Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Memorable Trip To Port Dickson

FUN,FUN,FUN!!! That's what we had at Port Dickson over the weekend from 14th to 15th May 2011.

Fourteen of us from Mid Valley Toastmasters Club decided that KL was too much to bear, and escaped to a beach side private bungalow for a break. Our journey started with a stop at Dunkin Donuts by the Sungai Besi toll for breakfast, before heading to Port Dickson. When we reached Port Dickson, we were clueless on where the private bungalow was, and had to make an emergency call to the owner to find out the exact location. After finally locating the bungalow and checking in, we decided to start our first activity of outdoor games, organized by Leung Wan Choong. We warmed up by the beach, led by Leung WC. But before we could even start our outdoor games, we started experimenting with our cameras, and decided to go with the flow with more photo shooting sessions. We thoroughly enjoyed the photo session, with jump, flying kicks, hugging, and just "stoning".

Next, we headed to a famous spot in Port Dickson about 10 minutes drive away from our private bungalow for the local Nasi Ayam Panggang. Arriving at the Nasi Ayam Panggang tent, we found waiters with friendly smile and cow-boy hats, creating a little cow-boy theme to the tent. The lunch was superb with nice tasting juicy BBQ chicken served with steamed rice.

Done with lunch, we headed to the famous Teluk Kemang beach. It was quite an experience going through shop after shop at the beach side, selling items from bikinis to chicken- branded soda drinks! We finally settled down and relaxed by the beach at a nice little stall with coconut drinks and "keropok lekor". It was fun hanging out with the breeze from the sea while watching the crowd enjoying themselves by the beach under the hot sun. Kids were screaming and laughing, but the breeze was making us sleepy.

Next, we headed back to the private bungalow for a little rest, with indoor Jenga game, organizes by Leung WC,our Game Master. We learnt from the urban planner Kalvin on how to build the tallest Jenga tower, and learnt from Lewis how to knock on the little Jenga pieces to see if they were really removable. It was all fun and relaxing.

Beach was where we headed next. A beach boy by the name of 'Ah Ching' was already waiting for us. We pre-booked him to bring us for banana boat ride and to guide us through our first sea fishing experience. We never knew that the banana boat ride would start a string of accidents. On the second round of banan boat ride, our Vice President of Education, Ang Chee Yong, lost his balance and fell into the water. Within seconds, he was pulled into the water by the banana boat rope on his neck. He struggled for a few second, and luckily managed to free himself. As Chee Yong swam to the shore, he found himself bleeding on the neck. We knew that we had to send him to hospital and our Treasurer Rae, Immediate Past President, Gerard Peter and Vice President Membership, Travis Lai came to the rescue. They quickly got Chee Yong into Rae's car and drove to the nearby hospital. Unfortunately, before they could reach the hospital, Rae's car was hit from the back by a small little car. The small little car was completely stalled, but Rae's car suffered only minor damage. Gerard and Travis stayed put to handle the accident, while Rae continued his journey to send Chee Yong to the hospital. Fortunately, none of them was hurt from the car accident, and Chee Yong suffered only minor external injury to the neck. We learnt our lessons from the accidents, and enjoyed somehow brought all fourteen of us closer. We went back to our bungalow after the accidents, and enjoyed our BBQ session while listening to the full stories from Chee Yong and Rae.

After the BBQ session, our Game Master Leung organized a mind game by splitting us into 2 groups, and assigning us with the near impossible task of saving an egg from breaking with straws! We never thought it was possible, but with creative thinking and team work, both the team managed to save their eggs from breaking, with genius designs to break to break the eggs' fall. We had difficulties in deciding the winning team, but Leung decided that it was the team that took lesser time to complete that should win.

Next, we headed to a chill-out place at Thistle Hotel. We went dancing by the pool before finally jumping into the pool led by Gerard Peter. It was 1 a.m in the morning, but we all excited swimming in the pool ( and pulling the girls into the pool)!

The next morning, all of us woke up late (obviously from the partying the day before). We packed our bags, checked out, and headed for food in Lukut. We had the famous curry bun at Lucky Restaurant and nice seafood. The curry was niely wrapped in a big bun and is certainly something that we do not get in KL. Before we went home, we headed to the Port Dickson food court for ABC and Cendol as dessert.

