It was 12 years ago as I fondly recall coming out into the working world. I was inexperienced and green but I had the burning desire to do my best in whatever I pursued in. As time went by, I realized that more often than not I tend to run into problems with my peers, customers and even my bosses. I can get very vocal on issues and at times pretty emotional and I figured I needed to do something about it.
At that time, my brother Joachim was the charter member of this club in 1996 and together in the family, my mother and my brother encouraged me to join the Toastmasters Club. That decision to join the club led me into a whole new world, totally different from the kind of working environment I came from. I learned that in a Toastmasters Club, everyone is equal. Everyone learns from each other with a strong “member-help-member” concept. There is healthy competition, abundance of evaluations to gauge my progress and well-wishers who always give me the much needed nudge to pursue further.
From just a normal member, I progressed to becoming a speech champion, to an Executive Committee member and finally President. It took me 12 years to learn, unlearn, relearn, to grow, and to flourish. Through the Toastmasters program, I found my passion and that is to become a Professional Speaker. With only my Toastmasters credentials and experience behind me, I decided to take the plunge of leaving my comfortable 9-5 job to pursue my dreams of taking up professional speaking. Every time I am left to compete for a speaking bid, I feel that thrust behind me, Toastmasters, that separates me from the rest of the speakers out there. More often than not my clients tell me that they chose my services because of my Toastmasters experience. My success as a speaker in the real world out there is attributed to the one decision I made 12 years ago to join a Toastmasters Club, the Bayan Baru Toastmasters Club.
In a nutshell, if all of us begin by saying “Yes” to the various roles and responsibilities in the club, we are surely going to taste success in communication and leadership. When I was approached to take on the club speech contest in 1999, I said “Yes” and I ended up the Champion of International Speech contest in 2000 where I represented District 51 in USA the same year.
When I was approached to take on the VPE role in 2000, I said “Yes” and we had a successful term where I too ended up completing my CTM and CC the same year. When I was approached to take on the Presidency in 2007, though initially I was saying a lot of “No”, finally I said “Yes” and we went on to become the President’s Distinguished Club in 2008. And more recently when I was asked to take part in the Humurous Speech and Evaluation Speech Contest in 2008, I said “Yes” and went on to become the Division N Champion and District Champion, respectively. So it all starts with a “Yes”. When we say “Yes”, possibilities open and success is hands reach. Next step is to take the “Yes” into the family, the workplace and in business.
Toastmasters is best used in the real world and not only in the Toastmasters environment, I say that by personal experience. I am truly grateful to the past and present exco and club members for their wonderful support in my journey as a Toastmaster and I shall always be a proud member of the Bayan Baru Toastmasters Club.