The toastmasters club is basically a place to improve your spoken language. You learn to give speeches, and there are levels of speeches you will give throughout your membership. You will be evaluated and promoted to the next level after every speech you give so you have to prepare well.
Of course I did not know all these when I was invited by StartupKenya on twitter. He told me he’d love to have me as a guest in one of the meetings. He told me about Nairobi Toastmasters club which meets twice a month at lunch time. The meetings usually take place at the United Kenya Club on Mondays.
I agreed to attend even before I knew what it was about. He told me the theme of the meeting was ‘My Technology’ and I’d be the topics master for the day. There are many roles one can have during the meeting, one of the toastmaster, who’s the emcee in simpler terms. Startupkenya was the toastmaster and I the topics master.
What was my role about? Well, I was to prepare topics about technology which I’d ask the members to give a 2 minute speech on. Like I ask you to speak briefly on how the computer has changed your life, what you think of the mobile phone, and members can be picked randomly to answer the questions.
Thus I sat down Sunday night, on the eve of the meeting, googling and trying to adapt the questions to something we can all relate to. I sent these to Startupkenya and he approved, said they were good questions. Anyway, Monday lunchtime found me at the United Kenya Club, participating in a most interesting session.
The meeting started with the chairman opening the meeting and conducting some club business, after which the toastmaster was invited to take over the meeting. Some members who were being evaluated gave their speeches, one gave their first ever speech called The Ice Braker. I must admit, the grammar and punctuation, and construction of sentences and use of metaphors and description was on top.
After which I was invited to ask members questions, and these are some of them:
“You have found the love of your life on an internet dating site. Tell your mother how the first date went.”
“You are the love who’s been found. Tell us how it went down.”
“you have landed in a village where you they have never seen a mobile phone. Describe it to them.”
You get the gist of the questions.
Of course I had to introduce myself and explain a little about twitter, and it was encouraging to see that about a third of them were tweeps.
Though they may not have heard of me 🙂
I’d love to be a member of the Toastmasters Nairobi. Will definitely help with those CEO speeches I’ll be making in the future. Plus it’s a great opportunity to network.