Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Find Your Talent

It was a dark and stormy night... or was it? Oops... sorry maybe it was only a little storm brewing in the room of the ‘D’Utama Teacup’ prior to the start of Speaker’s Night. Being role-play free, I was oblivious to it all. Having found a seat, I sat down comfortably, relaxed and got into chat mode with our lovely guest. It was nice. I also knew I would enjoy listening to able members present their speeches later.

In a blink of an eye though, all that changed.
A gentle lady named Ooi Li Ann, graciously sidled up to my table and asked with a sense of urgency, “We need a TME to run the show. Can you help?” Feeling like a bolt of lightning had struck, I was momentarily stunned. Speechlessness pervaded which is rare for me! I looked at her pleading eyes. In a split second I had to make a choice. Would it be me saying “No, no, I’m not prepared, I’m really comfortable here,” or “Okay, this will be a challenge, if I can help…why not?”
Much to Li Ann’s relief I uttered the words, “Okay I’ll help.”

Now I was out of my comfort ZONE big time! I have to mention this because ‘normally’ if I decide to take on the role of TME I’m a person who plans weeks in advance, and I mean weeks, making sure I know the speakers and role-players etc. I would even have a script prepared to guide me through.

This was not the case. I knew zilch… or did I?
I had only 5 minutes to get ready... YIKES! Double Yikes in fact!
However, all was not lost. Glancing at the programme Calvin had prepared, I saw three little words jump back me ‘ FIND YOUR TALENT.’ Was this the night of discovery for me? What was my talent? Could I appear calm, cool and collect as I presented ‘Toastmasters’ to guests and fellow friends via impromptu style? A style I liked. And then again would I be diving into a dark hole of nothingness, Help!

Luckily the ‘gods were smiling upon me.’ I was backed by a formidable team of very capable and supportive role-players. Their smiles and nods were reassuring as I ploughed my way through the evening.
So what if I forgot the exact date when Toastmasters was formed…did it matter?
And when I had a few hiccups and slip-ups with pronouncing names… what could you do but laugh it off with Toastmaster friends.

My task was made all the more pleasant because no dark clouds of boredom formed on the horizon. The audience was kept at bay by the ‘golden rays of sunshine’ in the form of talented and brilliant speakers like TAN Geok Ann, Ooi Li Ann, Jessy Chahal, Johnson Yike, Vijay Balasagaram and Joanne TAN. They all spoke with conviction, confidence and had smooth deliveries captivating their listeners.

Fortunately, my trump card for the night was to have a compassionate General Evaluator Marcus Loi. He led his experienced speech evaluators Teoh Chun Ming, Henry Fu CL, G.Sivalingam, DTM ,Low Yat Seow DTM, and Allen Kam ATM-B with gusto while encouraging Yee Lai Heng and Ian Cheong on their dutuies.

When the evening was over, I felt really, really glad I attempted to do something I usually wouldn’t do? Opportunity knocked and I opened the door. I realized it’s easy staying in the ‘Safe train of COMFORT’, who doesn’t like that, but do we learn anything? By making a decision of riding the ‘Rollercoaster of Uncertainty’, by being the impromptu TME role allowed me to FIND a Talent I didn’t know existed. So make a choice everyone as you continue on your journey of Toastmasters. Challenge yourself on your next role-plays, impromptu or otherwise and discover your hidden talents with Toastmasters.

by Lim Bing Yee
TME, 5th June 2008