Wednesday, December 11, 2013

17 September 2013 Meeting - Storms Make Trees Take Deeper Roots

Despite the theme of the meeting, there was no storm descending down upon Bukit Kiara Equestrian Club. Instead, there was only fun, food, friends, camaraderie and a learning experience to be had by all.

The meeting was helmed by the capable Joachim Yuen from Satu Hati TMC and yours truly launched into a slightly long-winded but humorous Invocation session.

Then Zion Choo took control as Table Topic Master and delivered several interesting (and at times, perplexing) Table Topics to the brave souls who stepped forward.

There was still no storm outside but the roots were getting deeper as 4 intrepid speakers took the stage, confident that they can only grow and take deeper roots by challenging themselves to do their speeches.

Newbie Ali Reza took on some swashbuckling derring-do when he delivered his ice-breaker speech, The Prince of Persia. 

Vice-President of Membership Eri Tang taught us an important lesson with her wise speech, Don't Forget One's Origins.

Our Madam President, the ever-smiling Sylvia Tan took the stage with an Advanced Speech from the Specialty Speeches Advanced Manual. It was the "Uplifting the Spirit" speech and she launched into a rousing speech in Journey to Succeed.

Stalwart member Chee Hoe then made a very smart move, delivering one of his Advanced Speeches in the form of a club-members-EGM meeting, which he fully qualified for by reaching a consensus on choosing a new meeting venue for Friendship Toastmasters Club - and the consensus reached was: Let's go try out 2 places first, and see which one we like. Simplicity rules the night.

After the break, bushy-eyed Lee Tong Fong, from Puchong Mandarin TMC, took the stage as the eagle-eyed and very humorous  General Evaluator.

Table Topics Evaluation was done by Teresa Choong, while Speech Evaluators were Geok Ean, Sylvia Tan, Timothy Nakayama and Alexandra Lau (in that order).

Our VPE Geok Ean did her duty as Grammarian, followed by Wong Mi Shan from Mid Valley Toastmasters Club who told us all how we did with our speech crutches, followed lastly (but not least-ly) by long-time member Sivadas as the Time Master.

The physical storm never came... but if the storm was the challenges of the meeting itself, then the roots in the form of the members and guests certainly dug in a little deeper, a little stronger.

The Roots Against the Storm

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Youth Leadership Program 2013 conducted by Friendship Toastmasters Club

written by Timothy Nakayama
Employers from disparate industries have time and time again arrived at the same conclusion regarding the fresh-faced, eager-eyed crops of fresh graduates who enter the working world year after year, in search of their first jobs: many have the smarts, the work ethics and the right attitude to make fabulous hires, but not as many have the communication and soft people skills that are so essential to thrive in today's increasingly competitive and globalised world. Those involved in the hiring process often lament the fact that while these capable graduates do have the skills and base knowledge to take on their new roles, they are not similarly equipped when it comes to communication and leadership, skills that employers prize just as much, if not more so.

Enter The Youth Leadership Program.

The Youth Leadership Program, or YLP for short, is an informal course in the vital arts of communication and leadership. The structure of the Youth Leadership course is set by Toastmasters International, a non-profit organization that helps people the world over develop their communication and leadership skills. 4 million people around the world have benefitted from Toastmasters clubs since 1924. Those who are over 18 are eligible to join any Toastmasters club throughout the world, whereupon they start with giving project speeches from a basic communication manual before moving on to more advanced communication manuals. The Youth Leadership Program, on the other hand, consists of a condensed version of the speech principles taught in the first few project speeches of the basic Toastmasters' communication manual with the addition of several key leadership concepts and principles. The YLP course has been specifically designed for youths between the ages of 11 to 18.
The Youth Leadership Program, in short, is a 2-day course that teaches youths the key principles and concepts of effective communication and leadership and maximises this learning by conducting the entire course in an interactive and hands-on manner that sees participants learning from both the course coordinators and their fellow participants, all within a friendly, positive and supportive environment.

