Last Chapter Meeting During My Term as President

24th June 2017

Unlike last year’s installation ceremony that was attended by the who’s who in the local Toastmasters scene, it was a no fanfare but cozy event this year that saw the attendance of only senior members and an invited guest from another club.

I didn’t know what the incoming committee thought about the lack of heavyweights but I preferred it this way. After all, this was an important event to the club, it’s great to keep it to those who matter and those the club matters to.

Besides the installation ceremony, there was the usual chapter meeting. Suhas who was supposed to be the Toastmaster of the Day was mobilised last minute for national day parade rehearsal on the day we had the meeting. Fortunately, Kate saved the day by agreeing to stand in for Suhas at such short notice. Credit must be given to Suhas as well because when he was notified about the unexpected army deployment, he has had his script written out – in detail. It really helped Kate, who had never been the host of the chapter meeting.

Generally the meeting went well. Where there were hiccups, Kate reacted fast enough to turn things around. Being TMD trains one’s responsiveness and affords one room for creativity. That’s why I relish being a TMD.

It’s heartening to see members taking on responsibilities, and they learned and improved in the process.

I ended the session with a brief closing speech:

Thank you for your participation, especially thanks to EGG,  Edward Ma, Gideon and George, as well as guests who joined us in this special occasion.

That is the end of today’s meeting.

With this, my executive committee has completed our term. We wish Puspita and her team a successful term in leading the club to greater heights. And you a fruitful toastmasters journey in the coming term.

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Trivia

25th March 2017

Edwin broke the ice with demonstration of a trick, changing two cards from black to red and vice versa in the blink of an eye.  This was to go with the theme he set – the Magic of Believing. He was swift in movement and most of us did not catch his sleight of hand.

After his magic performance, there was a small  birthday celebration for Pradeep.  Taichi noted that I remembered the birthdays of fellow Toastmasters. But I merely gleaned the information from the club’s whatsapp chat group.  I hope the celebration would liven up meeting’s atmosphere while making the birthday boys/girls feel valued.

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Edwin performing sleight of hand

There were a few speakers and some of them did not look nervous.  One of them was Shanmugam or affectionately known as Shan.  His smiles prompted Taichi’s query, upon which he revealed that he did feel the nerves.  See, that’s a way to mask one’s jitters and it is to smile 🙂

Suhas did his project two and he was as cool as a cucumber.  His evaluator Lu Bin wondered why he joined Toastmasters since his presentation skill was pretty good.  General evaluator Taichi commented that this 20-year-old would have a very bright future ahead of him.  Indeed but hope he would not let all these compliments go to his head and change this promising young man.

Titus, on the other hand, has a different personality.  He might not be extroverted but he has his strengths.  He preceded his speech with a note of thanks to Edwin for being the Toastmaster of the Day as well as a brief comment on Anantha’s speech. He just needs some time to open up, I think, and his personable character would endear him to strangers.

I delivered on my promise to Jean, whom I had requested to make sure I would tackle a Table Topic.  I talked about my adventure in San Francisco.  Time flies, it’s been 14 years and it was the number one activity on my bucket list then.

Lastly, I am certain that the time has come for me to take a break.  I can’t focus as well as I used to be able to, and I am running out of ideas to write this blog.  In fact, the programme sheet I was in charge of for last meeting had the mission statement truncated. Well, I supposed that’s a cue for me to exit…

Magic of Believing

25th March 2017

To coincide with the theme set by Toastmaster of the Day, Edwin – the Magic of Believing, I delivered the following opening speech.

What’s the magic of believing? Edwin talked about having a strong belief to achieve one’s goals.  I have a different take on this.  To me, it is believing that one day people or circumstances would change in your favour.

Edwin, when did you join Kampong Ubi Toastmasters? When was your maiden attempt at Toastmaster of the Day?

Did you know this Toastmaster told me he didn’t want to take on stressful roles like Table Topics speaker or Toastmaster of the Day, even though he’s more than capable of handling them.

Don’t you think he’s done a splendid job so far? Please give him a round of applause.

But his wish is to be the perpetual Table Topics master so that he would be able to avoid impromptu speaking.

I’m not a pushy person and Toastmasters is about fostering a relaxed learning environment.  Hence, I respect his decision. But deep in my heart, I hope he would change his mind one day.

Despite being adamant about it, Edwin gamely delivered his maiden Table Topics speech last month when he drew a sweet with a number. And he was the best table topics speaker for that meeting!

Last week, when he knew that I didn’t have enough evaluators for prepared speeches and was still short of Toastmaster of the Day, he offered to postpone his project and instead take on the role of Toastmaster of the Day.

It was very sweet of him, wasn’t it?

What’s this got to do with the magic of believing? To me, it’s believing that a day would come when people or circumstances would change in your favour.

