In this Toastmasters Podcast episode, get to know Toastmasters’ newest Accredited Speaker, Dr. Kevin Snyder, DTM.
It was March 8, 2020. Toastmasters’ 2022 Accredited Speaker (AS), Kevin Snyder, DTM, remembers the day well.
“Due to COVID, I got a cancellation notice for an event in October, and it was only March,” the professional speaker remembers. “That’s when I knew the pandemic was going to be an issue for a long time.”
Initially, Snyder did not think his speaking style—energetic and animated—would go over well in the online world. “I had never presented virtually so I did not have any confidence that I could do that,” he says. To stay busy, he spent most of the next two months working in his yard, making frequent trips to the local home improvement store, Home Depot. “I spent so much time there, I was thinking about getting a job,” he laughs now.
As the pandemic set in, Snyder realized he needed to broaden his presentation skills to match the new virtual world. After watching online presentations, “I decided to try it,” he recalls. “I bought the equipment, got a coach, and developed my vision. I asked for help and became more comfortable online.”
Buoyed by renewed confidence, Snyder was intrigued when Valda Ford, DTM, a member of District 117 and an AS, described the program to him. He had just completed his DTM and decided the rigorous program, requiring applicants to pass two levels of judging, was just the challenge he was seeking. Snyder applied in 2020, but didn’t achieve the designation. However, he persevered, fine-tuned his presentation, and met success before a live audience in Nashville with his speech “Don’t Stop.”
His performance was replete with a unique reverse poem, songs, funny and poignant stories, and reading a poem set to music he composed, which drew audience applause right in the middle of his speech.
Snyder, who joined Toastmasters in 2012, is a member and Treasurer of Speaking Professionally, a District 117 online club.
His public speaking career has evolved through many years and audiences. A native of Durham, North Carolina, he earned a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. He later pivoted to a career in higher education by earning a master’s degree and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of South Carolina and the University of Central Florida, respectively.
Snyder worked in student affairs departments on several college campuses before becoming dean of students at High Point University in North Carolina. Despite his affinity for helping college students achieve, after two years in the job he began to miss speaking professionally. In 2012, he resigned from the university and began a full-time speaking career.
As an AS, Snyder’s specialty topics include workplace wellness, personal development, and motivational leadership. He’s energized by discovering shared experiences among diverse audiences. “I enjoy taking a topic and making it relevant to the audience,” he says. “There are many ways to engage.”
Snyder, who lives with his family in Raleigh, North Carolina, has presented two TEDx Talks and is the 2023 president of the National Speakers Association of the Carolinas. He jokes that working at Home Depot is no longer an option.
“I am humbled by becoming an Accredited Speaker,” he says.
Dr. Kevin Snyder, DTM, AS, talks with First Vice President Radhi Spear about his journey to becoming an Accredited Speaker, his experience presenting online during the pandemic, his advice for other Toastmasters, and more.
Peggy Beach, DTM is a freelance writer and communications instructor in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is a Past District 37 Governor. A member of the Hi Rise Toastmasters in Raleigh and the Top Triangle Toastmasters in Morrisville, she is available at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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