Monday, September 14, 2015

Announcement: No Meeting on 14 Sept 2015

Special Announcement from Mid Valley Toastmasters Club:

Once again, there will be no meeting tonight (14 September 2015, Mon).

It will resume back on 28 September 2015 (Mon) - 2nd meeting of the month.
Members and guests, please take note on the changes.

Thank you & have a nice day!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Meeting #264: United We Stand (Written by Lawrence Khoo, Edited by Mak Kum Shi)

If there is one word to describe the people behind Mid Valley Toastmasters Club, it has to be the word ‘united’. Great empires persist over generations on the backbone of unity and there is no coincidence that this simple understanding has brought Mid Valley Toastmasters Club well into its 264th meeting.

It is always an inspiration to witness a group of like-minded individuals being affiliated with one another, doing the things they love, and finding a common purpose. If being ‘united’ is the theme, then ‘affiliated’ is a befitting word of the day.
The meeting began on time (more or less), thanks to our Sergeant-at-Arms Garrick Lim, who quickly made way for our lovely President Chong Carmen to inject some early doses of adrenaline to get the crowd going.

Carmen had set the tone for a good evening with the story of her 5-year old nephew from whom she drew valuable leadership lessons. She went on to acknowledge the unwavering commitment and contribution from the EXCO team and concluded by calling each and every one to always lead by example. That’s the first step towards a united team!

Toastmaster of the evening (TME) Ryan Ting did well in keeping everyone engaged throughout the meeting with his wit and composure. After the usual introductory rounds, the table topics session took centre stage with Sky Siew at the helm presenting five different speech titles to eager participants who volunteered themselves for the challenge.

Impromptu speeches like these are no easy feat and having a go at it was already an achievement. Chris was the first in line and he spoke about how sports can unite a country.

Chee Yong continued the momentum in his passionate speech on how a ‘yes man’ culture can only bring us as far as survival is concerned. What’s more important is being true to ourselves even if it means saying ‘no’. But I guess it will take a lot of courage and maturity to take a contrarian view in a society that has difficulty embracing differences.

We also gave one of our guest, Yi Zhe, who went through a baptism of fire and kudos to him for keeping his nerves to tell us about his views on how a nation’s leader must be supported by the citizens in order to move forward. Meanwhile, Ian was in his element in describing how integrity plays an important part in leadership through his real life example of dealing with ‘dictator’ partners. 

A lesson learnt the hard way is a lesson learnt nonetheless. Finally, Sivades gave us a simple and practical equation to follow; trust equals respect.

If Table Topics is the appetizer, Project Speeches are the main course. We were served with 4 delicious dishes with 3 of them coming from our newly minted chefs (Toastmasters’ maiden speeches).

Quah began his Toastmasters journey with his compelling narrative of the three choices he made that changed his life.

1) His foray into scouts that taught him discipline and teamwork.

2) The decisive switch to pursue his passion in finance.

3) His courageous moment in taking on a frontline role in the line of work. We all have choices in life and the choices we make today will define our tomorrow. Be brave in making those choices!

Phang also had a first taste of his Toastmasters journey by sharing his life journey. What stuck to our hearts were how his brothers and sisters actually taught him what truly sharing and caring is all about. He also inspired us with his diligence in pursing his passion in the banking industry. Life is never an easy journey and only perseverance will carry us till the end.

Victor gave a memorable first speech with a few rounds of push-ups and that little trick did well to catch everyone’s attention. He went on to describe his journey in scouts and how it left a deep imprint on him both physically and mentally. Harsh experiences during his early days turned out to be a boon as it awakens and emboldens his views towards life. After all, diamonds are forged under extreme conditions.

The last of the main dish is reserved for none other than our always young-at-heart Wong Woon Pen. This was his first advanced level speech and hats off to him for delivering another masterpiece. He demonstrated how management can communicate austerity measures to employees effectively by practising empathy and managing their expectations.

There was also a Q&A session and I have to say Mak Kum Shi gave him a hard time by being a difficult employee. Well, on the brighter side that’s good practice to deal with real life situations later on!  

We had Chee Yong’s wife to thank for bringing an ultra-delicious durian cake. The cake was to celebrate four birthdays for four members: Chee Siong, Lai Yee, Chee Loon, and Carmen.

After the scrumptious three-course meal, it’s time for evaluation and feedback. Mak delivered his evaluation of the Table Topics participants and was thorough in his assessment. Chee Yong was eventually elected the Winner for the Table Topics challenge.

Daniel gave an interesting evaluation on Quah by using the analogy of Assets and Liabilities. Quah’s assets would be his moderation and authenticity with time management being his only liability.
Yeap’s liked Phang’s confidence, and suggested that Phang can improve by having better speech organisation in terms of having a clear opening and body, and add more flavour by speaking about his family and education.

As for Victor, Chris liked the calmness of Victor’s movement and expression, the clarity of his voice and the enthusiastic delivery of his speech.

Ian had the honour of being Wong’s evaluator and he was spot on in highlighting that Mr. Wong has a unique brand of humour and emotion. The speech was well delivered and perhaps a little more empathy would make it even better. It was apt that Wong was elected as the Winner of the Project Speech.

Jonathan Mah delivered his General Evaluator report and it was refreshing to know that the food was good, the people was better and the venue was top notch. He was also pleased with the professionalism in how the meeting was conducted. Some points for improvement include advising evaluators for CC#1 speakers to focus more on the objective of the speech.

Last but not least, we’d also announced the winners for the latest round of the Blog contest. Chee Yong and Chee Siong were second and first runners-up respectively while the champion went to Yeap.

Heartfelt congratulations to all winners!

It was definitely a good evening and hopefully we all continue to stay united for years to come.