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P10 – Chasing the Rainbow – Travis Teo

This is the script of P10 Speech – Inspre your Audience. – By Toastmaster Travis, delivered on 29 Apr 2015.

“For the young, let me tell you the sky has turned brighter. There’s a glorious rainbow that beckons those with the spirit of adventure. And there are rich findings at the end of the rainbow. To the young and to the not-so-old, I say, look at that horizon, follow that rainbow, go ride it.”

The line about rainbows was delivered by Lee in a speech at the Singapore Press Club in 1996
Ladies and gentlemen fellow toastmasters, I was born in a middle income family in the midst of economy miracle in the 70s. My father is a businessman and my mum is a home maker. I’m also the generation benefited from the Bilingual system that give the chance to learn English and Chinese languages, although I hate English when I was young that’s why I need to join toastmaster now.

Growing up, Lee Kuan Yew has always been the mystic, no nonsense father figure to me. And in primary school, when my teacher asked us who in this world I admire the most, there are always 2 standard answers: Lee Kuan Yew and my mother. But even then, I will never imagine his passing has such an emotion impact on me.

On Mar 23 around 5am when I receive the notification of the passing of Lee Kuan Yew, tears just flowed. It’s seems to me someone important to my life has just left me. Since that eventful morning, I can’t remember the number of tears I have shed during the one week of mourning, from tears of sadness during the 1st few days, to tears of gratitude when I watched the so programme and speeches of his on TV and to tears of patriotic during the state of funeral, when I saw Singaporean, from all works of life pay their last respects, under the pouring rain.

And it was that week and that very moment, made me realise who am I as a Singaporean, our common struggle in the early days, fighting against the Japanese, against the communist, gaining independence from Malaysia, building of society regardless of language, race or religion, and a quest to building a global city we are all truely proud of. And it made me realise all around us does not happen by default. It’s happened because of our founding fathers have planted the tree 50 years ago and our generation benefited from their labour.

Yes, Singapore is the world’s most expensive city for the second year running, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.

And yes, Singapore may ranks as Least Emotional Country in the World

And we may have to squeeze with 6.9MM fellow citizens, expats, foreign workers, PR in this small island.

And we may be the under-happy bunch of employees.

All these pale into insignificant compared to to the suffering around the world: We see the suffering in war-torn Syria, Rohinya stateless people in Myanmar or refugee in Libya, and the recent tragic earthquake disaster in Nepal.

Immediate after the Lee Kuan Yew Funeral, I flew to Nepal for a week vacation. When I was there, I saw the life of sherpa, that if you born as a man in Sherpa family, you are almost destiny to be a porter for life, earning 15 dollar a day carry heavy load up into the mountain, till your weak shoulder and knees no longer able to carry the backpacks of travellers..When I was in Guizhou China, one of poorest state in China, all their lives are in farming. It will take their later generation to improve their lives through education.

Our forefathers have shed their sweats and blood to build this city and our best gratitude to them by building our own Singaporean dreams. So starting from today, find out what you passionate about and do something about it.There is no one path of success in life. What define as success for you maybe different from others. Do something that can make a difference around us, and even make a difference to the world.   By the time you grow old and look back, you will not find your life live wasteful wondering what you have been, but life of experiences, and passions.

 

I would like to quote a passage from Anthony Robbins book “Awaken The Giant Within”

“I believe that life is like a river, and that most people jump on the river of life without ever really deciding where they want to end up. So, in a short period of time, they get caught up in the current: current events, current fears, current challenges. When they come to junction in the river, they don’t consciously decide where or which direction they want to go. They merely “go with the flow.” They become a part of the mass of people who are directed by the environment instead of by their own values. As a result, they feel out of control. They remain in this unconscious state until one day the sound of the raging water awakens them, and they discover that they’re five feet from Niagara Falls in a boat with no oars. At this point, they say, “Oh, shoot!” But by then it’s too late. They’re going to take a fall. Sometimes it’s an emotional fall. Sometimes it’s a physical fall. Sometimes it’s a financial fall. It’s likely that whatever challenges you have in your life currently could have been avoided by some better decisions up stream.
The point of course is to make conscious decisions regarding your life and your destiny before it’s too late!

But you might be asking: I’m already late 30s, I have already missed my prime life. But let me tell you this:
1. Harrison Ford was a carpenter before he became an actor at age of 30
2. Ang Lee was Jobless husband until age of 31
4. Ray Kroc start Mac Donald at 52
5 Keith Wright start travelling around the world at the age of 85

So its nevertheless too late to pursue your dreams and the action is now.

I would like to end this speech with this quote:

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. – Old Proverb

P2 Speech – Chewing Your Way to Happiness – Kelvin Ng

This is the video of P2 Speech – Organise Your Speech. – By Toastmaster Kelvin Ng, delivered on 19 Nov 2014. Want to improve your public speaking and communication skills,  join us for one of our Chapter Meeting and embark on the journey of toastmaster.

P9 Speech – Broadcasting your Resolutions

This is the script of P9 Speech – Persuade with Power. – By Toastmaster Travis Teo, delivered on 18 Dec 2014. Want to improve your public speaking and communication skills, join us for one of our Chapter Meeting and embark on the journey of toastmaster.


