Saturday, October 22, 2011

My greatest moment as a toastmaster

Just a few months ago, I had achieved what I would call my greatest moment yet in my toastmaster’s journey.
It was an unforgettable evening, for it was the first time I had won the “best speaker” award. I was happy,
overjoyed at my growth since the start of my journey, and what made it more memorable was that I won
the “best table topics speaker” award in the same night. These awards were hard to get, especially when you
are in a club with so many talented speakers! To win these awards I had to change entire perception of giving
speeches, for in the beginning my goal was to complete all the speeches as soon as possible.

That time, my motto was “give a speech as fast as possible to get your CC title as soon as possible.”

Why so? Because I thought if you rushed through the manual, you would be closer to a better public speaker.
In addition, I thought people would be impressed by it and I aimed to complete my CC manual under a year.

There was something wrong after my fifth speech. I felt no satisfaction from my speech. It was dry and I feared
that joining toastmasters was a mistake. I knew I had to change my style or else I would quit the club soon.
I started to change my approach to preparing speeches. I began by first observing other speakers in each
meeting and tried my best to learn from them to prepare my future speeches. The privilege of being in a club
such as D’Utama Toastmasters is that you have the opportunity of hearing great speeches made by the most
experienced members. We have many specialists such as Bing Yee when it comes to storytelling and Alex Tan
when it comes to motivation. And when you pay close attention to their speeches, you would pick up bits of
skills they use to make the very best of their speeches.

I also started asking people for advice on delivering speeches. I even arranged a 30 minute talk with my
mentor. Eventually, I came out with a list of guidelines from all that I have learnt.

1.) Craft your speech towards your strengths. That way I become a unique speaker as I defer myself from

others.

2.) Be passionate about your topic. This lets me have a sense of power which I use to drag the audience

to my rhythm.

3.) Try to always share an experience about yourself. This gives me credibility, assurance and the

confidence to deliver my speech.

All my speeches then incorporated these guidelines. When I delivered my next speech I felt satisfaction, it
was incredible for I experienced my own improvements first-hand! The feeling of delivering the speech itself
was too overwhelming that I considered winning the best speaker award a bonus. The real reward was the
satisfaction of improvement of each new speech.

Now my motto is “Take your time to make the next speech the best speech you could ever give in your life”.

This motto pushes me to make each speech memorable, which I believed was the main contributing factor
when I won both awards that evening. Now, I take my time to plan and incorporate lessons that I have learnt
into preparing each speech.

Many others justify their speech rush motto by stating that they will get more speech practice by giving more
speeches. I do not see it that way. To me the the best speech practice is to volunteer for every table topic
session! That’s how I practice to make each prepared speech better than the last!

Written by,
Tan Yu Sing