Prior to involving myself in Toastmasters, I’ve heard about it a few times and had an idea that it is something related to public speaking. It’s quite popular but I never really knew how it works. When somebody posted about Toastmasters, they would remark it as a place we can learn to improve our skills in communication, presentation and public speaking. I wasn’t really interested because public speaking is never my thing. When it comes to giving presentation, my timid personality becomes so dominant. Frankly speaking, I’m not a confident and skilled speaker.
But in my office, we have this BP Asia BSC Toastmasters Club formed under the company. Employees are encouraged to join for self-development but it’s not compulsory. My boss has been forwarding the info about this programme but I never really bothered to dig further. As this year one of my goals is to get involved in more non-work activities at the workplace, I thought it’s time to give my shot for Toastmasters so I began attending the bi-weekly meetings as guest.
I heard from outside independent clubs, one has to pay certain fees in order to become a member so he or she can participate in the activities. But in here, because everything is sponsored, whoever wants to become a member has to fulfil three requirements:
- Give a 2-minute Impromptu Speech during Table Topic Session. There will be 4-6 topics for anyone from the room to volunteer to pick one topic related to the theme of the day and talk about it, spontaneously! The picks could be in a form of vocabularies, idioms or questions.
- Take up a roll during the meeting. There are three main rolls to be filled so we can choose any one from these :
- Ah-Counter – The purpose of an Ah-Counter is to note any speech crutches a speaker made during his speech like ‘ah’, ‘urm’, ‘lah’ or anything that do not have any meaning in a speech. During the evaluation session, the Ah-Counter will announce who made how many crutches.
- Grammarian – A Grammarian is to note grammatical errors or misused or mispronounced words and will advise corrections. Also, every meeting will have a theme and word-of-the-day so speakers are encouraged to use the wotd as much as possible and grammarian will take note on it.
- Timer – A Timer is responsible for monitoring the time of meeting segments and speakers. A speaker must not exceed the given time or else he or she will not be qualified to be nominated for the Best Speaker of the day. Mr. Timer will signal speakers by his ‘traffic-lights’ and ‘ting’!
- Perform a 6-minute Prepared Speech on Ice Breaker. This is the very first project assignment in the Toastmasters module.
After fulfilling the third requirement, they will officially welcome us as the member of BP Toastmasters Club and from there we can begin our learning based on the modules provided and present more and more speeches.
As of now, I have completed the first two requirements so the next one is to perform my first prepared speech! I’ve booked a slot in the next meeting and now I’m sooo nervous even though the topic is just Ice Breaker! Haha.. After speech sessions, there will be an evaluation session from an expert who will comment on our speech and will point out any rooms of improvement. That’s the scary part huhu but actually not as scary as it may sound because they are all constructive feedback. But maybe embarrassing a bit. Aaa…
The question now is, why am I doing all theseeee? Is my job not busy enough? Haha. Definitely just for fun. It’s freee but they have limited quota so I better grab it quick! My job and my daily life do not force me to stand in front of many people to speak or present anything. I’m really in my comfort zone and plus, I’m kinda person who don’t bother to challenge myself to do this and that to prove myself to the world but I know this is not healthy. So I’m taking this as a bit of a challenge for myself to improve and become a better person.
Perhaps for some people it’s not a big deal at all but for such a person who is lacking in confidence and with my incompetency in proper verbal communication in English, this is such an enormous big deal! Not expecting a vast transformation in myself but I believe this little effort is not fruitless at all. Prepping my text for my first project speech; Good Luck, Self!
Till the next post,