Toastmasters : Ice Breaker Speech

This is a continuation post from the previous one. Feel free to read it first – Finding the Old Me

1st speech1

First and foremost, let me make an important disclaimer here. In the speech Finding the Old Me, I actually added a spoon of seasonings to enhance the flavor finely. Haha! Actually, the part that I said I spoke in front of many people – no, I did not speak in front of many people back then. The part that I loved to volunteer in class – no, I never volunteered in class. Hahaha…I exaggerated! Yes I was active with clubs and societies but I was just a regular committee and I just led small teams once or twice. And yes I enjoyed class presentations and yes my work life was right as described. My point was actually to distinguish these two positions so I exaggerated the U part a bit. Just a bit, mind me! Haha okay done with my confessions. Let’s move on to a more constructive discussion.

SPEECH WRITING

Ice Breaker speech is very basic. It’s talking about yourself so in terms of the contents, you don’t have to climb the Google mountain. The difference is how it’s being delivered. Through my observation in the meetings :

  • They talk about their lives based on chronology –  from the time they’re born to the present, highlighting significant facts along the way.
  • They pick only two or three things about them and they elaborate further.
  • They tell a story about an incident or an experience they went through and what they learned that made them who they are today.

I was interested with the second one and I also wanted to tell a story. And so that’s how it turned out.

PREPARATION & PRACTICE

I practiced a lot! Within two weeks prior to that, I acted in front of the mirror every single day. At first, I wrote my text and memorized it line by line but I found it so hard to flow. I sought advice from my hubby and a friend who are very associated with this speaking thingy and they told me not to memorize everything but just remember the points and structure and keep on practicing. I did just that! Thank guys.

TIPS & IDEAS

Okay these are random tips and ideas I scooped out from here and there that might be useful for you :

  1. Volunteer to speak during Table Topic sessions prior to the day as a practice to overcome your stage fright.
  2. Have a mutual interaction. Throw a question and self-answer. That would spare a pause for you to hold a moment.
  3. You may want to use the projector. Display interesting pictures of yourself and share the story behind them (e.g : pictures of you travelling to other countries)
  4. Describe yourself based on astrology, chinese zodiac or favourite colors.
  5. Tell the meaning of your name and elaborate the elements that make you you.
  6. Begin or end your speech with a quote.
  7. Conclude yourself in 3 words.
  8. Don’t forget to relate your stories with the audience. Offer something for them to take home.

EVALUATION

I was evaluated by the Mr. President himself. One good point I want to remember is that he said I began my speech with a big smile. Some people forgot to smile when in nervous state. So yes, smile! And these are some rooms of improvement for me to note :

  1. “Too much hand gestures.”
    This is the most obvious. That’s my habit anyway but during the speech, I even overdid it. Gotta watch these hands next time. The evaluator said, every gesture should be purposeful.
  2. “Too static.”
    I did not move.  I purposely did not move. When practicing, I tried to casually move a step or two but the risk is that I would get distracted and go blank at all. No way! So I glued my feet on the ground. Will practice on this later.
  3. “Less pauses.”
    Those who knew me in-person surely know that I naturally speak like a train. So this is what happened live. Actually I controlled this in my practice. I timed myself and every time it was all reaching 6 minutes. But on real play, my time recorded was only 5 minutes 17 seconds. I was speeding obviously. He reminded us to use the power of pauses for the audience to absorb what we say. Okay!

EXPERIENCE & FEELINGS

All in all, well done, self! I’m so glad I did it anyways. For once I broke through my fear, my self-doubt and timidity with this challenge and what I can say is, knowing my level and competency, I’m pretty satisfied with my first performance. Thank God, Allah eased my say. I’d less fumbles and most importantly I didn’t forget my script because I didn’t bring any notes with me. Because this is the first one, this is the best so far. Hahaha. Now, I’m on to the next. Bring it on!!

Till the next post,
SALZY

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Toastmasters : Finding the Old Me

Hello everyone. On 29th of August 2017, I’ve done my first Project Speech at the Toastmasters. Here I’m presenting the text of my speech for anyone’s reference on Ice-Breaker topic and also for my own keepsake. After reading this, you’re welcome to continue reading my next post as I talked about my experience, tips learnt and some ideas for Toastmasters newbies to kick-off your shot. Click here.

