makes for easier understanding from your audience.
  • Body language matters as much as your script. The audience can subconsciously pick up on even the smallest body movements, so make sure you’re communicating positively. Smiles and eye contact go a long way.
  • Make it a conversation. Even if the audience is saying nothing, the flow should sound like a conversation. Allow your speech to feel like a personal invitation for each listener to participate. It locks in their attention while validating what you have to say.

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