The queen of come­backs speaks about her state ti­tle

The Riverine Herald - - NEWS -

DENISE Ap­ple­bee is the Coun­try Women’s As­so­ci­a­tion (Vic­to­ria) pub­lic speak­ing cham­pion.

A com­mend­able re­sult af­ter com­pet­ing against speak­ers from across the state but at a per­sonal level an in­cred­i­bly re­mark­able out­come — be­cause Denise had much big­ger chal­lenges than the other speak­ers to go on and win this com­pe­ti­tion.

Only 10 years ago Denise was in a car crash leav­ing her un­con­scious and with an ac­quired brain in­jury that af­fected her mem­ory.

“It adds an ex­tra chal­lenge to speak­ing when you’re mem­ory isn’t 100 per cent, so the speeches for the com­pe­ti­tion were tricky to do.”

The con­test saw speak­ers de­liver two speeches for a to­tal of 10 min­utes – first a pre­pared sev­en­minute talk fol­lowed by a three­minute im­promptu ad­dress.

For the main speech Denise chose friend­ship and talked about how vi­tal it can be for peo­ple’s well­be­ing and the im­por­tance of get­ting the bal­ance of it right.

“I talked about how it can be a good thing to have, but also how it can be poi­sonous when not pur­sued and main­tained,” Denise said.

“Over­all it is a pos­i­tive thing for peo­ple’s men­tal health to have solid and last­ing friend­ships and that was the main mes­sage I wanted to get across dur­ing the speech.”

For the im­promptu sec­tion Denise talked about home­less­ness and its pro­found ef­fect on peo­ple’s lives and so­ci­ety.

“I took it as a per­sonal chal­lenge to do the sub­ject jus­tice dur­ing my talk about it, I just spoke from the heart as it is such an im­por­tant is­sue that needs to be looked at,” she said. “I still planned a speech as you do with pub­lic speak­ing but in­stead of us­ing your more tra­di­tional meth­ods I just had some trig­ger words to prompt me to what I had to say next.

“I’ve al­ways been rea­son­able at pub­lic speak­ing so I think that helps coun­ter­act the ef­fects the crash had on my mem­ory abil­ity.”

Ad­just­ing to the ef­fects of the in­jury was a hard road for Denise but she said it has worked out well for her.

“It’s cer­tainly not been an easy task with the con­stant chal­lenges the in­jury brought on and the work that’s been re­quired in rewiring the brain to fill the gap the in­jury caused,” she said.

“But with per­se­ver­ance the re­cov­ery has been good and I hope it shows oth­ers with brain in­juries that it’s ab­so­lutely pos­si­ble to make a good re­cov­ery from them with enough ded­i­ca­tion and hard work.”

Echuca Mur­ray CWA pres­i­dent Cather­ine Franklin said the award was a fan­tas­tic achieve­ment for Denise and the group as a whole.

“The con­test is statewide and to have it be­ing fought on such a high level is a fan­tas­tic rep­re­sen­ta­tion for women,” Cather­ine said.

“Hav­ing a homegrown win­ner in Denise; rep­re­sent­ing the Echuca Mur­ray branch of the or­gan­i­sa­tion is, great.’’

WORDS OF WIS­DOM: Speak­ing con­test win­ner Denise Ap­ple­bee (left) with CWA pres­i­dent Cather­ine Franklin.

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