Yes… I was a fool… on April Fool’s day 2004… when I signed the form and paid my dues to become a member of Prestige Toastmasters Club, and I have “stayed foolish and stayed hungry” ever since.
I heard about Toastmasters because my best buddy, Douglas Huang was a longtime member, but I never took action to look into it. Later, the President of a company in the USA whose products we sold in Taiwan recommended joining Toastmasters. So I attended a meeting, and that was the start of my journey.
My first few years were concentrated on doing Speeches. The valuable input from evaluations, information from workshops, and especially tips from some World Champion Toastmaster speakers that came to Taiwan all started sharpening my communication skills. For my C10 project, I got the inspiration to craft a speech around an innovative new product that would be rolling out in the USA, that we would be selling in Taiwan. I shared this speech with some top dealers on a company vacation in Alaska. Word got up to the President about it. As a result, I was asked to give this 10 minute speech to roll out the product at the worldwide sales convention in the USA to a multi-national audience of appx. 2000 people. It was received with a standing ovation. That year I was awarded the company’s highest “President’s Leader of the Year Award.” What an amazing outcome from a C10 speech!
I also started participating in contests. I have been awarded a 1st and 3rd place in District 67 Table Topics contests, 2nd and 3rd in Evaluation Contests, and participated in the District Humorous Speech contest, but didn’t place. This year, 2014? Let’s see what happens. There is a lot to be gained from competing, regardless of how you place. You will likely put a lot more effort into a contest speech than for a regular meeting. Writing the speech, editing it, making every word count… Memorizing, practicing, delivering… then re-editing…and going through this cycle all over again … This is where you really fine tune your skills. It is a hard, sometimes painful process, but a most valuable experience. I avidly encourage TM members to participate.
Next is the Toastmasters Leadership track. I really didn’t care about it. When club conversations turned to DCP, I usually tuned out. The only thing I could remember was a workshop from LJ Lamb which stressed the importance of shooting for the President Award , from the Distinguished Club Program (DCP) to have a healthy club. Years later, serving as President of Taipei Metro Toastmasters (a club I helped mentor) I set the club goal to earn the President’s DCP. Then I had to learn what that would require us to do. We achieved it that year. The next year I was Prestige Toastmasters’ President. The club was not in healthy shape, but we achieved President’s DCP by really working hard together. We did whatever it took, including holding extra meetings, membership drives… you name it we did it.
In 2013, my
final hurdle to achieve the DTM award, was the HPL project. I chose to
charter a Christian Toastmasters club. It was hard. After 9 hard
months of effort, we finally chartered TGIF Christian Toastmasters in
Oct. 2013. Co-founder Douglas Huang and our EVP Michelle Chang have
been the core of a most amazing, hardworking, dedicated and loving
leadership/officer team. Today, we have a thriving motivated club, and
expect to achieve a perfect 10 point President DCP, just 9 months after
chartering. This project merges two important areas of my life, my love
and service to God, and my love of Toastmasters. It is amazing to me how
closely these two areas mesh hand in hand. In TGIF, we want to share
God’s love in the Toastmaster context, along with the goal of sharpening
our leadership and communication skills to be better tools in the hands
of God. We endeavor to treat every guest that comes through our doors
like a VIP that God himself sent to us. We want every member to be tied
together in the bond of His love. We welcome all to join; you don’t
have to be a Christian. My heart is full and overflowing with joy to
have TGIF Christian Toastmasters as the final milestone on my 10 year
journey to achieving the DTM Award.
Meeting!! October 25, 2013