Room for Improvement

I felt I wasn’t putting in enough efforts in Toastmasters after attending the last session because I have not been doing speeches regularly and not taking on table topic speaking as well.  It changed this session – not only did I deliver a speech but I made a table topic speech as well.  A pat on the back.  But, that’s not good enough.

I lost the momentum after not making any speeches since October and I became nervous when I delivered my project 3 at the latest session.  Though I managed to calm down in the second half of the speech, I think it did not help as I was too fast in my delivery earlier.  Neither did I display the vocal variety and emphasis that I had planned.

When I was preparing for this project, which took me about two weeks – one for researching and drafting the script, and one for practising, I found this past-time too time-consuming and decided that instead of the original plan of doing a project every month, I shall just deliver a prepared speech every two months.  Unlike in the past when I was schooling when I would just want to get things done by the deadline, I am determined to make the most out of Toastmaster and do it at my own pace.

However, after today’s session, I realised that doing a project every two months might cause me to lose my momentum and groove.  Let’s see how it goes.

As for table topic speech, I drew the topic of telling fellow Toastmasters something about me that will surprise them.  I remember the speaker Conor Neill, whose speeches on public speaking I find very useful, gave a tip on the structure for table topics: What, Now What, So What.  But I totally forgot this when I did the table topic speech. Apparently I don’t have sufficient practice in this area, perhaps I should take part in table topic speeches every session.

Evaluation of today’s prepared speech:

  • nervous
  • lost momentum
  • body language was stiff (thanks to evaluator Kiran’s observation)

Evaluation of table topic speech:

  • no structure
  • did not do any planning

I had at least four pause-fillers in my prepared and table topic speeches: one “actually”; one “I guess” and two “so”s.

Here is the script I used for my project 3 entitled “Let’s protect the young”.


{Beep}I’ve got a message, it reads Where do we go after we meet? Let’s look for a place where no one would go to, somewhere all lovers would go,and then we can talk in the car.”

Good afternoon, the President, Toastmaster of the Day, fellow Toastmasters and guests.

Please don’t misunderstand that the  message that I read out earlier was from my boyfriend.  The contents of the message were reproduced from those sent by a 36 year-old married man to a 12 year-old school girl turning 13.

Those were his messages.

What is my message for today’s speech?

To remind you that we have to protect the unsuspecting young from falling prey to sex predators [■ˈpred.ə.tər/]who trawled the digital space and use it as a hunting ground.

The virtual world is a double-edged sword.  It has brought significant benefits to us, but let’s not forget that there are also great dangers lurking in the cyberspace.

The married man befriended the girl via a smartphone app and asked her the very day if she would mind having a boyfriend much older than her.  He texted the girl asking her out for sex just two days after they became friends. He texted the girl many sexually explicit messages, which I am too embarrassed to reproduce them here.

But this isn’t an isolated case, the courts have heard many more.

People are lulled into a sense of complacency because we are safe on our streets, but they don’t realise that the criminals use this sense of safety to target preys online.  People think conversing online should be safe, but it’s very easy for the perpetrators to hide their true intentions behind technology.

Generally, adults are discerning but the same can’t be said of naive, inexperienced and impressionable kids.

While the law can help to protect the young and punish the bad, to me, it’s  passive.

Adults should do something about it, here’re the proactive measures I’ve identified that could be used and might protect the kids.

1. Love
Shower them with love, show them concern, so that they will share tidbits of their life with you, be they activities online or offline.

Encourage discussions between you and your kids on what they enjoy and what they don’t online.

Keeping that line of communication open, opens up the door to their virtual world.

It helps to strengthen the bond even if your kid isn’t vulnerable to predators.

2. Education
Advise them not to befriend strangers indiscriminately  – this maxim has been handed down from generation to generation.

Warn them of dangers – do not let others, females or males touch them, especially their private parts .

Teach them to protect their privacy
While they won’t fully understand the consequences of revealing personal information online, you should still make sure your kids know:
* never give their name, e-mail address, password, name of school, address or photographs.

Teach them never to meet an online friend offline unless you are with them.

Although this sounds like common sense,  unfortunately kids don’t really understand this concept. Kids are very trusting, It is up to you to let them know there are people in this world who will harm them.  If there is one rule you remember, remember this one; kids should never, I repeat NEVER meet with someone in person they have met online unless accompanied by a parent, not another older friend, A PARENT!

3. Monitor
This is a controversial [■ˌkɒn.trəˈvɜː.ʃəl] solution.  Some argue that children’s privacy should be respected even though they are young.  “So many people say ‘Well we want to give our kids their freedom and everything’.

Some countered that That’s all well and good,” “But you still have to be a parent. You can’t always be a friend.”

a parent is a parent is a parent is a parent.

feel that parents should monitor what’s going on. Not to be nosy or intrusive, but to protect naive children from falling prey to adults who get at kids they know are unprotected. It’s the same in the teen years as it is in the infant years. You would stop your toddler from running into the street because you want to protect them. So we stop our teens from using apps and visiting web sites that are geared for mature adults but lure innocent and naive kids. A parent’s ultimate job is to guide and protect so our kids make it successfully into adulthood.

To monitor or not to monitor,  is the question.

In closing

To reiterate,  we must protect the young from the bane of technology and the suggested measures are to shower them with love, educate them and/monitor their online activities.

The girl’s parents cried on the stand when testifying in court over their daughter having been taken advantage of.  Crying over spilled milk, is the last thing you as a parent would want to do, wouldn’t you?



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