Selling pens… and Toastmasters

13 May 2017

Suhas was innovative in his speech Selling Anything.  He talked about tips on pitching oneself using the example of selling pens.  He concluded his speech saying if he failed to sell the pens to us, at least we could use the pens to vote for him as the Best Speaker.  He successfully got the majority of us to support him.

Besides Suhas, there were five other full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) among us that meeting.  Youngsters nowadays equip themselves with skills and make constructive use of their spare time.  It’s admirable.  Though we welcome fresh blood, I was very frank with these five who were visiting to find out more, and told them that they should visit other clubs to check out the vibes.  They must be comfortable with the club members especially when Toastmasters isn’t compulsory.  In a way, I was not selling our club but I prefer that members join willingly, voluntarily and wholeheartedly.

KUTMC had the honour of having Toastmasters Tushar, Jacky, Vernon and Gerald visited us.  I was smart not to let this golden opportunity slip by without having Tushar, Jacky and Gerald share their Toastmasters journeys with us.

Gerald quipped that some toastmasters became DTMs – not Distinguished Toastmasters (highest level a Toastmaster would attain) but disappeared Toastmaster.

It was sheer coincidence when Tushar delivered his speech on Successful Club series, which is an outline of Toastmasters programme, helping the five NSFs understand better.

Vernon would be Jacky’s successor as the Area Director for our club next term.  He became Word of the Day unplanned when we realised that Ajoy did not know he’s scheduled to take on the appointment role.  Despite being an impromptu act, Vernon played the role effortlessly and he even offered valuable tips on rhetorical devices.

The theme of the meeting was Mothers’ Day and I was tasked with Table Topics.  But instead of coming up with topics related to a mother’s traits, I had a play on the words “mother” and “mum”.  Hence, the topics were “Mother Teresa”, “mother country”, “Mumbai”, “mummy” (a dead body that is prevented from decaying by being treated with special substances before being wrapped in cloth), “mother tongue” and “mother figure” etc.

Chen Kuang, being the Toastmaster of the Day, designed an icebreaker for us to act out the various scenarios of Tiger Mum.  Jean being the only mother among us started the ball rolling, of course.

*I didn’t deliver an opening speech but used the slot to have the visiting Toastmasters share their journeys with us.

Suhas wasn’t only selling pens, but also clinched the Best Speaker title in the process.


Guests Outnumber Members

We had a Toastmaster’s session today and guess what, the number of guests exceeded that of members.

There were only seven members while there were at least 12 guests either from other clubs or they were Anthonious’ friends.  But Tricia’s effort was commendable, despite losing her voice, she attended and participated.

It reminded me of Garry’s reminder- why we walked through that door in the first place – when I noticed that members were outnumbered by guests.  Not that I minded because it was a different experience to have many guests among us.  They offered their perspectives, their advice and their experience.

Among the guests, there was Angela Lansbury from UK, Marshall from a local club Star Millennium, and a couple with their three kids (and maid) in tow.  Wasn’t that lovely?

Michelle doubled as Toastmaster of the Day in addition to being the evaluator for the speech by guest speaker Harsh.  She cleverly used master, expert and guru to avoid over-using one of these terms.  A pointer I must remind myself.

I did my project 4 today.  I was grateful to Pradeep (my evaluator) as well as Gerald and Anthonius (the last two volunteered their suggestions) for their evaluations.  Besides their evaluation, I would perform my own review, as usual.

While I did much more rehearsals than I did for my project 3, I still did not manage to perform to what I had planned it to be.  I reckoned this was due to public speaking anxiety.  I think that I was very inhibited and not open, after seeing how Harsh delivered his speech.  This is a weakness I must work on too.

And I forgot to read the Evaluation Guide on the last page of the project to see what is expected of me, on top of the objectives for this project.

In addition, I never know how I should stand or pace around the podium.  If permitted, I would like to remove my shoes and stand or walk barefooted to make myself as comfy as possible.  Anthonius has observed the way I placed my feet as he sat just next to me.  He also said I had blocked the slides. (Reminder: check the screen before I start my speech to ensure I won’t be in the way of audience’s view)

Here are Pradeep’s and Gerald’s learned evaluations of my speech:


  • Make clear the objectives and lead the audience through a clear structure, eg, How many of you would like to fall in love (Oh, but my objective is just to inform audience what trigger the reactions when they see the persons they like)
  • Conclusion should summarise the essence of my speech in case some audience members had missed parts of it, and tie it in with the opening.



Pradeep’s outline for his speech on evaluation of my Project 4.


  • The project is How To Say It, it’s not about informing the audience but to use rhetorical devices to help them conjure up images
  • Example of this project speech could be about an event – a walk in the park
  • Could learn forward when asking “Did you know”