26 June 2010 marked the 10th anniversary of Kowloon-Singapore Toastmasters' Club (KSTMC) - my home club. I joined this special occasion as the Toastmaster of the Day - to play the role of a genial host. This was also the last project required of me to attain the next level of my Toastmaster journey - Advanced Communicator Bronze.
On the Whole - General Evaluation
As expected from a toastmasters' club meeting, I learnt so much. I would start with the general evaluation given by ACB, Jerlynn Ang, who had so concisely and comprehensively covered the areas which our club has done well and the areas which could be further improved.
First and foremost was the very positive and warm environment. She had also very animatedly recounted the morning's phonecall David of some last minute change which was reflected in the programme list circulated during the club meeting in the afternoon. This was the very committed spirit that KSTMC exuded.
For the Sergeant-At-Arms, it was a good idea to have a round of introduction among fellow toastmasters and guests. It helped to break the ice. Carrying on the momentum, Club President, David then gave a very uplifting opening address. His motto was to "join and enjoy" ourselves in the toastmasters' journey.
Moving on to TMD - with the most stage time, that was me. She commended on my efforts to be a good host, putting everyone at ease and dressing up for the occasion. She gave me tips on how to remember the key things to say when I introduced a speaker. This was given in the form of an acronym for ease of memory:
T- title of the speech
S - speaker
Another very useful tip was for the TMD to sit near the stage to facilitate movement and reduce time.
For timer, she suggested to give the report in full sentences and not in SMS language. It drew laughters from the audience as we all were also guilty of falling into the SMS trap.
She then moved on to the panel of evaluators. She hit the nail on the head when she opined that the evaluations were very well-done. They were all very encouraging and at the same time, we all learnt how to further improve the speech. In Jerlynn's words, the evaluators not only tell us what to do, why this was so, and most importantly, they showed us what to do. She suggested to have a summary/conclusion in one sentence but qualified that there could be time constraint as the red card was flashed at the 2nd minute.
Proceeding to the Table Topics segment, there were clear instructions from the Table Topics master. She also suggested fellow toastmasters to consider having a punchline or a call for action, quoting the example of Cynthia when she concluded in her mini-speech (aka table topic) about her first date with we should not wait for others to take the initiative.
The Special Talk on How to Have a Phenomenal Memory
Today, our club was very privileged to have ACB Nishant Kisbhatla, a world record holder and 1st and only grand master memory holder to share with us the secrets of a phenomenal memory.
He explained that many people did not have a good memory due chiefly to a lack of interest. In order to bridge the gap between phenomenal memory and the current state you, we would need to first believe in ourselves, then acquire the knowledge and most importantly, act on it.
Three key questions to have a better memory were:
1. How can I visualise this?
2. How can I associate it with?
3. How can I have fun?
I particularly enjoyed the evaluation segment because I have learnt so much from the grand masters at work.
I liked DTM Michael Rodrigues' analogy of to give more insight of the speaker as an appetiser to prepare and expectant the audience. By personalising the speech before moving on, it would help "stick the speech into our mind". Perhaps, I was too nervous I did not capture the entire flow of his evaluation. It was such a pity. Fortunately, I do have his written evaluation.
DTM Kan Kin Fung's evaluation was equally impressive. He was evaluating a P10 speech "Inspire your audience", this was the general flow of his evaluation.
"General evaluation of the entire speech. Eg. impressed with the speech - what really inspired me were the vivid and colourful description. The speaker also repeated important phrases to help us remember the scene.
Some suggestions would include
1. organisation - to make the main message clearer. e.g. instead of giving the message in the last 10 sec of the speech, perhaps it could be upfront.
2. to try to act out the experience - eagle - flapping its wings or fish swimming in the stream. Do not neglect your most favorable asset.... - your face.
3. shorten the story to give a personal story e.g xx minute for the story, xx min for the personal story."
ACB/CL Stuart Ralls evaluated P5 Your Body Speaks. Points that he brought out included: eg. of confidence - strode up on stage and projecting confidence, eye contact, body language. But the speech could have more impact if there could be bigger gesture - eg. reach out for the stars. He gave very vivid description - sticky legs, pasting your goals on the wall, pointing to the watch to signify time and counting on your hand. Finally, he summed up his evaluation.
ACB Nishant Kasibhatla evaluated P4 How to Say it. Again, he gave his overall impression "smile", "starting with a story to paint a picture". Next he moved on to the specifics - eye contact, quality of voice, the project objectives. Suggestions he had were with reference to the project objectives that called for the use of rhetoric devices and pointed out on the limited usage. He suggested for the speaker to script out the text and look for areas which could incorporate the rhetoric devices.
How can I not mention our 10th anniversary celebration? The club was chartered in June 2000 to join ordinary men and women achieve extraordinary feats. It was very successful and had also nurtured leaders such as DTM Edward Ma and ACB/CL Yetti Chiu. We walked down the memory lane as we reminicised the photos of our past activities.
In closing, it was indeed a very enriching and enjoyable day indeed. I learnt so much from fellow toastmasters. Thank you, Toastmasters' International for giving me the opportunity to meet these wonderful fellas. Using the words of DTM Edward Ma, it has made the world a better place to be.