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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


Mid-20s (Toastmasters #4: How to say it)

What did you do when you were in your mid 20’s? At these ages, many people start to pursue the career they have been dreaming for years. Some get married with the person they are deeply in love with, and some other may decide to do something big, to change the world. I, in my mid-20’s, have a very important mission: Learn how to speak.

Mr. Toastmasters, fellow Toastmasters, and guests. Never did I think that I have to learn to speak.

My speaking ability appeared very early. I still remember the day I came home from kindergarten and grand dad asked me: “Hey Minh, what did you learn in school today?” “Hmmm, not much,” I replied, “Ms. Mai taught me only one thing: Shhhh, shhhhh, and shhhhh”

This talent is proven another time when Dad brought home a telephone. After 3 months, Mom had to call the carrier to stopped the service which already cost half of her salary.

But then 2 and 1/2 year ago, I started to reconsider about this, when I got to the LAX. It was the first time I visited such a huge international airport. I got quite confused and didn’t know where to go. So I asked an employee for direction. After 4 or 5 repeating, the man gave me a very detail instruction.

I followed exactly step by step. Instead of getting to the waiting area, where my family were waiting, I ended up on the street. Oh my goodness, getting lost in a cold weather at a strange place where nobody could understand what I say. Though I managed to find the way myself, after 30 minutes, the problem didn’t stop.

Many months later, I still couldn’t get along with my cousins or make new friends. I had very hard time explaining what I think, which made me feel like a retarded person. My life was screwed.

One year ago, I determined that it was time to learn how to speak and got out to look for a Toastmasters club. Right before my ice breakers speech, I couldn’t even speak a long sentence influently. But after a year listening, learning, and living in our very supportive family, I have become another person!

Now, I can give speech whenever I need, I know how to evaluate and encourage people, I get stronger not only in English but also in Vietnamese, my mother tongue language.

A couple weeks ago, I even recorded a speech for my website, motivate people to pursue big dreams. The video clip got a thousand views in just a week. A lot of audiences also asked me to make it more in the future. Though there are many things need to improve, I get back the confidence to speak.

Now I have a question for you. What did you do when you were in your late 20s? To me, a man who is going to step to my late 20s soon, I decide to speak my way to Distinguish Toastmasters!

Thank you.

Update: Just delivered. The speech got a Best Speaker of the Day award. So happy

Humorous speech contest: The Nature of Love

This is the script of my Toastmasters club humorous speech contest on September 10.

The Nature of Love

Good evening Mr. Toastmasters, fellow Toastmasters, and guest.

Do you know about “The Thinker”, a bronze and marble sculpture which illustrate a man sitting with a hand under his chin? And today million dollars question is: What is he thinking about and what does he sit on?

Let me tell you a secret, this wonderful sculpture was actually inspired by my famous theory, The Nature of Love. Look closer, you will realize two things. First, the man looks so blue because he is being dazed by the mysteries of love. Second, he is sitting on a toilette which convey a message about the relation between love and the restroom. And that’s what my theory about.

Think about this. Just like we do to the restroom, we all have a relentless demand for love. Some of us go for it many many times a day, while the others may hold for as longest as barely a week! But to healthy folks, once a day is the most popular and recommended schedule.

Because of this irresistable needs, most of us want at least one for our house. We are so reluctant to share it with our friends or neighbors. Not only for because of the hygiene matter, but also because of our unexpected urge to get fulfilled right away as well.

Moreover, we couldn’t help thinking about it many times a day, even when we are not at home. Staying long enough in a strange place, then we start looking for it. In my own experience, I would ask a waitress or a receptionist. But some people i know do pick whomever they see for this. It depends on the personality.

To mention about personality, it is fully expressed in the way we act in love, just as in restroom. And we’ll never really understand a person without considering about this.

Some of us are very serious and only walk-in when really need, while the others stop by casually and just for fun. That’s why love can be very easy-flowing to some and extremely solid to the others.

Some people are very shy, they make it secretly and silently; While the others love to be loudly with a lot of screaming and moaning. As the consequence, some end up with satisfaction shining on the faces, while the others suffered a lot by a long hurtful period with tears and blood.

This is such an easy way to find one’s style.

And due to this distinguish, people may have many different ways to conduct this process. And I have extract some rules from my own experience to help you avoid the mistakes and get the best from it.

Rule #1: It can be kind of troublesome if you thoughtlessly babble your own story to your friends. Some would be too curious, others may feel annoyed. But many of them may spread it to the whole world via Youtube or Facebook.

