I am "Bạc Hà"

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams" – Eleanor Roosevelt

Toastmaster speech #5 – Your body speaks: Table Topics, Speeches, and Evaluation

Toastmaster speech #5: Your Body Speak

Objectives: Use stance, movement, gestures, facial expressions and eye contact to express your message and acheive the speeches purpose”

Table Topics, Speeches, and Evaluation

How long does it for an ordinary Toastmasters meeting with Table Topics, speeches, and evaluation? One hour, one hour and a half, or two hours?

Good evening Mr. Toastmasters, fellow toastmasters, and our honored guests. As I always say, Toastmasters plays a very important role in my life. It helps me to improve my skills, to chase my dreams, to have a wonderful family. But on my trip to Vietnam last month, I had an unforgettable opportunity to practice a real life month-long Toastmasters meeting.

Just a day after my flight landed, I visited the Saigon Toastmasters, a 3-year-old friendly, energetic, and enthusiastic Toastmasters club which was only a block away from my house. I can only say they were extremely impressive!

At the first meeting I attended, there were about 50 people in the room, 2/3 of them were guests. The meeting was 3-hour long, with 6 speakers, 8 table topic speakers, and a 30-minute breaks so that everyone could get to know to each other. The club founders were all Vietnamese who had only heard about Toastmasters and then went abroad for a couple months just to learn about it and to bring it to Vietnam, with very little support from an only Toastmasters mentor.

By the end of the meeting, the club president who already knew that I am also a Toastmasters, suddenly asked me to gave an impromptu speech. Without any sign of nervousness, I grabbed the opportunity, got to the stage, share the story of how Toastmasters had changed my life, and encouraged all the guests to give it a chance to change theirs. After the closing, the room was quiet for a moment and then burst into applause.

I was so proud of that moment and became much more confident for my next challenge. As scheduled, two weeks later I flew to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. A couple days before the trip, I posted a message on my website, informing that I would be visiting some groups and give speeches.

Because I only stayed there for 4 days, I limited to only 4 groups. At first, I thought there would be about 20 to 40 people each group, and I would spend with each of the group about an hour or so. I completely underestimated the situation. My website was much more popular in Hanoi than it was in Saigon. The audiences there were so eager about my trip that they all booked me for 2 hours meetings with more than a hundred attendants each.

I hadn’t had so many chance to speak in front of that many of people. Thank God, Toastmasters really armed me with solid skills and my preparation did a lot of help. I did my job successfully, paid off the trip, and had a wonderful time with everyone. I felt like I was ready for my third challenge when I came back to Saigon.

However, I was not. Though I had done really well with some experience in table topics and prepared speeches, my third speech was not an evaluation. This time, I had to face a only one single woman whose power could freeze my body and erode my confidence easily.

At the moment, I was about to give my speech, I was scared to death. But then a little voice inside my mind said: “You are a Toastmasters, boy. You gonna make it, be strong, you gonna make it.” Then I took a deep breath, made eye contact, gave a big smile, rose my voice and started the opening of my one-sentence-speech.

“Would you be my girlfriend.”

The lady was silent for a while, and instead of giving me an answer, she asked: “Why do you want me to be your girlfriend?” “Ah ha! She is asking for an evaluation!” – I almost cried out.

I don’t think I have much time left now, so I won’t tell you what I said to her. But the morning after, she got back to me to say Yes.

Now, I can say this is the best trip ever. It brings me friends, success, and the woman of my life by a very special way, the way of Table Topics, Speeches, and Evaluation. The Toastmasters way!

Minh Le

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