Most of us are afraid of public speaking. Even when we have a prepared speech, once we stand in front of an audience, something strange can happen to our mind and we can experience something like a panic attack and forget our words. Would you therefore not a little bit curious about how some people can get to become toast masters and deliver an impressive speech like almost any time, any where, and in front of any audience? it is with this curiosity that we went to attend the Fort Bonifacio Toastmasters Club's 10th Anniversary Celebration last Saturday November 26, 2016.

Members enjoyed a speech being delivered while evaluators listened attentively for strengths and areas for improvement

The event was scheduled for 4pm to 8pm. When we arrived at around 5pm, there was someone making a speech already. We were given a program of the event, which contained also some information about the club's history and current board members.

It was a no-frill event, no dancing or singing to make the program seem longer, which is the way that we like it. They just got down to business, which was for three members each to deliver a prepared speech to meet a particular objective, and then each would be assessed by another Toastmaster who would provide some comments afterwards.


Presentation of projects

In the lingo of Toastmasters Club, a project is a speech that should achieve a specific purpose, according to the manual of the club.  There were three speech projects to be delivered that night, and their respective objectives were: Get to the Point, Persuade with Power and Your Body Speaks. The speakers for these speech projects were Ms Erica Tangalin (title of project was "No Man is an Island"), Mr. Angelo Reotutar ("Run Away"), and Ms Rizelle "Rei" Leano ("Legacy and Vision").

The three young speakers delivered their projects with courage and a sense of purpose. A particularly memorable moment was when Mr. Reotutar delivered the punchline of his story: even if we cannot out run a bear in the forest, as long as we can outrun our companion, our time spent in training to run would have been worth it!

After presentation of the project, the second most exciting moment (for the speakers at least) of the event was the feedback by the evaluators to each project. But the speakers did not look nervous at all, perhaps they knew the evaluators were very friendly, and even when there were places where improvements were required, they were mentioned in a very constructive way.  For that special evening, the project evaluators were Toastmaster guests from other clubs.

A vibrant community

We were attracted to this event for another reason. We at thefortcity.com have a community building aspect. We organize events to bring people together, and our site has a platform to facilitate communication among members who share a common interest. We want to know about other communities in Fort Bonifacio.

While we only stayed at the event for one and a half hour, we could already feel the energy of this Club. There were signs of a vibrant community everywhere.  First, we were greeted warmly by an officer of the club when we entered the event venue, even though we had never met. While we listened to a presentation, another event organizer and speaker approached us apparently without being prompted by anyone and offered to seat us closer to the stage. To us, it means that there were dedicated members in the club. 

Second, when someone delivered a speech, the audience stayed focused and listened attentively. Finally, the printed program was well-organized and full of relevant and useful information. Even the introduction of executive members was framed with a theme (of BGC murals), making the program both a text and graphic medium. 

Even though the Fort Bonifacio Toastmasters Club only has 33 members, the members are active and kind to each other, and that beats bigger clubs that are either inactive or dominated by a small group of people. It deserves to call itself the Friendliest Club.

For those interested

Having attended this event of the Fort Bonifacio Toastmasters Club, we can see the practical relevance of the club to these young professionals, apart from the social function. It is a very good platform for people to learn public speaking skills. The members of this group display a strong desire to self-improve.  If the club were not working for them, they would not have stayed.

The Toastmaster program has two streams. One is for leadership and the other for communication. The leadership stream has three levels while the communication stream has four levels. Each level can be completed by delivering 10 speeches, or projects as they are called. Dintinguished Toastmaster (DTM) is the highest norm a person can get in Toastmasters and it's a long way. Instead, after completing ten speeches or leadership roles, one may become a Competent Communicator (CC) or a Competent Leader (CL).

First time registration is P4,000, for the first 6 months of membership. Then P3,000 per subsequent 6 months. They meet  every 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month. For more information about Fort Bonifacio Toastmasters Club, you can visit their website  or Facebook page


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