Photo by: LB Times
Speech contest aspirants gear up for contests through “Ready, Set, SPEAK!” workshops

The UPLB Learning Resource Center (LRC) and the Los Baños Toastmasters Club (LBTMC) kicked off the new year with the “Ready, Set, SPEAK!: Gearing Up for Speech Contests Like a Pro” seminar-workshop series to train LBTMC members and aspiring public speakers for speech contests.

LBTMC is one of 25 clubs in Division K (Region IV-A) – District 75 (Philippines) of Toastmasters International, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to improving public speaking and leadership skills. Toastmasters choose from 11 specialized learning pathways, deliver speeches at club meetings, and offer supportive peer feedback.

Members can earn the Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) designation, the organization’s highest level of educational attainment. They must complete two learning paths, serve as club officers and district leaders for at least a year each, and coach and sponsor a club.

Five DTMs from the Division shared their expertise on international speech, humorous speech, table topics, and speech evaluation contests with 77 participants. The sessions took place in person at the LRC Office, UPLB Student Union Bldg. on January 8, 15, and 18, 2024.

LBTMC DTM Bobby Bautista compared crafting an excellent speech to cooking sinigang. He discussed how public speakers should tailor their speeches to their audience’s tastes, make them more palatable, arrange ideas in a specific order, and give them a different kick than other speeches.

“If you cook sinigang as your speech, [make it so that] as soon as you taste it until the very end, somebody gets a message from what you’re saying, and maybe [they] would like to have another bowl of sinigang,” Bautista concluded.

How to deliver a winning speech was discussed by DTM Rafiq Ahmed, who has competed in speaking contests since 2009 and was a semi-finalist at the World Championship of Public Speaking 2023. He encouraged participants to silence their inner critics, tell the audience “what’s in it for [them],” and carefully choose their messages, particularly concerning cultural barriers.

Ahmed emphasized that “You need to have you in your message in order to persuade or inspire audiences. If there is no you in your message, you can’t come forward and talk about any famous person out there and expect to move the audience.”

For Day 2, LBTMC DTM Jef Menguin shared tips for acing table topics or impromptu speeches, including thinking quickly, responding confidently, and leaving a lasting impression. DTM Robbie Jean Lorenzo then introduced participants to the sandwich approach to evaluation, which allowed them to provide more constructive feedback and uplifting comments.

Laguna Toastmasters Club DTM Joshua Santiago wrapped up the three-day workshop series by demonstrating how humor can make speeches more engaging and relatable.

The “Ready, Set, SPEAK!” series is one of the various activities in which LRC and LBTMC collaborated to boost public speaking confidence and growth among their stakeholders. It closed its curtains with participants all geared up to face public speaking challenges at school, work, or in Toastmasters contests.

The first of these competitions was the two-day Joint Club Level Speech Contest between LBTMC and the IRRI Toastmasters Club on February 13 and 14, 2024. Winning Toastmasters competed in the 2024 Area K2 Speech Contest on February 24, 2024.

LBTMC Toastmasters and UPLB staff member Sheryl Edd Hermosa-Ebron and faculty member Kate Palma-de Jesus won the international speech and speech evaluation competitions, respectively. Lester Avan Andrada, LBTMC president, won both the humorous speech and table topics categories.

They represented Area K2 in the Division K Speech Conference at De La Salle University – Dasmariñas, Cavite, on March 23, 2024. Hermosa-Ebron and Andrada again won the international and humorous speech categories in Division K, defeating five other qualifiers.
Along with Area K6 member Ahmed, who won first place in table topics and speech evaluation contests, they will compete against regional representatives at the District Run-offs on April 6, 2024, in Ortigas, Pasig City. (Jennina Marie Mora)

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