Friday, December 10, 2010

Club Visits in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Shanghai

Distinguished Toastmaster, Soh Fong Wai recently made a trip to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Shanghai and managed to visit Toastmasters clubs in each city! Here, he speaks to the Vice-President of Public Relations, Hoo Sze Ling, CC, about what he learnt and observed from these clubs, and just how different they are from D’Utama Toastmasters Club!

Hoo Sze Ling, Vice-President of Public Relations : You visited Toastmasters Clubs in these 3 cities: Taiwan, Hong Kong and Shanghai recently.

Soh Fong Wai, Distinguished Toastmaster : I love club visits, most club have their own unique club culture and I am glad I had the chance to experience some of them in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

HSL : Which specific club did you go to?

SFW : The clubs I visited are as follows:

Taiwan-Prestige Toastmasters Club, Taipei
Hong Kong- Dynamic Toastmasters Club, Kowloon Toastmasters Club & Victoria Toastmasters Club
Shanghai-Amazing Friday Toastmasters Club, Lighthouse Toastmasters Club

HSL : Who were the key people you met in each club? Did you meet any Toastmasters in these clubs who really impressed you or were outstanding?

SFW : Yes, a person called Irene, who is a past Division Governor of Hong Kong. She shared many tips with me on how to make a club meeting successful. She had a very unique plan to help the new members to progress with their journey in Toastmasters.

HSL : What did you observe/learn from these clubs?


With Prestige Toastmasters Club, Taiwan - members focus on improving their language. The Language Evaluator‘s report is delivered after the General Evaluator’s Report. The Language Evaluator has 5 minutes for their report and the General Evaluator’s use of language is evaluated by the Language Evaluator too. Their meeting is held in a “coffee house”, very special indeed.

As for Dynamic Toastmasters Club, Hong Kong – the President is a senior Toastmaster as well as a Past Division Governor. Meeting attendance is good. Members need to “fight” for slots as Table Topics speakers and join a queue for speaking slots. Excellent leadership is evident here and it is a club with many strengths including :

1) Extra awards to motivate members to progress with their communication and leadership track
2) Lots of additional social activities to improve members’ bonding
3) Creative educational plan for new members
4) Senior Members actively involved in club meeting
5) Excellent Meeting quality
6) Many guests in each meeting
7) Senior members of the club help the club to build future leaders
8) The club promote both the leadership and communication track

In Kowloon Toastmasters Club, Hong Kong - Many professional members, good meeting attendance & a very friendly environment.

In Victoria Toastmasters Club, Hong Kong – The oldest Club in Hong Kong, the culture of this club is involves an “after-meeting dinner” and members have great fellowship and bonding after their regular meeting. The average cost per dinner is RM50/= or more and Gate fees (excluding food) is approximately RM25. So prepare to pay for RM75/= per meeting in Hong Kong!

Amazing Friday Toastmasters Club, Shanghai- Attendance reaches more than 80 people at every meeting! The club focuses on building leadership skills. They meet every Friday evening, 4 meetings a month and each meeting includes a small session which invites successful young entrepreneurs to share their success stories. Such sessions are very relevant to people who wanted to start their own business and they manage to attract many young, enthusiastic members.

Lighthouse Toastmasters Club, Shanghai- has a very nice meeting venue, meetings are very similar to that conducted at D’Utama Toastmasters Club. This club’s main focus is communication

HSL : How different were these clubs from D’Utama Toastmasters Club and what ways were they different? Is there anything that we can perhaps take from those clubs and implement in our own club?

SFW : The strength of DUtama Toastmaster’s Club is that we focus on communication and fellowship. We have good evaluation for members and on the whole, members speak reasonably good English.

Sometimes I feel we should also recognize the importance of leadership skills as this will lead to a successful career. A club must encourage members to move forward in both communication and leadership track to truly maximize their potential.

A successful club in my view is one which has many sound and strong leaders in its midst.

Our advantage over most of the clubs I visited is that D'Utama has a very comfortable meeting venue, compared to Hong Kong, Taiwan and Shanghai. Many clubs in Kuala Lumpur are lucky because we can have the furniture arranged in a U-shaped fashion, which is one of the most conducive formats for Toastmasters meetings. In countries like Hong Kong, Taipei and Shanghai, rental of premise can be expensive and many clubs do not have U-shaped meeting arrangement.
HSL : Fong Wai, thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I believe you have inspired some of our members to visit more clubs, especially those abroad and others may also realise that our club's door fee of RM10 now seem so miniscule compared to what others have to pay!

N.B. All photos have been provided courtesy of Soh Fong Wai, DTM.