Rule #2: You’d better make it all by yourself. You may ask a friend’s help at your own risk. But it can lead to some unpredictably weird situation.

Rule #3: Always clean your hand and your personal part carefully, especially after doing it under the table, unless yo want to leave some obvious evidence about your bad.

Rule #4: Before you walk out, clean your mess so that the next person won’t be disturbed.

And the last rule: It is a natural process, so for the sake of God, don’t be forceful, aggressive, or abusive. What will be will be.

These rules really helped me, to go through my love without doubts and hurts. Since this moment, you can enjoy the most of your love as well as your restroom affair.

God bless the lovers. Thank you

Minh V. Le

Toastmaster Speech #1: Icebreaker

I just presented my first speech in Toastmaster Club this Monday. The experience is wonderful, and I am longing for coming ones. Hey Communication Competent certificate, here I goooooooo

Turning Points

Monday,  June 25th, 2012
Historical Club, Seal Beach 

Good evening Madam Toastmaster, fellow Toastmaster, and honored guest. My name is Minh Le, Minh ends with an ‘h’, and Le only has one ‘e’. I was born, and grown up in Saigon. It’s a beautiful city after which the Little Saigon is named today.

I used to be a geek who spent nine years of my life learning to become a programmer. I won a lot of regional and national awards from programming contests since middle school. At my graduation, when my professors told me that I was going to be a successful programmer and make a lot of money, I decided that it’s time to stop talking the machinery language and make a turning point.

I applied at the high school, in which I had studied, as a teacher. In that first and only year of teaching, I was paid $100/month salary for 9 months of school year. I had about 500 students in 11 classes to take care of who taught me how to enjoy the life which I had sacrificed for the computer for so many years.I learned to make boring computer classes become fun with games and jokes. I discussed with the kids about school life. I hung around with them a lot afterschool. We ate at street vendors and sang karaoke.

For I looked younger than my age and often joined with the students, people mistook me quite frequently. I was scolded by the school’s supervisor or other teachers for not wearing uniform countless times. I always remember how funny they look when they realized who I really am.

Once in a while, I thought my life would be “happily ever after”. But one day, my mom called me home and said: “Boy, it’s time to pack your stuffs. We gonna move to America”. “Why? I don’t want to”, I yelled out loud like a little baby. But she just ignored me like she always did. 3 months later, I found myself in Orange County.

My life turned to another new page again. The English I had learned is actually the British English from early ‘80s which sounds weird here. Neither I could understand other people, nor could they get what I said. I went to ESL class, and then took a communication class in Golden West College, but all I can get is a handful of Vietnamese friends who could not speak English as well.

One day, while I was killing my time by watching clips on youtube. I found a Vietnamese in America’s got talent show. He performed a one-man comedy. Though he was out, he did get good comments from judges. And that guy really woke me up. I never thought that a person who only started speaking English since adulthood can get the sense of humor, which is the key in building relationships.

After that moment, I believed that there must be some way to solve my problem, I just haven’t found it yet. I started doing some research and asking everybody for one. Eventually, I found our club. After joining for a couple days, I know that my life’s third turning point is happening.

Now, I believe that with our wonderful program, my broken English can be polished to become a crystal sphere someday.  I believe that I can become a distinguish toastmaster in the next five years.

Madam Toastmaster, fellow Toastmaster, I beg for all your essential support to help my dream come true.

Thank you.

And here are the comments that I got from other people:

Mike: Great speech! Please watch the timing clock – you had good vocal variation and eye contact. Your teaching experience really helped. [Time: 6’53”, unqualified for overtime :'( ]

Debi: Absolutely excellent! Your “turning points” title was a great choice. And through the speech you built momentum and ended with passion. Only thing to improve is the ESL sentence structure! Great job!

Bruce: Great 1st speech. Great show of confidence and pose. Great story. Awesome job!

Wilma: I could understand everything you said. Your English is good. I believe you will become a DTM. Organization was good.

Willand: You look so comfortable speaking. good pace, volume and pitch. we got to know you. you are an interesting person. you are well on your was as a good speaker. I understand your speech.

Fred: A very interesting speech, well done. You seemed very confident as you spoke. You illustrated your topic also very well.

No name: That was great!!! I really enjoyed the description of your turning points –> You have great speech.

No name: Minh – wonderful speech. you were fantastic!!!

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