Saturday, April 21, 2018

Introduction to Toastmasters Mentoring-Sample Speech IP2, "When the Student is Ready"

This is my 7th speech under Pathways. The speech was delivered at the BF Community Toastmasters Club (BFComm) in the Apr.21, 2018 Toastmasters Meeting. For this meeting, the venue was Gather Workspace. Ching Bognot CL, evaluated me for this speech.

When the Student is Ready
(Introduction to Toastmasters Mentoring, Level 2-Innovative Planning, Apr 21, 2018, BFComm TMC, Gather Workspace, Las PiƱas City. Evaluated by Ching Bognot CL)


“When the student is ready… the master will appear.” Have you heard of that saying? It’s a quotation attributed to Buddhist origins. But the first time I heard it, it was, believe it or not, from a movie – “The Mask of Zorro” starring Antonio Banderas.

In the movie, it depicts a young Zorro and his willingness to learn, to set goals and overcome challenges – all from an unlikely teacher. Good afternoon, everyone.


It was way back in 2006 when I first joined Toastmasters. And at that time, it wasn’t customary to assign mentors. But the only person who showed real passion at my first club was Dr. Noy, our company doctor. He was so passionate, advanced and experienced that he was the only club member who eventually became a DTM or Distinguished Toastmaster. All the other members of the club, well they were just too busy on other matters.

It was probably wrong timing when I joined the club. That’s because the attendance of the club had started dwindling. We started with 30 members, then 20, then 10, then 5. But Dr. Noy was unfazed. He saw my interest. His being positive and supportive made it easier for me. So in an informal way, he became my mentor.

He was committed and dependable when it came to Toastmasters events. I knew that, because I was there. Because there was little interest and support from our previous company, he asked me to join him in club-hopping. Now there’s a term we always hear – “club-hopping”.

Dr. Noy knew the value of club-hopping, of how important it is to face a wide variety of audiences. How one enriches his speaking skills by learning from others, beyond one’s own club. He even asked me to become a Test Speaker once for a Joint-Area Evaluation Contest. And that’s where I learned to speak before bigger audiences.

He taught me, not to shy away, but to deliberately seek out opportunities to speak, and to volunteer to give speeches, when possible. Veteran speakers refer to this as “stage-time”.

But my most vivid memory I have as a protege was when he encouraged me to join a Toastmasters Area Contest – then called a Quartethlon. He didn't coach me. He didn't say "Les, do this, do that, change this part of your speech to this” or asked me to change gestures or whatever details. He wasn't a coach but he gave valuable feedback as an evaluator. He mentored. He told me what to expect in contests. He helped me learn the ropes.

In that contest, even as I represented the club, I remember, I didn’t have anyone from my club cheering for me. Why so? With no attendance, no interest and no renewals, the club was about to close down. Can you imagine that? Me... in an Area Level Contest representing a club that was about to go? (slash neck gesture) It was sad, but I didn't let that get to my head. My mentor was there. But I did well, well enough to win and advance to the Division level contest... where I lost. (bow)

But then I remember his words: “Les, anyone of the four of you could have won that contest… anyone. The judges just saw it differently. And don’t let that ever discourage you.”

Our club eventually closed and I moved to another club. Dr. Noy left the company for abroad. I knew he would do well overseas in his career. After all, he’s a DTM and a successful communicator. We lost contact for many years. And much later, I learned he’s in the Middle East, still building Toastmaster Clubs and still mentoring especially, OFWs.


I’m grateful that he became my mentor. I’m grateful that I was ready, even at the time our club about to close, he was there. How about you, the new and young Toastmasters? Are you ready? Is the student in you, ready? For the master, may just be sitting nearby.

Toastmaster of the Day.

Dominique Fruchtman, DTM, SPHR said...

Thanks for sharing this beautifully written speech about your accidental mentor. I hope you go on to get your DTM. It's worth it. And keep competing in contests, even if it's Table Topics or Evaluations. Contests keep you focused and remind you that if you can compete, you can speak anywhere, anytime.
Thank you again for your wonderful story.

Blackdove said...

Hi Dominique! Yes, I finally achieved my DTM last July 1, 2019. And thank you for the thought regarding joining contests. I'll remember that.

rewinn said...

Let me echo Dominique's thanks for the pleasure of reading a delightful and inspiring speech. It takes courage to keep on going when the club is dwindling, and if a mentor sets an example: how wonderful!

Currently all of my District's clubs are meeting virtually, so club-hopping is easier than ever. We can drop in on whatever club is meeting at any particular time, for an hour or two of hearing great speeches and making new friends!

Blackdove said...

Thank you for the kind words, rewinn. When a club struggles to meet or even survive, it's all the more difficult to a newbie member. So, yes, hopping to other club meetings is a life-saver for the newbie. Tnx for dropping by!

Unknown said...

What a beautiful speech I like the way you have linked it to the quote and the movie. I am inspired with your story,it shows that you had a vision.Despite the club going down.

Blackdove said...

Thank you! I loved that movie. haha!