If you have noticed, our whatsapp chat group includes a few former members who did not renew their membership this term because they have gone on to pursue other interests. I made a conscious decision not to remove them from the chat group because I believe their absence is temporary. I was heartened when I learned last week that two of them are keen to rejoin us.

It is not about boosting the membership of kutmc, which I could boast that we’ve no lack of new members.  It’s the fun and friendship that every one of you offers that we value.

So, even if you don’t want to do projects, don’t want to assume appointment roles, and don’t want to attend meetings, we would be here for you because we believe you would change your mind one day, because we believe your absence is only temporary, because we believe we’re too fun and friendly that you would miss us if you step away for too long.

Let’s have fun and get on with our meeting. Toastmaster of the Day.

Ha Ha Ha…

It had been quite some time since our meeting had so much fun. But thanks to Toastmaster Angela, who spoke on laughter yoga, and got us laughing, lifted our energy level and broke the ice among members and guests.

Coincidentally, we were assessed by the area director Jacky at this meeting, so we were lucky to have Angela spiced up the meeting.

Angela would have been the club President but her work projects assigned to her last minute made her give up the post and I took over.

Besides Angela, I’d like to highlight Prabhakar’s commendable effort. He was the Toastmaster of the Day for the first time and he not only had a script but also emailed it to us before the meeting to proofread.

Taichi spoke about his job interview for his Humorously Speaking manual. Toastmasters didn’t appreciate it when he said:

“One of the common questions you may be asked during job interviews is ‘where do you see yourself in 5 years?’ I found the correct answer to this question… ‘in a mirror’.

He also talked about his experience but his experience wasn’t peculiar to him as it reflects the current situation most employees are facing:

I learnt important lessons from this experience. Preparation is most important for job interviews. This is especially true if I am doing the same job for many years. What I do every day may not be necessarily helpful to get me next job.

An even more important lesson was that this experience made me realize, although I was working very hard in my last job, I did not try to expand my knowledge or improve my skill.

But Taichi being the optimistic Taichi said:

There is one good thing that I did not expect. While I studied for the job interviews, I found computer science very interesting. So, I am still studying it now even after I got the new job. Thanks to this experience, I like what I’m doing more than before.

Perfect 10

There were only 10 of us at the chapter meeting on 27 August.  Occasionally, we do see a quieter and as a result shorter meeting because of fewer attendees.

When I was checking with Toastmasters if they would be doing their projects at this meeting, many of them replied that they wouldn’t be attending.  As a result, Toastmasters like Taichi had to take on a few roles.  He was the Sergeant-At-Arms, the Toastmaster of the Day and an evaluator.

I told him it seemed like he was running the whole show.  He had participated in Table Topics segment as well, being the first speaker selected by Table Topics master Tricia.  He always impresses me.  He said while he is over 40 years old and having hit the performance plateau in marathon running, he would still expect to improve his performance.

Prabhakar presented “Diligent” as the Word of the Day.  Tricia, Taichi and Pradeep told Prabhakar that he had shown improvement in his public speaking.  When he delivered his maiden speech, he was nervous and stiff, now he was confident.

Not only this, Prabhakar knew that he was busy and didn’t have the time to prepare a project but he tried to participate by volunteering to do Word of the Day.  His attitude and spirit were commendable.

Jun hoped to do Table Topics 10 times in a year and also learn diving, when he shared his goals during the Table Topics segment.

There was a bright spot this past week.  Taichi has got a job, after months of searching.  Thank you to Toastmaster Steven who helped to set up an interview for Taichi. Taichi said that it had been a learning experience for him in attending interviews and learning to answer the questions.  The last time he looked for a job was five years ago and it was done in Japan.  This serves as a timely reminder for all employees: stay up-to-date with your skills including the ability to handle interviews.

(Left) Prabhakar presents Word of the Day.
(Right) Perfect 10

President

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.

Guess what?

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.

Thank you.

** Was not delivered because Angela was absent.

Toastmaster of the Day, Episode 3

14 May 2016

I thought I would improve my performance as a Toastmaster of the Day this time round but I felt that it was a letdown.

Bearing in mind the lesson I learned from being a Toastmaster of the Day in March – my second time as one – I did my preparation this time but having worked late the past week did not afford me the luxury to be better prepared.  Also, the fact that I finished work only at 11.30pm on Friday, I was not as alert as I wish I were.  Therefore, I relied a lot on my script and not doing enough ad lib, tapping contents from the speeches of other speakers.

Or perhaps I don’t have sufficient practice, I wonder.

What I should have done:

  • After welcoming the Toastmasters and guests, draw their attention to the amendments to the programme – which I did but quite late in the day.
  • Talked about the importance of making eye contact, before gathering Toastmasters to the side of the room to play the game.
  • After introducing the Table Topics Master, I should be the one explaining what this segment is about and the time allotted.
  • During the Evaluation segment, I should have mentioned the time alloted for each evaluator.

