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.


Thought-provoking Speeches

28 February 2016

Garry in opening address reminded us why we joined the Toastmasters’ club. He said the club has about 120 members but there would only be about 20 attendees every session.

It was a timely reminder – at least to me – because the thought of quitting fleeted across my mind when I was preparing my present project. I found this time- consuming. It took me roughly two weeks to draft and practise a speech.  I am impressed by Taichi who has consistently been delivering a prepared speech every month and his projects were not short of research for the subject.

Newcomer Sheila did her maiden speech and kudos to her, her performance was good and she was calm. Her speech titled “Searching for my place in the sun” has a lesson for me as well. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I was once. Currently I am lost and stuck in a rut, in dire need to find “my place in the sun”.

Taichi reflected on his relationship with his parents and how it improved after he learned to appreciate kinship while living in India for four years. As usual, this speaker was methodical/scientific, he estimated he would have a total of only 25 days in the next decade with his elderly father. I reckon that he will probably go back to Japan soon to spend more time with his parents. We’ll miss this Toastmaster.

Angela was table topics master and the topics that surfaced in this session included your most memorable experience, something about you that surprises others and your dream job.

These reminded me of oral exam questions and among the topics, “dream job” was the one that I think I could tickle a funny bone or two. I would say playing Santa Claus would be my dream job. It’s simple and it works only one day in a year and it is a popular personality.

I was glad Angela “picked” me – she was looking at me when inviting speakers for the table topics.  I wanted to buck up after reflecting on my performance at the Toastmasters in recent months and had felt that I had not been speaking enough.  I talked about my flat feet as something that would surprise others.  Perhaps it wasn’t surprising as none of the fellow Toastmasters looked amazed.  I did not come up with a structure before I spoke.   There should be an opening, body and closing.  I need improvement in impromptu speaking and lots of practice to achieve thinking and speaking on the feet.

Besides speeches that caused one to do some introspection, a speech by visiting Toastmaster from Buona Vista, was greatly entertaining and his delivery was almost perfect.  Joyce was as entertaining as Tushar in her evaluation of his speech and she was clever in the play of words, eg both dead fish and dead-end job stink but he’s the largest catch in the tank. Excellent!