Category Archives: Toastmasters

Effective Emceeing: Don’t be an Awesome Parrot on Stage

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 54 seconds. Contains 580 words

As an audience member, have you ever heard an emcee on stage introduce or close an act by describing it as “Awesome”?

That dance performance was … Awesome!

Up next we will have an act that is simply … Awesome!

That accounting presentation was so … Awesome!

Based on these, it seems like everything is “Everything Is Awesome”.

‘Awesome’ is an awesome word, and there is nothing inherently wrong with it. However, people have a tendency to keep using it over and over on stage. It boggles the mind, that of all the words in the world, people choose to use ‘awesome’ as the word to repeat. Maybe it rolls off the tongue better, or maybe it seems to be more impressive than just a simple ‘good’ or ‘great’. Either way, the “one-word-to-describe-it-all” problem is still the same, and it is most definitely not awesome.

The problems of the parrot

Among my group of emcee friends, we’ve begun referring to people who use the word ‘awesome’ to describe everything,  as “Awesome Parrots.” It’s a nice nickname (it sounds awesome!), but it’s also something you want to avoid being.

Continue reading Effective Emceeing: Don’t be an Awesome Parrot on Stage

5 Simple Steps to Shortcut & Achieve Speaking Success!

Source: The Technological Citizen

Wise men learn by other men’s mistakes, fools by their own.

I gave a talk on learning and progressing as a public speaker recently, when I was asked by a participant, “how exactly can we model and learn specific skills from observing other, better speakers”.

Fantastic question!

Earlier, I had spoke about shortcutting one’s route to success, by observing the best, and incorporating the best practices into’s one’s arsenal of skills.

This is was one of the personal strategies that helped catapult my progress within a relatively short span of time, and it’s a very powerful and efficient strategy, especially in an era when resources and case studies are made easily available with the internet and Youtube.

So how exactly can one learn and model after others?

The following is a simple five-step process which I’ve used to great effect, and I hope it works well for you too: Continue reading 5 Simple Steps to Shortcut & Achieve Speaking Success!

Six Speaking Skills You Need For Managing a Crisis

I got the privilege of evaluating an advanced project during a meeting at Tampines Changkat Toastmasters Club this evening. The project was on “Crisis Management”. The speaker was expected chair a media conference and deliver an official statement addressing a crisis that had struck the organization that he was working for. Thereafter, he would be required to chair a question and answer session from members of the media – tough interrogators who are hungry for sound bites and hawkish for answers.

The speaker had to be on his toes and watch what he said – for any slip could further stoke the flames and potentially devastate the company further.

The speaker who attempted this project for the night, Gregory Ernoult, ACB, managed this challenge admirably. In fact, it was such an admirable attempt that it helped to surface a few pertinent points in crisis/media management and prompted me to blog about it (for you) too!

Since it’s close to 4am, and I’m too tired and lazy to think of an alternative structure to share those ideas, I shall proceed simply by sharing the three main areas Greg did particularly well in followed by the three suggestions I thought he could use to enhance his presentation and Q&A. But before we begin, we’ll have to understand the setting for his “crisis” first. Continue reading Six Speaking Skills You Need For Managing a Crisis

Marathon-Themed Table Topics Questions

– Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired.

– The marathon can humble you.

– Run like hell, and get the agony over with.

– If I were to run a marathon…

– We can’t all be heroes because someone has to sit on the curb and clap.

– Marathon & life: monotonous, heavy, exhausting.

– Laughter is as good as jogging for our heart, lungs, and brain

– It hurts to a point and then it doesn’t get any worse.

* * *

Topics courtesy of Pauline Chan from Hougang TMC

About the Toastmasters Club (Part 1) – What Is It and How to Join?

Speak Up at a Toastmasters Club
Speak Up at a Toastmasters Club

Are you looking for ways to enhance your public speaking skills, yet unsure of how to go about doing so?

Do you recognize the value of learning by making mistakes, yet are too afraid of making a costly mistake at work?

Are you looking for a safe and supportive environment to grow as speaker then?

If your answer is a resounding YES to any of those questions I’ve just asked, then this post’s for you! (especially if you’re residing in Singapore!)

Well, following my presentation on national radio, I felt inclined to do my bit to spread the word for the Toastmasters Movement in Singapore. I have, after all, benefited a lot from the support and advice that Toastmasters from all walks of life have given me – and if it’s helped me, I’m sure it can help you too. But just what is the Toastmasters all about? And how do you go about joining it? Are all Toastmasters Clubs the same and what are some of points I need to take into consideration before joining it?

