Voice of our members interview : Muy-Heak

Can you introduce yourself and tell us how long you have been a member of the Toastmasters CN Collaborators club ?

My name is Muy-Heak. I have a background in accounting, and I have now started a career in data science. I have been working on a business intelligence project for a year now. My new position requires me to give presentations and training on a new software called Qlik Sense. Prior to taking part in this project, I would avoid as much as possible finding myself in an uncomfortable situation, to be clear any presentation for an audience or even speaking at a meeting. However I really wish to perform well at my job, so I decided it is time to stop turning a blind eye to this situation. I started by attending a two-day public speaking training, but it was not sufficient to get rid of my fear of speaking before an audience. This led me to realize that only regular practice would help me improve. That is how a became a member of the CN Collaborators Toastmasters club in May 2020.

Can you tell us what particular aspects of the club appealed to you when you chose a Toastmasters club ?

I was looking for a club close to my place of work, and this club was the nearest. (The club’s sessions normally take place near the Bonaventure metro station in Montreal) I attended three different meetings as a guest, this allowed me to have a better understanding of the different aspects of a Toastmasters meeting. Two elements appealed to me, the light atmosphere, but mostly the kindness of the members.  Lastly, I am not perfectly bilingual. Once I overcome my fear of public speaking, I would like practice more and more my English.

You recently reached an important step in the Toastmasters journey : the Icebreaker speech. Congratulations ! Can you tell us more about it ?

This first speech would seemed easier as the subject matter was taken from my own experience. Even then I still felt a lot of stress before locking a date for the speech. I pushed the date back a few times, as I was apprehensive about this Icebreaker speech.  However once I set a date for the D-Day, writing the speech came naturally and the practice session went well. Finally, I am really satisfied after my performance. I managed to present all the anecdotes I wanted to share. Even though my speech is quite ordinary compared to one given by a more experienced speaker, I am really proud of myself. I stepped out of my comfort zone and I went to places I never thought I would go to.

Now that you cleared this step. Do you have any piece of advice for a new member preparing for the Icebreaker speech ? Which elements helped you personally during your preparation ?    

The first thing would be to set a date for the speech. This will help avoiding pushing off the date. Another thing would be to discuss openly with one’s mentor to get some tips and pieces of advice that apply to you personally. Then, in my case, once I wrote my speech, I rehearsed my speech multiple times. During my preparation, I would often repeat to myself that the people in the audience had faced the same important challenge and that they chose to be available for the speech.

Finally, can you tell us about elements you found helpful in your personal or professional life, as a result of your Toastmasters experience with our club ?

I gave my Icebreaker speech on the 14th of September. The next day, I attended the annual board meeting for my son’s primary school. I was already a member of the board, and the board was looking for a new candidate to fill the role of president. My nomination was suggested. If I was the old Muy-Heak, I simply would have passed on the offer. Instead, still feeling the adrenaline rush from the previous day and the pride I was feeling after my performance, I accepted my nomination as a president wholeheartedly. Obviously, after the meeting was over, I felt a little nervous. I remembered that with this role came the responsibility to conduct the regular monthly meetings and the next annual board meeting as well.

Thank you Muy-Heak and see you soon for a Toastmasters meeting at our club !


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