Toastmaster Script – Prepared Speech #1st Module: Ice Breaker
I did not say all the following information in prepared speech session due to a limited time.
Good afternoon Mr. Toastmaster, Fellow Toastmaster, and Welcome guest. My name is Monika. There was one question in the last meeting that struck me about a turning point, “What is the most defining moment of your life so far?” It is a very hard question. I was planning to prepare it the answer last week, but it did not work. And the deadline is coming, and I reflected on that question. Today, I would like to share about the reasons I have courage standing here in front of you.
Who does not know Gandhi? Gandhi is a leader of the Indian Independence Movement against United Kingdom’s rule of the country during the 20th century. Today, I am not talking about Gandhi, but there is one line quote from Gandhi that inspires me to face my biggest fear in life. He said, “The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear”.
There are three stages in my life to conquer my fear step by step:
- First, I called it this is a beginner stage
Flashback about the story of my childhood, I was born in Padang, West Sumatra, and a small city with a lovely beautiful view. I am the second child of the family and the only girl. One course that quite scary at the time was English. I just never get right to answer all questions related to the verb, noun or pronoun. I was the 6th grade and felt foolish why the other child could do it well, but I wasn’t. I could not count anymore how many times I was crying after backed from English Course. Also, I was struggling to remember any grammar rules in the English book.
My English’s score at primary school until high school was never really high or low, just in mediocre. I was studying English for the formality to pass the class and did not have an eagerness to learn by myself. Until someday, an expected event was coming, the President candidate of Student’s Union. In my high school, we have three classes programs, namely regular class, acceleration class and superior class and they need to give the candidate to be proposed. I thought I was just being victimizing from my classmates and I had to prepare all the things in a short time. At the day of debating, there was one question that needs to be answered in English. And my Vice President’s candidate is very well speaking in English. She was winning many English competitions from debating, story-telling and so on. And the English teacher said that please not A*** answered this question, but you, Monika.
I was very shocked, and I answered all the best I can. Honestly, I did not understand the question and maybe my answer just confused. I shamed, and it just haunted me to say, “I need to learn English,” and I conveyed four my best friends to join English Private Class Conversation. It boosted my confidence but did not much.
- Second, I was in the intermediate stage
I was glad to enter university without a regular test. On the other side, it was challenging in my college life. I was graduated in the Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia and took major in Clinical Psychology. Most of my textbooks are written in English. I need to read several sources, mostly books and journal to complete my assignments. Compare to my friend; it was very easy to understand what the textbook mean it. I need hard work to understand it, and for the first time, I used to the wrong techniques to read it word-by-word instead of understanding all the context. The most challenging were I need to attend the mandatory class – Physiological Psychology. The lecturer was from Germany, and the course was conducted in English, including the exam. It’s though because I do not like biology lesson and everything is explained in English. Although I quite struggled to pass it on, thank God I still passed the test with the grade C which is the minimum score to pass. I did not think to revise my rating as my friends thought. It’s enough.
After that, I got an opportunity to join a live-in with the expats from Germany and Taiwan, then my journey began. I did not brave enough to invite them to discuss. I just listened what my friends asked them. I was very shy and afraid that I asked a silly question. After I had back from the bigger community event namely World Youth Day for young people in age 18-35 years old, I would like to learn English deeper because I was like a mummy that could not say or express my ideas or opinions. I was just a person that enjoyed the view without understanding or embracing the meaning. I said that I just missed a moment that I need to use that very well.
- Third, I entered the stage of Upper Intermediate
Joining the management consultancy company is not my dream ever before. I just thought that my career would be the Human Resources (HR) generalist or recruitment like my peers. It gave me a new vibe because I need to read journal every day. Although the company as not famous as top 5 big consultancy firm, we used Harvard Journal as the primary resource. The challenging is not only reading or speaking with the interns from Cornell University but also specifically writing a business proposal. It was a nightmare for me. I was not expertise in business term, and it should be drafted in English. I was remembered that I was crying after I arrived at a home and thought will be sent my resignation letter.
As an alternative, I tried to create a blog and used the WordPress. I started to write it simply like a daily life and asked one of my best friends in Singapore to review my blog post. All the test made me being a different person and assured me to pursue one of my bucket lists is to live abroad in a short moment. Based on my colleges’ friend sharing, I researched and applied to be a volunteer in the UK for ten months. When I was living abroad, my housemates are understood if I did not say it with proper grammar. My confidence was increased because one thing that I kept in mind – as long as people know what you said – it’s alright Monika. The perfect grammar must be in written academic English. So, just say what you think. Sometimes, I still missed the slang words. I lost the accent and the meaning, thank God my Irish friend always help me interpreting what they said and what I should be responded.
My working experiences in Indonesia prepared me to do my job – monthly report for one of the organizations that I worked. I was also not afraid to just meet a director of IT to discuss the system that the team hoped to have. I was braved to speak in the final of the meeting for our last report. I was starting to read a book in English. I did not understand it directly when I read in the first, but it’s getting better. I have my journal book to record my learning English. I listened to TedTalk and made the transcript.
One of other challenges were I proposed myself to be a person that will be presented a prepared speech at this meeting. The nervous was coming and still the same, but I do not want they stay longer. I just need to act, practice and do not think too much. Every trial made me be in the higher stage, it’s painful, but it’s worth it. With the small act, reading a journal or books, listening to the TedTalk and joining Toastmaster like this give me chances to conquer my fear. Like Gandhi said, “There would be no one to frighten you if you refused to be afraid.” –Gandhi