These are just some of the questions I aim to answer in this post. Read on! Continue reading About the Toastmasters Club (Part 1) – What Is It and How to Join?

Essential Elements for Effective Evaluation

It’s that time of the year again when Toastmasters from all over the world kick into high gear in preparation for the annual Humourous and Evaluation Speech Contests.

For the uninitiated, the Evaluations in the Toastmasters simply means “giving feedback” – and for that matter, constructive feedback to contribute to the growth of its members. Whilst the act of giving feedback may sound like a no-brainer, giving an effective one is both an art and a science – and it’s a highly relevant skill which can be applied to both work and life.

Imagine your 14-year-old, highly sensitive teenager failing his/her quiz at school and you’re required to troubleshoot it lest it gets worse. Or if he/she seems to be less than concerned about their behaviour in the public eye and you need to put their actions “back on track” lest they form a habit. Same goes for motivating your subordinates at work, or getting them to improve on their productivity – evaluations require both tack and skill – and Evaluations during Toastmasters Club meetings can help you hone that!

That said, I’ve spent close to two years with the Toastmasters and I’ve been fortunate enough to gather some pretty slick strategies when it comes to delivering an effective evaluation and since the evaluation contest is right round the corner again, I guess there’s no better time for me to share some of these “secrets” used by some of the top Evaluators in District 80!

Yes, it’s taken me close to 2 years to compile and distill them, so rest assured they’re good stuff!

Here they are: Continue reading Essential Elements for Effective Evaluation

What Lies in a Spark?

What lies in a spark? That tiny, insignificant burst of energy. That little glimmer of light that flashes and lasts for that split second. What good does it make? And what power does it have?

It’s just an insignificant spark.

Or is it? Continue reading What Lies in a Spark?

Growth & Participation at NUS Speechcraft – 11 December

And so I’ve returned from the dreaded exams to kickstart the club’s 2nd Round of Speechcraft Workshops at the National University of Singapore.

As expected, the mood and nature of the crowd was vastly different that which we entertained in June. This cohort appeared more intellectual, and they were so serious about learning that they were practically taking down everything that my trainers and I were saying! It was amazing! Yet, despite the differences, the group still shared certain key characteristics with the speechcrafters of yester-months (is there such a word?). That binding characteristic – a keen desire to learn, grow!

And learn and grow we did, as we immersed ourselves in a series of experiential learning and practice sessions! What impressed me the most, was probably the sight of having several enthusiastic participants volunteering themselves to take up every speaking opportunity possible!

Notably, it became apparent, that those who seized the initiative to speak and participate benefited the most from the entire event. Indeed, growth and pArtiCipaTION go hand in hand. And here’s how the following people grew at the Speechcraft Workshop on 11th December! Continue reading Growth & Participation at NUS Speechcraft – 11 December

If You Have to Face It Someday, Why Not Today?

A friend of my mine from the Toastmasters once shared with me a conversation she had with her son. She was trying very hard to get him to join the Toastmasters Club in NUS when he said, “I don’t want to join it because I don’t want to make a fool of myself.”

Gee… I think there’s a problem with me then because I really enjoy making a fool of myself in at Toastmasters meetings! *winks*

I certainly believe that nobody in the right frame of mind enjoys making a fool of themselves for the sake of it. Even clowns do it for a reason… even then, they’re professional about it!

While I believe that the reason my friend’s son gave for not joining the club was real in its own right, it certainly wasn’t the best excuse he could give to save himself for embarrassment. Think about it, like it or not, he will have to speak in public in future. And like it or not, he will embarrass himself if he isn’t ready or prepared. It’s that simple. There’s no running away from it!
Continue reading If You Have to Face It Someday, Why Not Today?

A Platform for Falling, Practicing and Growing

It’s been an eventful, enlightening and enriching experience since I joined the Toastmasters movement a year ago. Back then, I was still a green nervy young Toastmaster. Totally unpolished and unpoised.

Yet, a year on, who would’ve expected that I’d be able to go on Think, Speak, and Present on my feet? Even more so, to take part in a contest and emerge as first runner up amongst a host of other speakers? All in one year!

I think the wonderful thing about joining a Toastmasters Club is Continue reading A Platform for Falling, Practicing and Growing