Here’s my script but it wasn’t complete.


Introduction

Good afternoon, the president, Fellow Toastmasters and guests, I’m Peck Gek, your Toastmaster of the Day.

Welcome to the  【★   】 chapter meeting of Kampong Ubi Toastmasters Club.

Shall we stand up and recite the club’s mission to remind ourselves the benefits of being a member of this club.

Please be seated, thank you.

 

★Game
Making eye contact is important when delivering a speech but sometimes we are too shy to look at people in the eye but making eye contact establishes an immediate bond with an audience.

We are going to play a game to practise making eye contact.  The game is called Wink Murder.

Every one of you will draw a card but please don’t show it to others.  The person who draws an Ace  is the murderer and kills by winking at your victims,

You must not avoid making eye contact with one another because the objective is to identify the murderer while trying not to be killed. 

But you get instantly killed giving an incorrect guess.

When you are winked at, you’re killed and you can “die” in any way,  quietly or make it known.

 

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Who’s the Wink Murderer? 

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★Opening Address

It has been sometime since we last heard from Jun, who has been missing in action.  He’s going to address us today.

 

★Speeches

Before we proceed with the prepared speeches, I’d like to first introduce two appointment holders for today’s meeting, they are Manish  as the Timer and Lynn as the Ah-counter.

Timer will flash at the 【★   】  minute flash the green card, 【★   】   minute the yellow card, the 【★   】 minute the red card followed by a buzz at 【★   】 minutes.

The Ah-counter keeps track of the pause-fillers a Toastmaster uses in his or her speech, eg umm, so,etc.

We will have the timer and ah counter deliver their reports later.

 

We have got  [★Number                         ] Toastmasters delivering prepared speeches today.

Edwin

Edwin clinched the Best Speaker title for his project 4 and today he’s going to share with us for Project 5,  interesting insights into corporate finance, stakeholders and creating value.

Title of his speech is “Corporate Finance – ‘Creative’ numbers”.

Evaluator for Edwin’s speech is  Taichi, Competent Communicator.

Taichi, please read out the objectives of  Project 5 and the time allotted.

Thank you, Taichi.

Edwin please.

Subject on finance is a favourite topic of one of our Toastmasters, Steven.  Now Edwin is probably giving Steven a run for his money [pun intended].

 

Lynn

Lynn is doing her project 10 and she’ll be a competent communicator upon completion.  Title of her speech is The 99 Club. Garry, Competent Toastmaster, Competent Leader, is evaluating Lynn’s speech this afternoon and let’s hear from Garry on the project’s objectives and time allotted. 

Thank you, Garry.


Do you want to find out how to join this club?  Find out from Lynn.  There you go, Lynn.


So, that’s The 99 Club. Would you want to join?

 

Manish

Manish talked about his gym-going experience and how he went from flab to fab for the last project.  Today, he is doing his project 7: Research Your Topic, and his speech is about…hmm… I think this is really going to benefit me…. the title of his speech is From Stupid to Smart. 

Manish’s speech will be evaluated by Ajoy,  and Ajoy, please tell us about the project’s objectives and time allotted. Thank you,  Ajoy.

From Stupid to Smart, Manish. 


Thank you for the enlightening speech, Manish.

 

Garry

Garry’s embarking on Project 1 from The Entertaining Speaker advanced manual and the speech is coincidentally titled “Little Foot: Small Steps to Big Changes”

Synopsis: Last Thursday I was invited to speak as Guest of Honour to a group of junior college students. The occasion was the Installation of their new Interact Club board. I spoke to the incoming board’s theme (referred to below) with some ideas of my own
 

The theme for the incoming board is:

“From the movie ‘The Land Before Time’, it talks about a group of dinosaurs led by Little Foot. The film explores issues of prejudice faced by the different species, just like the people with special needs in our community. Our aim is to create a homogeneous community, where people accept one another for their differences.

As one CCA, no matter what differences, we will have to work together. We cannot get through things on our own all the time and may need to involve the help of others. Being able to work with others enable us to overcome obstacles and challenges that we may face throughout our Interact journey. Similarly to Little foot and together with our united club, our aim is to make great impacts in our community through the small actions that we make.”

Garry’s speech will be evaluated by Cathy, Competent Communicator, Please tell us about the project’s objectives and time allotted. Thank you.


★Table Topics

★★an excellent way to help members develop their ability to organize their thoughts quickly and respond to an impromptu question or topic. Today’s topics are: ★★

Timer [★Name                        ] will flash at the 【★   】  minute flash the green card, 【★   】   minute the yellow card, the 【★   】 minute the red card followed by a buzz at 【★   】 minutes.