Sunday, April 3, 2011

Going Through It Over Again

I've lost in the Division S International Speech Contest. I wasn't good enough and the other speakers were simply amazing. Participating in the contests was truly eye-opening for me. From the club level, to finally Division, the heart beat at a different rate. All the preparation was slightly different and expectation was too, elevated. This is a good lesson learnt in life, and the next time shall I try again, I'll do it from a different angle. I was indeed a noob.

What went wrong?

I over practiced. My frequent advice for novice speaker is "don't memorize your speech, develop the points and let it go freely". In this contest, I ate my own spat. Wanting to be perfect, I forgot the whole picture of my speech and did it out of pure memory word-by-word. It's like a song repeated in my head, even I was annoyed by it, how to convince the audience? The only way to win next time is, to do well on every speech from this point onwards and be natural champion, not a recording puppet.

No matter how much we plan and try, how the audience responded, none would carry any impact if we did not speak from the heart. I remember 8 years back when I was in form 5, in front of all the first years I held the trophy high and said "this cup is the heart and soul of generation of seniors. It's blood and sweat that has brought it here, protect it well, don't let any other school take it away". Then I broke down and cried, so did the first years. That was the most powerful speech I've ever said. It's short, it's concise and it carried the message from my heart… their heart. And it's impromptu.

My speech was full of discipline; Powerful opening, 3 clear cut points and an unforgettable conclusion. Those are great for exams but not competition. I have learnt that what matters is, have a good point and pound hard on it. Deliver it the best way and highest impact possible. Make 1 point unforgettable is easier for the audience than 3. People are lazy. Make it easy for them.

At the end, I was exposed to a higher level so much, I feel the difference within me. For every contest I went through, something inside me changed. For every contest lost, my ego crumpled and that made me a more receptive person for improvements; sometimes it's necessary for idiots like me. But still, losing is never a good feeling. Not even for an idiot. Honestly, when my friend pat onto me and said "it's ok, don't be disappointed", I nearly broke down. Who wouldn't? As time dilutes my agony, my experience stays…and that's what matters when we join toastmasters. It's not for the trophies (price is less than our membership fee), it's for something greater, it's called wisdom (priceless).

1 comment:

altophobia_22 said...

just shoot the bird man!, continue what u had been believed in. Honestly, i proud that u make it to this stage. today may no be your day, but who's know when will tomorrow come.