Thank you Toastmasters of the Day and Good Afternoon everyone.
My Name is Saleha, and this is my first speech. It’s on ice-breaker, so I’m gonna tell you a little bit about myself.

First, let’s have a flashback to a time when I was in university, 10 years ago.
When I was a student, I was a really active student. I joined clubs and societies, I involved in events and programmes.
And these activities required me to speak in front of many people, give speeches and lead a team.

In class, whenever the lecturer said; “Anyone wants to volunteer?”
I would go… “Me!” I loved to volunteer in class!

And I loved doing presentations! You know in every subject we have assignments and we have to present our assignments? That was the time I looked forward to in every semester!
Well, not saying that I was so goood. But it’s just something that I enjoyed doing.

So… that’s a little bit about myself when I was in U. But that’s an old story. 10 years ago.

Later, after I graduated, I worked. I worked in a position that was….not presentation-oriented.
I didn’t have to speak in front of many people, I didn’t even involve in open communication.
Most of the time, I worked with the computer. And it was really busy it was all about work, work, work.
I didn’t have time to really join events or be a committee in programmes or be active.

So you can see the difference about myself and my life – when I was studying and working.
And I can say that, in about 8 years of my working life, I never really did a proper presentation.

Except one day. That was… in BP already. There was a group of Graduate Trainees, you know..some of you are GTs here.
So this group of GTs, they made rounds from department to department and they were coming to my department.
So my boss asked me to prepare a presentation for them regarding our job scope.
Just to give them a little exposure about our roles, what we do for the company and all.

So I was like… “Okay, no problem, I can do this.”

Buttt….on the day when I was about to present… I tell you, I was so nervous! So scared I was shaking so bad!
It was only 5 minutes simple presentation but my voice was like cracking all the way I couldn’t speak properly!
I tell you… It was a really, really baddd presentation!

So after the meeting I was like… what happened to me?? Why did I present like that?
I was thinking…these people are GTs. They’re juniors. I am senior. And I was just talking about my daily job so what’s the big deal??
It’s something that I know of, of course I’m good at it so why was I so nervous?? What’s so scary about that??

I felt so embarrassed with myself. I felt so embarrased with my own self!
Because, that was the time I realized that I have change… a lot…
From someone who was confident, well-verse. Now I become very timid and… not convincing at all.

So I thought…. I gotta do something! I gotta change myself I can’t stay this way. I wanna improve myself. I wanna find my old self!

But I was thinking… What do I do? What do I do to improve myself?

And suddenly one day, I met Alex (the TM President) at the Career Fair event that day and he explained to me about Toastmasters.
He explained to me on how it works and what it’s all about.
And I was like… oh, this is good. This is what I was searching for! This is the place I can improve my skills. This is the place… I can find the old me! Right….

So… this is why I’m here today. Speaking, in front of you, for the first time.
Taking the challenge, and making a pledge that I will improve myself.

This is my new beginning. Do you think I can do thisss? *Smile wait for the “YES” =D*

A little bit before I end my speech.

In life, always we hear people say that we have to move forward, move forward, never look back.
But to me, at some points of time, we really do have to take a break, pause for a moment.
Look back, and reassess ourselves. And see, how much different have we been?

Better? Or worse?
If better then good.
If there’s any quality in ourselves that we cherished, that is good… Keep it. Never lose it.

But happened to be, because time passed by and life changed from one phase to another. And we also changed.
We’ve become a different person. Someone we’re not proud of. Not like before.

So what do we do?
We do something, to gain ourselves back!

That’s all for today. Thank you very much everyone. Back to you Toastmasters of the Day.

Till the next post,
SALZY

My Beginning in Toastmasters

Maroon Logo.jpg

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Take up a roll during the meeting. There are three main rolls to be filled so we can choose any one from these :
    • Ah-CounterThe 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.
    • GrammarianA 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.
    • TimerA 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’!
  3. 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,
SALZY

100 Words Only

Who loves Mondays? A day borne with a surname – “Blues”. ‘Monday Blues’ is always an issue for most working folks because it’s the day we’re back to reality. Weekend’s over so routine returns. Sometimes I like it, sometimes I hateee it so when it’s on the downbeat, nothing works. It’s too bad I know but I can’t help it! Entertaining Monday Blues is like offering ourselves to be the victim of lousy attack. Time is wasted and works are compounding. Who is in loss now? No one else. Better get up now and produce something. This post is one. Next!

