“You have the power to bring someone from the slums of life and make a successful person out of them or destroy someone’s happiness using only your words.” – Mohammed Qahtani

Mohammad Qahtani after winning the first place for the International Speech Contest

Being a champion is good. Being a role-model is great. But a legend is someone who is a champion and a role-model. And I was honored to spend an evening with a legend named Mohammed Qahtani. I have been full of admiration, praise and respect since the day I met him. I am sure most of them who were present there would have the same opinion of him. If you have read so far you might be telling yourself “Well, another article of flattery”. While it’s difficult to prove my words through this article, I will try my best to show you why he is a legend and why you and I should strive to become one.

 Giving the champ a *HI-5*: I was honestly a bit nervous meeting him. So I went to say ‘hi’ by shaking his hand and present myself as formally as possible. But to my surprise he saw me and gave me a *HI-5* and took a selfie with our Fujairah Team. From there everything felt a lot better. Our interaction went smoothly. The nervousness of talking to a Champion disappeared as I realized he is a human being too. He too is a person just like you and me who love to meet people, have fruitful conversations and build relationships. In other words, have fun and enjoy life.

 Why Legend? Greatness isn’t defined by awards and accolades won. And the legends realize that above all is something more important known as humbleness. Qahtani showed no pride or greatness while talking to anyone and if he realized the other person was being conscious of this status he would give him a *HI-5* and take a selfie with him flatten the dynamic.

 Connecting as a friend: It’s said that people reflect emotions. Hence, being nervous within leads to the other person reflect the same nervousness onto you leading to a nervous energy within the interaction. While being comfortable within leads to the other person feeling the same. This is exactly what I experienced while interacting with him. Not for one moment did he make me feel that I am talking to a superstar. He was like a friend whom I felt as if I had known for years.

Qahtani giving his award winning speech

Why Legend? Empathy is what differentiates champions and legends. Qahtani  is a great speaker and leader but a legend because he is genuinely interested in the other person and you feel like you are taking with your best buddy.

From Zero to Hero: This is a common trend we see with all successful people. They usually have nothing to start with; they fail many times however they eventually pull it off. Qahtani’s story is similar yet different. He was bullied at school, still has stammering issues yet he dream to spread his message to thousands kept him going during his hard times. Finally he did achieve his dream by speaking at the international convention.

Why Legend? It’s very easy to get carried away with the attention you receive after achieving a milestone. However, he never speaks of him as the one who deserved the award when everyone of us saw that he was the best. Qahtani is a legend who has just embarked his journey to be become an Iconic-Legend.

A selfie with Qahtani
A Selfie with Qahtani! #WCPS2015

Here’s what the other members of Fujairah Toastmasters Club had to say about Mohammed Qahtani after that evening:

Meeting Mr. Mohammad Al Qahtani, World Champion of Public Speaking was like meeting a friend you’ve known for a very long time but only now had the chance to meet. It cemented my belief that in toastmasters, name and fame becomes just another reason for you to get closer to people and help them by sharing experiences and passing on knowledge gained and not reason to drive you further away from them as is sometimes seen to happen with famous personalities”  – MTM Mahar Mohammed

“A Champion in all respect. A person with simplicity, determination and confidence. He wrote his world championship acceptance speech in 2010 and accomplished his dream in 2015. He used his strength, sense of humor to overcome his weakness. He encourages everyone to’ face their fears’ to be successful in life.” – TM Sujith Varghese

“I was one of the fortunate people who had the pleasure of meeting the Toastmaster World Champion in that crowded room in Dubai. He is a great example of living a dream and achieving it. I started writing my MSC Graduation speech already, although I haven’t started it yet. But I know I will read my speech one day. Thank you Qahtani” – MTM Zulfa Rasheed

It was an evening I will always remain grateful for as it took me a step closer to self-awareness and potential possibilities. Thank you Qahtani, YOU ARE LEGEND!

Source: This article was initially written for a monthly regional magazine named Fujairah Observer. Below is the link to the original article:—meeting-a-role-model-6081/esmaeel,akther/search.html

More Reading:

Here is a breakdown of the award winning speech by Mohammed Qahtani titled, “The Power of Words”

Related Links:


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