and counting down
7:00:00 the sensational 261st Mid Valley Toastmasters Club meeting officially begun with a bang!
This was the best possible way to start off what was the last meeting of the 2014/2015 term. Members and guests were greeted by the Sergeant-at-Arms (SAA) of the night, Quah. After his “gentle” reminder to make sure our electronic devices were switched to silent mode, Quah then passed control of the stage to the Prince Charming of Mid Valley Toastmasters Club, our President Shim Chee Loon. As the timing for the meeting was tight due to the number of speakers we had for the night, our dashing President was supposed to facilitate a short and sweet introductory breaking-the-ice session with members and guests alike, but the large number of guests at the meeting made this especially challenging!
Despite the tight schedule, our experienced Toastmaster of the Evening (TME) Ian Lai managed to give a succinct and informative introduction of Toastmasters International to our guests. He did it by introducing the following sequence of numbers: 91-2-313
91 – 2015 marked Toastmaster International’s 91st anniversary
2 – This number represents the two educational tracks in Toastmasters: Communication & Leadership
313 – The total number of Toastmasters Club around the world numbers 313,000.
Ian also proved that “Malaysia Boleh” by citing the fact that Malaysia has the fastest growing Toastmasters membership compared to the rest of the world. That’s certainly something to be proud of!
Next came my personal favorite session of every Toastmaster meeting – the Prepared Speeches session. Each speaker prepares their speech in advance, and they then deliver it at the meeting, with each speech having a specific set of objectives as stated in the Competent Communication Manual. If you’ve been wondering about how these speeches go, you’re more than welcome to visit us to get a better understanding of the whole thing.
Past President Ang Chee Yong started the ball rolling by delivering the “Selecting Your Topic” module from the Better Speaker Series. He shared tips and suggestions on how to go about selecting a proper topic for your speech, no matter the type of speech you are going to be delivering to the audience. According to Chee Yong, an excellent speech topic is a combination of personal experience PLUS knowledge and research in regards to the speech topic PLUS getting to know your audience’s needs beforehand – all three are equally important. I’m guessing Chee Yong knew that he was going to have a very large audience, that’s why he chose this topic!
Personal stories always connect with people. “A Lesson Learned” from Becky Benjamin saw her sharing the ups and downs of her life since she moved to Kuala Lumpur at the age of 17. Despite the many challenges and obstacles that have stood, and perhaps will stand, in her way, this gutsy young lady vowed to fight all the way in order to reach her dream of one day being a successful entrepreneur. Becky’s simple and short content, vocal variety, and animated facial expressions earned the audience’s adulation and respect – and also the Best Speaker Award later at the end of the meeting. Congratulations to Becky Benjamin! You go, girl!
The adventuress, Christy Chang, completed her Competent Communication Manual by delivering the final speech in the manual, Project Speech #10. Her speech title was the enigmatic “Ichi Go, Ichi E”. Yes, a Japanese speech title! This Japanese saying states that we should treasure every moment of our lives, and everyone who has walked into our lives, as those things only come along once a lifetime. In her speech, Christy shared a harrowing experience of losing a very close friend. She ended with a reminder: that we cherish and appreciate every moment, as well as the presence of friends and family in our lives. Before she left the stage, she also reminded us that Father’s Day was just around the corner.
Another speaker who was completing her Project Speech #10 that night was Vivien Lim. Her speech title was “Make It Happen”, which was humorous in an ironic way due to the fact that she had to postpone her speech for a couple of months now due to her insane working schedule. Her speech called upon the audience to step out of their comfort zones, just as she did when she recently resigned from a job that she no longer liked. Vivien advised us that change is constant, and that we will all need to change in order to move forward. It was a splendid showcase on the importance of good communication skills and how having those skills can enthrall the audience. To find out more about enhancing your communication skills, join us at Mid Valley Toastmasters Club!
Finally, and sadly, we came to the final Project Speaker of the night. Past President and experienced speaker Ang Chee Yong was up on the stage again, this time to deliver an Advanced Speech, “Delivering Bad News”. As you can probably guess from the title, it was a speech about how to deliver bad news. Yet somehow, the audience enjoyed Chee Yong’s speech and chuckled the whole way through! Full of bravado, Chee Yong later went on to claim that this is the difference between an experienced speaker and a novice, that only an experienced speaker could deliver bad news that made everyone laugh! However, the bad news in this case, the departure of two of our senior members, Timothy Nakayama and Wong Mi Shan, who are heading to the States, definitely struck a sad note. Chee Yong had certainly picked his bad news adroitly.
Then came another highlight of the night, the club’s Annual General Meeting (AGM). Guests were invited to enjoy the refreshments while members stayed on in the hall. After the current term’s EXCO presented their individual reports, the EXCO members for the next term (2015/2016) were elected.
Ever had a craving for cake? Another benefit of attending our meetings is that we always have a nice delicious birthday cake on the second meeting of the month, as a gesture of appreciation to our members celebrating their birthdays on that particular month. This meeting, we drove those Monday blues away with a delicious vegetarian cheese cake from Beyond Veggie.
The night continued with the Evaluation session, led by the General Evaluator, Sharm Siva, a familiar face at our club who hails from KL Advanced Toastmasters Club. Each speech evaluator presented his/her feedback to their assigned speaker. The speech evaluators for the night, in order, were: Mak Kum Shi, Chong Chee Siong, Timothy Nakayama, and lastly, Wong Woon Pen.
The feedback generally ran along the lines of all the speakers having good openings and solid points, doing well in verbal and non-verbal communication skills. Their conclusions, however, could have been a little stronger. Some of the speakers could have related their story and conclusion to the audience’s needs, thus allowing for more connection with their audience. I believe that this immediate feedback from the speech evaluators is of help to everyone in the room, not just the speakers but to the audience as well.
After the evaluations for the project speakers were done and dusted, we came to the technical evaluations. Grammarian Ken Jee, Timekeeper Christopher Chooi, and Ah-Counter William all gave their short and sweet reports.
10 pm came around, and so our meeting came to an end. Mid Valley Toastmasters club, a place where fun and education come together every 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month!