Tony Tong (16 Jan 2019)
I recently participated in a week-long biz idea competition in 🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates, in the Middle East. It was organised by UAE University, one of the best universities in the country.
There were 10 teams including students from Japan, Korea, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Egypt, Africa and China. The Instructors were experienced professionals in the accelerator space, who have seen hundreds of startup teams and pitches.
Every day, we were required to perform a 5min pitch on our current progress.
Even though I was just doing the technical work of building a web prototype, my team encouraged me to present and after some deliberation (and their constant nagging) I said yes.
I only had about 1 day (alongside coding) to read up on the business stuff and prepare my solo pitch, which involved some design and last-minute changes from the team.
2 hours before the pitch I felt like I was hyperventilating inside, seeing all the teams preparing around me and competing hard.
This was my first presentation to a global audience, in a foreign environment, on an idea we just came up with 4 days ago.
I went out to get some fresh air, some deep breaths and light meditation to get my state back.
Like Wekie Tay said, good presentation lies in good preparation.
After I felt more anchored, I watched 6-7 other pitches before my turn, and I crushed it.
I got feedback from the accelerator that I had the highest energy of all pitches, major improvement in slides.
Participants all over threw compliments and said how much they enjoyed my presentation. Some were surprised I was not the main speaker for the team.
I got rated 1st that day at an average of 8.3/10 (all other teams rated below 8) and we got the best prototype award of the day as well (I presented it during the pitch).
The best part was that my team mates were so happy for me, it felt good to be able to deliver a message clearly and succinctly to an engaged audience, to do the content justice.
Right after, I immediately realised how much of this amazing presentation was due to Toastmasters, the regular practice I had put in since joining (5 months ago) and how much more smooth and confident I feel speaking on a stage to strangers.
In an instant, I felt I had reaped the benefits of all that hard work, learning small tidbits like alliterations, packaging my content to fit the audience, merging logic with story and many many other details that would have taken me ages to learn if all on my own, if without the help of seniors in this club.
And this is the deepest reason why I joined Toastmasters, not just for the ribbons, not the claps but for that important message you have to communicate one day….
an important impression.
To the people that matter.
That’s the juice.
And I can assure you, this feeling of seeing strangers all over the world come up to you, telling you how much they enjoyed your presentation – is worth the effort and sacrifice.
I hope for everyone here to be able to feel this one day, cause it is so motivating to communicate something clearer than 99% of the world…
Go on and crush it!!
PS: we eventually won third overall in the competition, out of 10 teams!
Li Jue Kun (18 March 2019)
16 March 2019 was a special day for me. Winning all three categories in the Area Z1 contest was indeed my first time, but there was one thing special not for the first time.
Many times, I am supported by my fellow NUS Toastmasters with their loudest cheers.
Many times, I feel warm and touched with their sincere wishes and personal touches.
All the times, you, NUS Toastmasters Club, make a big difference in me!
I believe a person loves a country, a place, or an organization not because he loves the abstract entity itself, but because he loves the people who make the entity a place where he can proudly say “I belong to it!”
I am proud to be with NUS Toastmasters Club for the last 5 years! The care, the cheers and the camaraderie are the invaluable assets of my life! I can’t say enough times of THANK YOU for the transformation I have seen on myself. What I can do to give back is to carry forward the spirit of learning and giving and spread more positive vibes and inspirations to the people around me!
Wishing my home club NUS Toastmasters Club the very best for many years to come!