Friendship Toastmasters Club is one of the most established Toastmasters Clubs in the Klang Valley, having been founded in 1998 with the goal of helping people of all ages and walks of life improve their communication and leadership skills. That lofty goal remains even today and that is why Friendship Toastmasters Club decided that it was the right time to conduct their first Youth Leadership Program.

Friendship Toastmasters Club's Youth Leadership Program took place on the 1st and 2nd of June, Saturday and Sunday respectively. The 2-day weekend-long course took place at Wiseed Meeting Center at Merchant Square in Tropicana, PJ. There were 19 participants in total.

The 2-day program was conducted and run by both Toastmasters members from Friendship Toastmasters Club and members from other Toastmasters clubs. The sessions were conducted by seasoned Toastmasters, who all have extensive experience in the art of public speaking and communication and who have also conducted Youth Leadership Program sessions previously.


Ice-Breaking Session

Just like adults, some youths can be shy upon first meeting new people. Therefore, the meeting started with an Ice-Breaking session in order to put the youths at ease. The coordinators created a relaxed environment where all participants had the chance to introduce themselves and learn a few things about their fellow participants. This was followed by more interactive activity sessions, in which participants had to think on their feet as they worked together to solve various physical puzzles and challenges. By the time they returned to their seats, all the participants were smiling and chatting with each other, happy at having made new friends. The ice had been well and truly broken!

Participants introducing themselves to the group while coordinators cheer them on
The Ice-breaker activity "Mummy's Wrap" proved to be popular


Leadership Roles

The structure of the YLP favours the learning by doing approach and the participants get their first taste of the hands-on way of learning with the Chairmanship session. In order to impart the lessons of good and fair leadership, the youths were divided into groups of five, whereupon the coordinators then appointed each member in the group to one of four positions: President, Vice-President, Secretary and Sergeant-At-Arms. The responsibilities of each of the position were then explained to the participants and they had to carry out these responsibilities over the 2-day course. Many of the participants were apprehensive at first, this being their first time taking up leadership roles, but after seeking further clarification (a trait of a good leader!), they were more than willing to launch into their roles with gusto! 

The coordinators going through the responsibilities associated with each of the four leadership roles

The Competent Communication Sessions

For the rest of the first day and the first half of the second day, the participants learned various facets of public speaking. There are 6 sessions in total, with three being presented on Day One and the other three on Day Two.

The 6 sessions were (in order):

·         Introduction to Public Speaking
·         Impromptu Speaking
·         Organizing Your Speech
·         Listening
·         Gestures in Speaking
·         Voice and Vocabulary

Each of these sessions helped the participants delve into the finer points of public speaking. The lesson plan for each session had a general structure - the coordinator teaches the basics of that particular area, and then the hands-on learning follows in the form of the participants utilizing what they have just learned in front of their fellow participants, who then give them immediate feedback. Some of the participants were a bit hesitant to give feedback to their peers, as it was something new to them, but after seeing how giving feedback can help both themselves and their peers improve, they took up the task with enthusiasm and aplomb. 

The sessions were specifically designed to be very interactive in order to appeal to youths, which experienced Toastmasters have found is the best way to get youths interested in learning.

Listening in rapt attention as the coordinator highlights the importance of speech organization
Participants learning that being loose and relaxed helps when delivering their speeches
A participant going through an exercise focused on delivering emotions through facial expressions and vocal variety.


Speech Contest

After all the lessons on effective communication and putting them into practice, the participants were ready for the one thing that they were all looking forward to since Day One - the speech contest.

Held at the end of Day Two, the speech contest was the culmination of the 2-day course, a way for the participants to gauge just how much progress they've made over the last two days. And truth be told, a lot of the participants were excited to test out their newly-acquired skills in a competitive environment!

To make it a memorable event, the coordinators asked the participants to invite their parents to the contest. As expected, most were a little shy about their parents seeing them in action, but just before the contest started, a handful of parents stepped in, eager to see whether enrolling their children into the 2-day course had paid off!

