Pen Strokes

June 1, 2009

Losing it, Learning from it, Loving it!

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Me, giving my contest speech

My views of the 2009 District 75 Annual Convention

I left for Davao with high hopes of winning the International Speech Competition; but I came back empty-handed… I lost… and had a great time losing! That’s right; I didn’t even “place” in the International Speech Contest, but I had a blast! So how could I have had a great time?

Well, before I give you my thoughts on the contest, I’d, first, like to tip my hat to the DISCON organizers for a job well done! Not only did they come up with a fantastic event, they also helped arrange tours for us to enjoy the wonders of Davao. This was very considerate of them. One of the reasons we hold events in different places is for us to discover the beauty of that place; and our organizers were gracious enough to realize this. Not only that; all the contests were spectacular! They lived up to the hype and much more! The Youth contest, Table Topics, Humorous and the International Speech contest were amazing! This was the best series of speech contests I have ever witnessed. (more…)

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December 8, 2008

I Create Excellence! (BNT’s Return to the MSE Penthouse)

Finally, near the end of the year, we’ve returned to our usual meeting venue at the Penthouse of the old Makati Stock-Exchange (MSE) Building! While this venue was being refurbished, we have had to hold our meetings on the 4th Floor of the same building and in the, now famous, Rocci Café! Though I will miss our alternative venues, somehow, it feels right to be back here!

Our theme for the night, “I Create Excellence”, couldn’t have been more appropriate! Not because we had a perfect meeting… we all know that this particular meeting was far from being perfect… but because we witnessed once again how every member was eager to make this meeting another memorable and fun BNT meeting! The great artist, Michelangelo, once said “The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we hit it.” Our eagerness may have been the cause of some of our little mishaps that night; but we aimed high; and we still had one rockin’ BNT night! (more…)

November 4, 2008

Preparing a Powerhouse Speech…

8c44As Toastmasters, giving speeches is inevitable; which means that learning to prepare your speech is a crucial skill to have. However, I believe that PREPARING SPEECHES is not just a Toastmasters’ skill… it is a Life-skill. It helps us hone other skills like… for instance… WRITING… which is a handy skill to have in everyday life. It also encourages us to READ… especially if our speech is technical in nature or requires research. And… a well prepared speech builds our SELF-CONFIDENCE… and isn’t self-confidence the main ingredient in LEADERSHIP?

In my case, I not only prepare speeches for Toastmasters’ meetings or contests; I also prepare speeches for a living. Allow me to share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned when preparing speeches. I certainly hope that what I share will help you in Life… and also in Toastmasters! (more…)

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!

(more…)

November 1, 2008

BNT’s Night out at Rocci Café…

Gege at Table Topics... That's me with my back turned.

Gege at Table Topics... That's me with my back turned.

Rocci Café…

The down side? The place was cramped…
The up side? The place was cramped!

Last October 23, Butter n’ Toast decided to hold it’s meeting outside of the usual MSE Building; perhaps to, somehow, break the monotony of always holding it in the same place. We picked a quaint little café on Jupiter Street called Rocci to hold our meeting.

When I arrived at the Café, I had two initial reactions… the first was that I liked the ambiance; the second was that it was cramped! The second worried me. I kept thinking thoughts like; “Where is the stage? How will we fit the guests? Oh no… A Powerpoint Presentation! I hope we don’t break anything!”…  But when they started to serve the crispy, tasty and oh so heavenly sandwiches, I started to calm down.  It just goes to show you that my stomach… which is already infamous amongst BNT’s long-time members… actually dictates the way I feel!

When we started the meeting, however, my initial fears disappeared! As in true BNT Tradition, our meeting was all about fun and learning and learning to have fun… and we had an abundance of it that night! Here’s why… (more…)

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