Tonight was a very special night for me. Not only because of another one of Josephus’ breakthrough appearances, nor because of the format that we did for our business meeting, but because I did my 10th project speech, the goal of which was to inspire your audience. That marked the end of my basic communicator manual and the beginning of my advanced communicator projects.

I’ve always heard of toastmasters even when I was back in the Philippines, however, I never gave it a try because membership fees were expensive. In dubai, fees are still not cheap, but as I am earning more, it has become affordable. I joined because of Charity (who is now my mentor) and was Josephus’ dance partner. I visited once, saw a potentially fun and educational club and without any hesitation, I decided to join.

I’ve always liked writing. However, I don’t think I will ever become a professional one because my writing always comes from personal experiences – my thoughts, rants and raves and is always informal. I can never be pressured with a deadline. So when I joined, I found another avenue for my writing, However, I took my project manuals slowly because I hate pressure. I would only speak when I feel ready. And so 10 project speeches took almost 2 years for me to finish.

As I continued with my Toastmasters journey, I became part of an encouraging and fun family, the Oasis Achievers Toastmasters Club. I have noticed that in filipino clubs in dubai, it’s always a dog-eat-dog experience. They bring each other down, they fight over petty things that do not and should not affect their lives and are seldom sincerely supportive of each other. Not in Oasis Achievers. I get public criticism for my speeches, yes, but they were always said constructively and encouragingly that you actually learn from it and it inspires you to do better in your next speeches. In Oasis Achievers, you get motivated and encouraged to always do your best. And do my best i did. I won 8 best speaker awards out of 10 project speeches, 2 best evaluator awards out of 2 evaluations and 2 best in table topic awards out of 2 table topics. Not bad considering I’m still considered a newbie.

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And, our club battled against the whole of Middle East and Africa for the best in promotional poster award, or “beat the drum” award, and a poster Josephus and I did won! Proud I am 🙂

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So anyway, tonight, in light of the recent brouhaha over American Idol, we had Toastmaster’s idol as our theme. Iman spearheaded everything and it turned out different and great.

When it was my turn to speak, as always, I was nervous. It was my first time to speak about something so personal that by the end of the speech, I saw people getting teary eyed and couldn’t prevent myself from also crying (facepalm). The other speakers joanne and xyla did a great job too and so did the evaluators, the supernovas of toastmasters. We had 2 area governors Fidel and Romy, 1 incoming (ehem) area governor Charity, 1 division governor Balaji, the only woman to have represented the middle east for the international speech contest Rowena, and resident psychologist Floro. It really was awesome to be evaluated by people who knew what they were talking about and who definitely are the Toastmaster Idols. By the end of the night, I got the best speaker award and couldn’t have been happier to have ended and marked a milestone with it. I will now get the Toastmasters Competent Communicator award for having completed all 10 projects and as proud and happy as I am to have done so, I know I still have a long way to go before I reach the level of the Rowenas, Balajis, Charitys and Floros of this world.

2< All the votes that came in tonight. Grandslam :-) Thank you Ali for giving this to me. This is an awesome memorabilia. I can only wish that more people know how great Toastmasters is and how much you learn from it. How much it can develop your speaking and public relation skills which is really the core of personality development. So now I leave you with tonight's "word of the day", featuring the breakthrough artist of the millennium, Josephus. (video above)