 

Good evening fellow toastmasters, Mr. President and especially to Tim and Richard. I remembered exactly one year ago, I attended my first toastmaster chapter meeting, also on a Christmas celebration night, and Tim and Richard were the first 2 persons that welcome me to the club. I’m glad that after one year, I managed to survive and giving my 9th speech today – Persuade with Power.

We are 2 weeks away from 2015. And is the moment of the year to reflect on our achievement and also making new resolution for next year. Anyone of you have made resolution at the start of the year? Anyone of you have completed them?According to an article by Forbes survey show that 40% of us make new year resolutions for all the good intentions, only a tiny fraction of us keep our resolutions. University of Scranton research suggests that just 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals. So this is a common problem, even if you made the new year resolutions, you might have hard time fulfilling them.But I have a solution and it’s a simple one. It’s to make resolutions, write them down and announce these resolutions publicly, whether to your love ones personally or through your Facebook, Instagram, or if you wish, to broadcast the 3 resolutions to fellow toastmasters here. Why? because according to article and below examples, making your resolution visible to public will motivate to do it better and the chance of success in fulfilling you resolution improve.

I have a friend of mine who run into debts into $20,000 due to credit cards, overdraft, he has the same problem going on for years and finally few years back, decide that enough is enough, make his new year resolutions public, through Facebook, that he will be debt free and stop unnecessary spending through out the year. Every time he would post his saving publicly so  In less than a year, he paid off his debt.

And there is Julie, In 2002, Julie Powell (Adams) is a young writer with an unpleasant job she make a resolution to cook all 524 recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961) by Julia Child in one year; Powell decides to write a blog to motivate herself and document her progress. Of course, she succeed and this story has made into a movie, Julie and Julia

And there is this guy, back in December 2013, he was about to give a presentation in front of his colleagues, almost same size as this room, suddenly, he just blackout, mumbling his way out of the presentation, in the presence of his boss and boss. After that presentation, knowing that he just bombed a presentation,  he wrote a resolution to all his colleagues and his boss and boss’s boss that one of his new year resolution is to improve his public speaking by joining toastmaster, that’s one week before he met Tim and Richard, one year before he gave the P9 speech. Anyway, he still have the job luckily.

Although writing resolutions down and broadcast them is just one of way of motivation, it’s an important first step.

And now I urge you to create 3 resolutions for yourself, and announce it. So as a start, I’m going to announce my 2015 resolution?

1. Presenting a topic of my expertise in external event. I did one panel discussion in front of big crowd the other day, but I hope to up one level and have a solo presentation.
2. Some of you may know that I sometimes like to blog, so another resolution for me is to Publish an article of my to an established website,
3. Learn to cook. I know some simple dishes, but my resolution is to have more different pattern on my cooking.
So you see your programme sheet on your table, turn it over, you will see the blank, write down your 3 resolutions there and broadcast them now.
Deal?

My encounter as Ah-Counter

Chapter Meeting in ProgressRecently, I had the privilege to take up the role of “Ah-Counter” for the recent chapter meeting in Queenstown Toastmaster Club. Simply, Ah-Counter’s role is to count the number of pause fillers that the speakers utter in their speeches. At the end of the meeting, I, as Ah-Counter, will give an Ah-Counter report, indicating the number of pause fillers each speaker made.

So what is pause fillers? According to wiki,

In linguistics, a filler is a sound or word that is spoken in conversation by one participant to signal to others that he/she has paused to think but has not yet finished speaking…. Different languages have different characteristic filler sounds; in English, the most common filler sounds are uh /?/, er /??/ and um /?m/. Among youths, the fillers “like”, “y’know”, “I mean”, “so”, “actually”, “literally”, “basically”, “right”, “I’m tellin’ ya” and “you know what I mean?” are among the more prevalent. Ronald Reagan was famous for answering questions starting with “Well…”

Yes, pause fillers are parasites in your speech that serve no purpose or meaning, and they add distraction and annoyance to the listeners. I remembered one senior executive in my company (and since left the company), in his many great speeches, will begin and end every sentence with “you know”, and it annoyed me much that I would scream out “I KNOW!” every time (in my heart of course).

Though one quick search on Internet revealed that the “you know” problem is quite common among public speaking. One example, back in 2008, Caroline Kennedy – candidate of US Senate and daughter of the late United States President John F. Kennedy, gave a 30 minutes interview which according to the report, she uttered “you know” more than 200 times! (She withdrawn from the candidacy for various reasons after that dreadful interview)

Of course, I have my fair share of “you know” problem, more specifically, mine is a “like” problem. Someone once pointed out to me that my favorite filler is “like”, which psychologically, is a sign of unsure.

So back to Ah-Counter report, how was the result?  I counted total 129 pause fillers, among 12 speakers, averaging around 11 per speaker, though the variant was huge, with one first time speaker peppered more than 30 “ah” and “erm” within a 4 minutes speech and few seasoned speakers completed their speech with zero fillers. Not bad I think.

Since that night, I started to reduce fillers consciously in my speech and at the same time, unconsciously count the number of fillers by other presenters in speeches, conference calls and even meetings. So if you happened to be in the same room as I, do check with me and get an “Ah” counter report.

Further reading:

Here are some good posts on eliminating the “ah”:

How Can I Avoid Filler Words Like “Um” When I Talk?

Tips on Public Speaking: Eliminating the Dreaded “Um”

How To Drastically Reduce Your Pause Fillers?

by Travis Teo, VP PR

Know Your Audience