I have not become Vice President Education.
Nor have I become sergeant-at-arms or secretary.
I am now president of the club. Yes, I had a fast-track progression because the original President-elect Angela had to withdraw from the post as a result of last-minute overseas assignments.
Here’s my speech at the installation – which from drafting to delivery took only eight days and broke my record. I was fortunate that I was given the assignment when I was on leave from work and therefore I had time to craft, rewrite and practise (perhaps 30 times before I delivered to a packed room).
Hesperus, you are a new member here, what made you join toastmasters?
Lai, what about you?
Garry, you’ve been here for some time, why would you prefer to be here to, say, having a nap, playing computer games at home or watching a movie?
Just like Hesperus, Garry and Lai, and most of us here, I joined Toastmasters to develop my public speaking skills and conquer the fear of speaking in front of people.
When I joined the club one year ago, I knew nothing about appointments for meetings or executive committee.
But soon I became a timer, an ah-counter, a table topic master and a Toastmaster of the Day, the truth is I have been slow in doing my projects, so I wanted to redeem myself and be active during meetings.
I took on appointments pretty often, it was perhaps enough to give Michelle some ideas.
Some months ago, she checked with me if I would like to be the next sergeant at arms, I said I might not be able to come much earlier to set up the room.
How about secretary, I counter proposed. How often does the executive committee meet, I asked Michelle.
Once a quarter, she replied.
Wow, that suits me.
I’m a free-spirited person, as far as possible I like to avoid commitments. But I can’t just benefit from the club without contributing.
So, I was to be the next secretary.
Weeks later, Jun said he would like me to be the VPE, together with Michelle, sharing her heavy workload. Michelle being a responsible and experienced VPE gave me confidence that I would be fine.
So I agreed.
When we had the election, my supposed role hadn’t changed but I became the 1st VPE with Tricia the 2nd VPE. Tricia, to me, seems to be a very steady person and is always on top of the situation. I knew I would be in good hands.
That’s not the end of the story, of how my supposed exco role evolved, from SAA to secretary to 2nd vpe to the official vpe.
Last Friday, Jun said the president-elect Angela had been assigned a new project that would require her to be away often and the position of the president had as a result been vacated.
Jun said he had got everything ready for the installation, except the President.
So that’s how I ended up being the president. How I wish I had such fast track progression at work.
Jun told me to do a speech for this installation, something inspiring.
On this, I would like to share something very honest.
A few months after I joined toastmasters, the thought of quitting fleeted across my mind.
I found myself spending much more time than expected on toastmasters.
I would read the manual for each project before embarking on the research for my speech. Just gathering information for my draft could take me the whole month. And I would watch YouTube for ideas and tips.
Furthermore, after each chapter meeting, I would blog about it, on what transpired, what I should have done and how I should improve. Blogging takes about 2-3 hours.
But the thought of quitting was quickly extinguished at the following meeting, when Garry the Toastmaster of the day, reminded us why YOU and I walked through THAT door in the first place.
Yes. That’s right.
Why? We’re here to hone our public speaking skills.
For you to have walked through that door and are STILL here today, you deserve a round of applause.
Now, give the toastmasters next to you a pat on the back, as well.
As the slogan of Liverpool football club says
YOU NEVER WALK ALONE
Your public speaking learning journey in the past year would NOT have been possible without this GREAT team.
We were privileged to have Jun for the past 2 years, as the President, who has set the bar too high for me; VPE Michelle who had to fill whatever appointments not taken up at meetings.
Working equally hard behind the scene were VPM Tricia, VPPR Garry and SAA Taichi.
Eg, we have this room ready for use, the projector flashing our ideas and even the Styrofoam cups that we drink from, it’s all thanks to the SAA, Taichi.
Taichi would arrive earlier than us but be the last to leave, to set up the room before meetings and clean up the place after meetings.
Without them, their selfless contribution, their effective facilitation, we’d not have been able to sharpen our skills here and let the butterflies in our stomach fly in formation.
Please give them a round of applause.
*Next, a lady who deserves our recognition as well. She would have been here addressing you if not for her work engagements, let’s show our appreciation for Angela.*
As for the term ahead, please give YOUR utmost support to YOUR vpe sheila, YOUR vpm lynn, YOUR vppr Michelle, YOUR SAAs Jamie and Taichi, as well as me.
We would, to the best of our abilities, make your learning journey as fruitful as possible .
Before I wrap up this speech, let’s remind ourselves why we are here – let’s shout it out.
Let’s REMEMBER this.
** Was not delivered because Angela was absent.