Sunday, March 3, 2019

Stepping Out of Her Comfort Zone: Ms. Chin's Toastmasters Journey

When we start out in our toastmasters journey, things may seem scary at first as with all things that require changing ourselves, we would have to step out of our comfort zones.

Below, Miss Chin Wee Kean, also a proud member of D' Utama Toastmasters Club, shared her story of her journey, from when she started out till now. We hope by reading her story, you will be inspired to follow in her footsteps and better ourselves in language and communication. Don't worry, there will be plenty of Toastmasters that will help you along the way!


~ 台上一分钟,台下十年功 ~

In 2001, I embarked on my Toastmaster’s journey by joining D’Utama Toastmasters Club in Kuala Lumpur, to improve my English and public speaking skills.

I remember the first time I introduced myself as a visiting guest. I was so nervous and couldn’t even pronounce “Toastmasters” properly.

My first role was as the Timer. I remember that I spent lots of time preparing the script, asking my first mentor, Lee Oi Loon, to check my grammar and sought my friend’s help with my pronunciation.

The night before, I was so anxious I didn’t sleep. When I delivered the Timer’s report, I had butterflies in my stomach, and I kept forgetting to say the “s” after “minutes” and “seconds”.

I failed, and embarrassed myself again and again in that first 3 years.

I didn’t give up because Toastmasters International was such a supportive, encouraging and friendly platform to learn and to fail.

I even joined a Mandarin Toastmasters Club and participated in the contests.

In 2004, I moved to Hong Kong(HK). During our 4 years in HK, I had my first born baby, I continued my Toastmasters journey with Victoria Toastmasters Club for about 2 years, and I also started my French lesson at L'Alliance Française for about one year.

In 2008, I moved to SIngapore, where I was a member, Vice President of Membership, VP Education, and President of Bukit Timah CC Toastmasters Club. I spent about 6 years in Toastmasters learning different valuable skills. I continued my French lesson for about one year with L'Alliance Française and I had my second baby.

In 2015, I moved to Shanghai (SH).
Recently, I decided to go back to Toastmasters, a platform where I was actively involved for about 11 years in total since 2001.

In 2019, I bravely took up a new challenge. I attended a French speaking Toastmasters Club in SH.

Before I visited the club, I contacted the VPE and volunteered to be the Timer, although my French is even more broken than my English when I started Toastmasters in 2001!

I told the VPE, Gloria, that I know how to be a Timer, but I don’t know how to do it in French. To which, she was so kindly sent me a script!!

I was also very cheeky to ask the Club President, Susan, whether she could send me the voice recording! To which, she said yes, and sent me voice recordings recorded with her beautiful voice.

I spent the whole night memorising the script and didn’t sleep at all as I was feeling I was going to drop into an abyss!

When I stepped into the meeting venue though, I immediately felt very welcomed. I introduced my role rather nervously with my not so very smooth reading. While recording the time, I kept asking the kind lady, Caroline, who sat next to me, how to pronounce certain numbers as I couldn’t think of anything else. When I presented my report, I think I made lots of mistakes. And, I only understood about 50% of the French spoken during the meeting!

It was rather embarrassing and stressful to start something new. But I know, as long as I insist and persist, I will be able to harvest the fruits of my hard work one day.

I’m waiting for that day to come.

In the meantime, let me kick-start the agonising process of learning, memorising, trying and failing, again and again!

Wish me luck!!

Ps: To all my mentors from D’Utama TMC, Victoria TMC and BTCCTMC, Gloria, Susan, Caroline, and all the TM friends who helped me along the way, I’m forever grateful for your kindness and support!