The improvement was, without a doubt, significant. Whereas before the youthful participants had been shy and hesitant to speak up in front of their peers, by the time the speech contest got fully into gear, they were up there on the stage, brimming with confidence, moving with grace and poise, and speaking passionately and evocatively about their thoughts and ideas. The topics were as varied as the speakers: some talked lovingly about their mother or father, others about their favourite TV shows. Then there were those who decided to tackle the heavier issues like racism, the power of positive thoughts and the price of beauty that women often have to pay even in today's society.

Just looking at the participants getting up on stage and delivering their very best was enough to make the YLP coordinators proud and some even shed a tear or two. How much more powerful the feeling must have been in all the parents who attended - all were seen leaving with wide smiles on their faces, clasping their son or daughter on the back with pride.

What parent wouldn't be proud of such an achievement?

YLP Speech Contest Winners



Perhaps no conclusion paints a better picture of just how much having the confidence to communicate effectively can change a young person's life than when the writer met with one of the contestants privately to tell her that, although her contest speech may have been disqualified due to going over the time limit, the judges had given her high marks for her well-crafted speech. She was speechless for a few seconds but then tears of happiness welled up in her eyes, her entire face seemed to glow and she beamed the brightest smile this writer has seen in a long, long time. She then said a hearty "Thank you!" and ran to her waiting father, full of smiles, tears of joy and a radiant confidence that shone even brighter than the hot afternoon sun.

More photos and information at
Photos and videos contributed by Treasurer Lee Chen Choon

Timothy Nakayama
Vice President of Public Relations 2013-14

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


From left to right: Elected Division W Governor 2013-14 Eric Low, 2nd Runner-Up Belinderjit Kaur (MAISCA TMC), 1st Runner-Up Lee Chen Choon (Friendship TMC), Champion Kenneth Yee (TDDI TMC) and Division W Governor 2012-13 Tan Lay Theng

Every term, Friendship Toastmasters Club presents quality and prominent speakers and this term it is no exception. Firstly, we had Timothy Nakayama who won as the 1st Runner-Up in District 51 Humorous Speech on 17th November 2012. 

Another champion speaker hails from Friendship Club is none other than Lee Chen Choon, who fought all the way to Division W International Speech Contest on 27th April 2013. He wonderfully claimed the trophy as the 1st Runner-Up winner. It was a stiff competition, and in the end Kenneth Yee from TDDI Toastmasters Club claimed as the champion in this contest. Nevertheless, we are proud of what Chen Choon has accomplished so far. His hard work, perseverance, humility and positive attitudes have inspired and motivated many other members to follow his footsteps. 

We strongly believe that Chen Choon will continue to soar to greater heights. Congratulations to our beloved member Chen Choon!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Let’s come and support Chen Choon in Division W International Speech Contest!

It is contest season, and our club champion is doing extremely well, so far so good! Our beloved member, Lee Chen Choon, had won the title as the International Speech Champion for Area W3 on 23rd March 2013. Heartiest Congratulations!  

Feel free to visit Area W3 Toastmasters Blog to read about what happened during the contest - a well-written blog post by our lovely Vice President of Education, Daphne Au, who is also the Area W3 Webmaster.

Congratulations to both Area W3 champions, Chen Choon (right) and Grace Loh (left, KPMG KL Toastmasters Club)!  Chen Choon is the champion for International Speech, and 1st Runner-Up for Table Topics contest. Grace is the Champion for Table Topics, and 1st Runner-Up for International Speech Contest.  

Chen Choon will march on to compete at the Division W International Speech Contest on Saturday, 27th April 2013 in SEGI University College, Kota Damansara at 1:00pm

Fellow contestants who will be competing in Division W International Speech and Table Topics Contest 2013

Members of Friendship and friends of Chen Choon; please be there to support him in the Division W Contest. He certainly has worked hard and persistent in improving his speech. We are happy and extremely proud of his accomplishment this far.

To Chen Choon, all the best to you! Go fighter, Go!