Till the next post,
SALZY

A Dream Job You’re Wishing For

BP

I received this letter last week unexpectedly, just because I forgot my anniversary with the company that I stepped in 5 years ago. 5 years! A complete set of fingers to tell me that I’ve been here for such a significant duration. 5 years of undeniable blessings I can say. Having a job, a solid source of income is really something we can’t take for granted of that we should be thankful every day, not only on paydays okay. In total, I’ve been working for 8 years since I graduated and this is the second company I work for. 8 years and 2 companies – pretty loyal, no? Hehe, or maybe just unaggressive in finding opportunities.

I began my career journey in 2009 and what I can say is it was not a good start. The first company I worked for taught me the harsh truth of working life. Unreasonably heavy work load, bad boss, stupid system and sickening people surrounding me every day. It was so stressful and in fact the most stressful period of my life making me traumatic if I throwback the moments. Driving to work felt like handling a cable car – so heavy and the weather was always gloomy all the way to the workplace. In those 3 years, I lost appetite badly and turned from an originally thin girl to almost anorexic. That’s how ugly a bad job could make of me and that’s a true story.

Of course there were still good things I should be thankful for – the knowledge, the experience and there were still nice people I could talk to – and yes I did, thanked God for every little thing I gained from the company. And thank God I have my mom, she was there listening to my whine every time I came home crying. That was all my motivation when dealing with the depression with the hope that things would change for me even though I thought it was impossible. It was my first job and that concluded an impression that working life was never a good thing. I wanted to go back to my wonderful and happening university life but that was just impossible. And it was also impossible for me to not work because I am an adult already, so adults work, adults must work, we have bills and loans now, a pile! So all I thought was, then on and for as long as I’m w.o.r.k.i.n.g, my life is miserable. Nuff said.

But who actually said so? It was just a blind assumption of a hopeless young girl who just began to ‘live’. Who just hasn’t realized and truly believed the power of the Lord who can do miracles. After three years trapped in such a destructive environment, I married my husband and moved to KL. A few months of job hunting, I finally secured a position in here where in the beginning I brought with me the assumptions from my previous work life to the new one, just to be ready to face the “norms”. Amazingly as the days went by, my guesses got all wrong. This place is bliss! The people, the environment, the culture and the boss are all so nice I never thought they existed. Things totally changed as different as night and day. I turned to a positive person, happier and fatter! Haha.. that was due to another reason as well –  being married, exactly.

Alhamdulillah I’m happy here. At the moment, I’m surrounded by the people whom I can call friends, not just colleagues. Work-life balance is something really necessary for employees and this company has it ready. Flexi work arrangement and tolerant superiors who understand our commitments at home, not just all work. Some days are bad days and some people are unpleasant which can’t be avoided anywhere but I choose to focus on the good. This place is my comfort zone.

Of course not everything is perfect and I’m not telling those means to brag that I am the lucky one to have the best job ever. No, I’m still at a moderate level of the career ladder and in fact I am not a good employee enough so how could I boast? What I’m trying to tell is, guys, if you’re having a hard time at your work place or have been going through such a disappointing journey to find the right job I truly, truly understand the feelings, because really I’ve been there. If you could see, Allah tested me for three years to grant me with such a wonderful gift I couldn’t ask for more. If you’re tested even longer or harder, imagine what’s awaiting for you in the future! Allah’s arrangement is beautiful. When He tested me with the stressful job, I was single and had less commitment. My focus and weekends could all be spent at the office and no one got affected. Now that I have a family to look at, He gave me a work-life balance job, a company that’s so supportive towards mothers. Our stories are different but believed; the best is yet to come, right on time.

Two years back, the oil and gas industry was having downturns and that affected the company as well. As a result, it worked through a few cycles of retrenchment that impacted even some of my lunch buddies from other department. It’s so devastating to know that from a steady position you held for years, suddenly being told that you’re out of place. It somehow threatened everyone’s security and belief on the company’s stability, including mine. Things improved after that but the incident somehow serves as a constant reminder to me to rely everything on Allah because anything could happen and that a good job does not guarantee a fine end. While I’m cherishing my time here on this anniversary, I pray that if you’re seeking, soonest Allah will bestow you with the dream job you’re wishing for. Ameen.

Till the next post,
SALZY