Manish’s “Exorcising the Demons” was one of the most inspiring speeches and his personal best to date, I think. He recounted how he sucked at public speaking at first, especially with so many eyes on him when he made a public speech over a decade ago. He, at the suggestion of his then-superior, joined Toastmasters in 2004. But he did not persist and dropped out half-way.
He knew he had to do it when he rejoined in 2014. He told us he blanked out when he was doing his project 3. However, that didn’t deter him. By April this year, when he was told by his boss over drinks that they would go on stage the following day to address an audience, though he was still frightful, it was a different Manish this time.
Having done a few projects by then, he was no longer the Manish he was a decade ago nor the Manish when he was delivering his project 3.
The words that he used for this speech were so vivid that I could feel what he was going through – the nervousness that gripped him when 30 pairs of eyes were on him. He described the state as a deer in the headlights.
Manish had a message for us – it’s not late to join Toastmasters. A quote that Manish used left me a deeper impression. It was Neale Donald Walsch’s Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
Besides Manish, there was Toastmaster Edwin who completed his project 10 as well. In accordance with the tradition, there was a cake to celebrate the completion of P10.
However, there was another reason for celebration – it’s Taichi’s birthday on 17th. We celebrated his birthday in advance. It was heartwarming to see three grown-up men of different age groups, nationalities and races to blow out candles together. Toastmasters brought us together.
I still sucked at Table Topics. I must confess I haven’t put in much effort on this impromptu speaking segment. The most I have done is to tackle a topic every meeting. It isn’t enough as I would only be blabbering nonsense without a structure. I would work on it if I continue with Toastmasters after my break.
It was my fourth attempt at Toastmaster of the Day. After it was set that I would be the TMD, I brainstormed for an icebreaker and I was pretty delighted with my ideas “Bonding over bonds”, with members divided into two teams with each team having the same number of participants. The first member would read a message and then softly pass the message to the second, with the latter whispering to the third. This was to be done out of the earshot of others as both teams got the same messages – to be fair.
The messages were about the financial instrument, bonds. I wanted to make it fun for most of the members who might not have much knowledge of the fixed income product type. What I did was to use terms with the word “bond” such as vagabond, James Bond and vanilla bond.
The other message was about the different types of bonds associated with various countries. The catch was they were not obvious. Bulldog, Panda, Merlion and Kangaroo, which do you think was non-existent?
Lastly, there were dim sum bond, kimchi bond, sushi bond and Tom Yum bond, the last was a figment of my imagination. Hey, but didn’t it sound real as all these bore the names of signature dishes of the places where the bonds were sold – Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan respectively. I had wanted to use Laksa bond but this dish was available in Malaysia and Singapore whereas Tom Yum is known to be a national dish of Thailand, and this would put it on par with dim sum, kimchi and sushi.
After the meeting, when I went to get the badges from Taichi for the installation ceremony (he would not be present on 24th), he said he likes Jean and me very much. I remember Edward has said this is a thankless job, and I never expect to be thanked. Despite that, knowing that your efforts have not gone unnoticed was rewarding.
I told him I won’t be seeing him, since both of us would be taking a break from Toastmasters. As what I told Jean later, putting in too much feelings isn’t good for me and it’s perhaps time to step away.
After all, I am a free spirit.
Jean and Lynn were very sweet, they each got me gifts, including a plush toy of my favourite character Doraemon. Jeremy, after learning that I would be stepping down and taking a break, offered to treat me to a meal.
These gestures melt my heart.