More than Public Speaking

Once You Stop Learning, You Start Dying

Toastmasters’ meetings were not merely about public speaking.  Speakers delivered speeches with thought-provoking and inspiring messages.

Tricia reminded us to keep the Green Monster in us in check, not to be consumed by misconduct and ill feelings such as jealousy.

Erly was not looking back despite his entrepreneurship has been fraught with ups and downs like a roller coaster ride. He quit his job to strike out on his own because he was stagnating as an employee.  On this, he quoted Einstein’s saying “Once you stop learning, you start dying”. I totally agree. I  have an insatiable appetite for learning and that is the reason why I continue learning after my first degree. I have taken up Japanese, financial planning, a master’s programme and now public speaking.

As for Taichi, it was admirable of him to leave his country, Japan, and his comfort zone, to stay in a foreign land where English is commonly spoken so that he would immerse in the environment and also has no choice but to speak English.

Lynn spoke about communication in the hearing-impaired community. She wanted us to not be too consumed in the world of technological communication media and neglected the more meaningful direct communication.

Manish suggested that we let our hair down at times and be less serious but enjoy more about what we do. Indeed, Asians are too inhibitive and reserved, and I’m guilty of that as well.

Jamie introduced us to a F.I.T way to pursue good health.

These were the takeaways from yesterday’s meeting.

Therefore, attending Toastmasters meetings is killing two birds with one stone – one gets to practise and improve one’s public speaking skill, yet at the same time be introspective and acquiring knowledge.

26 September meeting

Elmaree from the USA Toastmasters joined us in our meeting on 26 September.



I skipped the Toastmasters’ meeting on the day after Polling Day. It was the first and hopefully the only that I missed.

I was working throughout the night after poll results were out and filing stories against time. By the time I left office, it was past 5 in the morning. I sent Jun a message, apologising for my absence from the day’s meeting.

From the photos Jun sent to all of us in the chat group on that day, they seemed to have had a lot of fun. And I have not seen Angela and Lyn for some time.

However, days after, I had an unpleasant message exchange with a fellow Toastmaster. He said he was unhappy that his photo was published and that the story went to print without first allowing him to vet.

His language was abrasive. I was a bit offended but nonetheless tried to jog his memory, reminding him that he had actually offered me a photograph of his when the interview was done. However, since I could only use photos that I personally take, I rejected his offer on the spot. In my message, it was explained to him that news articles are not sent for review beforehand, not even when the interviewee is the Prime Minister.

Jun sent an image of the story to all of us in the chat group the following day, hoping that one of us could translate the story into English for him. Most members were happy about the publicity for Toastmasters’ Club. However, the interviewee himself made it plain that he “did not like” the contents, without any elaboration.

Jun saved the day when he posted this in the chat group: “Let’s focus on what we like instead of what we don’t. We are happy to have someone like you who is interested in personal development. Let’s tap on that energy and inspire others who are still afraid to come out.”

Privately, I messaged Jun to thank him for this message.

I have attended Toastmasters’ meetings for only a while but I have discovered several strengths of Jun:

– He’s sincere and polite. After having apologised to me in sms for not updating me that a meeting had been postponed and thereby resulting in me turning up for nothing, he extended his apologies in person at the next meeting.

– He’s empathetic. Michelle delivered a sad speech at a meeting and I saw Jun discreetly wiping his tears away.

– He’s positive and has high emotional quotient.  His message to defuse the tension in the chat group yet not embarrasing anyone was very tactful.