Sharpening the Knife

Seven new members broke the ice at the 25th June meeting. Among them, there were a few whose speeches provided food for thought.

Richard spoke about how he tried and tried to get employment in Singapore. As he said, it’s “five years in the making”. His perseverance is admirable. Lai, his girlfriend, who is also a newbie here, ended her speech saying “The fear we don’t face becomes our limits”.

Pradeep as general evaluator advised us on the protocol to address the attendees: Club President XXX, District Director YYY, Division U Director ZZZ, U3 Director AAA, members and guests. On subsequent mention, it will be “as before, members and guests”.

He also said we should keep applauding from the moment a speaker starts walking to the lectern till he/she speaks.

When the language evaluator went through our errors, he said we can’t conquer the fear of public speaking but we overcome the nervousness. Conceptually I’m not certain about this. No one is able to deliver a speech without feeling anxiety, not even a consummate speaker or politician?

As for the metaphor he used for the appropriate length of the speech – he employed the analogy of the length of the skirt – which I think some might find it sexist and if my memory serves me well, this was an example in a book on public speaking of sensitivities to take note of.

But the language evaluator provided some advice I agreed with. He said a speaker is like a knife, getting blunt over time, he needs to be sharpened. That’s why we are here.

He also suggested that we try our best in coining our own analogies for our speeches. In addition, use a variety of words and not just repeating the same word “good”, for example, pleasant, fantastic, fabulous and marvellous.

He reminded us to quote the source when we mention a quote so that audience would not mistake us as the originator, or say “I once heard…”.

Lastly, this blog shall end with the values of Toastmasters, as embodied in the acronym RISE: Respect, Integrity, Service and Excellence.

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