Pen Strokes

November 2, 2008

What I LEARNED as a Contestant in District 75’s MidCon 2008…

Maayong Aga sa inyong tanan!

Let me dive straight into it…

The District 75 Mid-Year Conference was a blast! Sure there were some hiccups (like any event, there will always be hiccups); but, generally, the entire event was a rousing success! It was well prepared and the pomp and pageantry was simply awesome! Congratulations to Division D for an outstanding job!

I’m really glad I got to attend this occasion. Actually, I almost wasn’t able to make it to Bacolod had it not been for your (Toasties) support and the support of the Division B Officers and Area Governors. For this I present my most heart-felt “Thank You”!

Sad to say, however, that the only trophy I was able to take home was the 1st Runner-Up Trophy for the Singing Contest (By the way, the trophies are beautiful). Initially, I was disappointed with this… and because I am a proud person, I would blame the judges for what I viewed as their “incompetence” in judging… but truth be told… I probably won only in my own mind! I forgot the cardinal rule before giving a speech (or a performance)… CONSIDER YOUR AUDIENCE (or in this case, consider who your judges will be) so that you may be able to prepare the appropriate speech for the event!

But this isn’t the only lesson I got to take home with me… I had forgotten what being a Toastmaster was all about… I went to Bacolod to win contests… I went to Bacolod to TAKE… I had forgotten that being a Toastmaster was about GIVING! Speeches are never about the Speaker… Speeches are about the Audience! Though the content of the speech is usually taken from the speaker’s experience or research, it is what the audience takes home that really matters.

After realizing this, I entered the Evaluation Contest more relaxed. I remembered what Raju Mandhyan said in his Educational Session… “Evaluation is about the (target) Speaker…”  This stuck to me! So… I only had one question to answer for my evaluation… “How can I HELP Roj (our target speaker) improve his speech?”… So I spoke from my HEART (in true BNT fashion) and concentrated on simply helping Roj…

I lost the Evaluation Contest…

But then… Roj approached me and thanked me profusely for my evaluation… He said that only 2 Evaluators made an impact on him and gave him advise that he felt he could actually use… those two were Carmel (from Molave… who also didn’t win) and me… Carmel and I had accomplished what we set out to do… and because of this… WE WON!

Guys! Don’t worry! I haven’t lost my competitive fire! I still intend to kick butt in the DISCON! I still intend to WIN… but this time around my priorities have changed… First… WIN their HEARTS… then… maybe… WIN the CONTEST as well…




  1. Maybe TM contests should have text-voting like American Idol. That way, we know who really made an impact instead of being at the mercy of some incompetent judges…

    But then again, the division/area with the most members will probably win…

    I guess you got it right. Don’t join a contest just to win. Join a contest because you have a MESSAGE to deliver to the entire community. And hopefully, you’ll win. 🙂

    Comment by Andy Uyboco — November 7, 2008 @ 10:05 am | Reply

  2. You’re thinking too much again, my friend! 😉

    But… yes! I learned a lot then! Hope to see you and Marylene in the DISCON. It’ll be in Davao, you know!

    Comment by boom8088 — November 7, 2008 @ 8:10 pm | Reply

  3. Losing out on the competition was probably one of the best things that could have happened. It put things in perspective about why we do what it is we do, and that is to help the speaker instead of trying to hog the spotlight for ourselves.

    Here’s to Roj and our triumphant effort of helping him become a better speaker 🙂

    Comment by Carmel Valencia — November 7, 2008 @ 10:01 pm | Reply

  4. Hey Carmel! Nice of you to visit my Blog, and leave a comment to boot! Wow! It is truly an honor to be visited by one of the best speakers I know!

    See you at the DISCON!!! 😀

    Comment by boom8088 — November 7, 2008 @ 10:47 pm | Reply

  5. The sad thing is, some judges still tend to reward evaluators who showboat…

    Comment by andy uyboco — November 8, 2008 @ 9:21 pm | Reply

  6. Yes they do, Andy. The MidCon proved it. The one who won only won on theatrics… from my point of view, that is.

    But the important person, for me, is still the target speaker! We can’t help it if the judges tend to go for theatrics. We can’t second guess them either. A solid strategy would still be to keep your mind on how to help the target speaker… and believe that, no matter how the judges sway, helping the target speaker improve makes you a winner!

    Comment by boom8088 — November 8, 2008 @ 9:59 pm | Reply

  7. Pleasing judges is the very nature of speech contests! 😀

    Comment by Alvin — November 11, 2008 @ 1:51 am | Reply

  8. It may be, Alvin; but Giving something worthwhile to your audience is still what Toastmastering is about! 😉

    Comment by boom8088 — November 11, 2008 @ 6:50 pm | Reply

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