The trip was great, filled with fun. Special thanks to Travis Lai for being the organizing chair. The trip was a very successful trip.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Best Advice For Overcoming The Fear Of Public Speaking

As a former speechwriter, publisher, and frequent presenter, I understand what drives many people to buy books about public speaking: FEAR! I know because I've shared it. I remember times when I walked up on a podium and took my place at the lectern in front of an audience, and suddenly felt dry mouth, sweaty palms, shaking hands, pounding chest, even my voice ringing in my ears. I'd prepared a slick speech, but not my brain for the inevitable shock of taking the stage.

Anxiety about public speaking is most commonly rooted in our past negative memories and experiences, according to Randolph and Kathleen Verderber's classic text, The Challenge of Effective Speaking. The authors- emeritus management professors and communications scholars_ say that typical people will relive those times in their past when they were criticized, admonished or deemed in some way as unworthy of the center stage. My book shelf contains a couple of books on overcoming fear of public speaking, and they all recommend these strategies:

  • Practice, practice, practice: You need to desensitize yourself to the panic and fear of failure you associate with public speaking. Practice not only to become more comfortable with your material, but to experience the gamut of emotions that come with speaking. Rehearse in front of friends and family members who will give you constructive feedback. Steve Jobs reportedly has become a world- class presenter through over- practicing. "Few speakers rehearse more than Steve Jobs." Carmine Gallo writes in his excellent book, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs (McGraw-Hill 2010). "His preparation time is legendary among those closest to him." Gallo's book recounts how Jobs begins preparing weeks in advance, and typically spends two full days rehearsing, asking for feedback, making adjustments, and tightening his flow.

  • Memorize and make eye contact. Familiarize yourself with the stage or space where you will speak, and commit key points to memory so you can make effective eye contact with your audience. By connecting with your audience when you speak you will benefit from the feedback of their reactions and you will find your voice. Expert also advise: Don't practice to the point that you are bored or exhausted with the material.

  • Visualize a Positive Outcome: In Small Message, Big Impact, author Terri L.Sjodin recommends visualizing how you will feel when you're done with the speech. " On the other side" in that " Space of completion, invigoration, and accomplishment." By visualizing a job well-done, you replace negative self- talk and put the speech in its perspective- as one event among many.

  • Connect with the Audience: In Harrison Monarth and Larina Kase's, The Confident Speaker, the authors suggest speakers visualize what they have in common with the audience and collect information about your audience- from their jobs to their likely questions. By doing so, you will replace the anxious self- talk in your own mind with a new externally- focused challenge: What are the people like I will be speaking to? If you are speaking in front of an audience that is unfamiliar to you, get an attendee list, learn about a few of the people on the list, even call a person or two who will be in attendance or ask your host about the group. This process is about easing your preparatory anxiety by presenting your brain with a visual and cognitive challenge- put real people and real faces in those chairs, not executioners.

  • Rewrite the Negative Script: Write down the negative or fearful thoughts you have about your abilities as a speaker, including critism you've heard in the past. Then note how you felt after previous presentations were over, and how you've addressed or changed certain behaviors so that you are thinking more positively. I remember being told that I spent too much time learning away from the audience during a presentation, and I've consciously visualized the satisfaction of correcting that in my next speech.

  • Remind Yourself, You're Communicating, Not Performing. If you see your speech as a chance to communicate with a group of people about something important to you, rather than a performance, the experience will feel more familiar. Infact, the audience is far more interested in the substance of what you are presenting, than how theatrical you are in your presentation. Remind yourself of that, jotting down what you consider to be the best aspects of your speeches- in content and style. Monarth and Kase call this creating " positive expectancy " : "develop a few words " that exemplify the way you want to feel as you're talking. "

The experts also agree on these basics, which bear repeating:

  • Get enough sleep for a few days ahead

  • Thoroughly check out the technology you'll be using a day ahead

  • Lightly exercise a few hours before the presentation

  • Never, ever drink alcohol before your appearance