Ricky Soo. Do you want to be a father or mother? Do you want to be a father or mother? Ricky Soo.
One year ago, I was in a Toastmasters club. But when I stepped onto the stage, suddenly I was forced to choose to be a male, or a female. I stumbled through the speech in 2 minutes. But the table topics inspired me for my next speech. At that time, I was looking for ideas for my CC project speech number 6, Vocal Variety.
I was smart. So I expanded my 2-minute impromptu speech into a 7-minute prepared speech. I was even smarter. I sang a song to show off my vocal variety. I was the smartest, when I sang a Chinese song! 世上只有妈妈好 (*monotonous voice), which means only mother is good in the world. I thought, for sure this would impress all the audience. But my evaluator told me, “Ricky, your voice is monotonous.”
Ladies and Gentlemen. For a long time as a Toastmaster, I faced one major challenge. I had been a monotonous speaker, meaning my voice had been flat and boring. I tried loud voice, soft voice. But it’s still the same old voice. I tried high pitch, low pitch. But it’s still the same old pitch. I tried singing. I tried dancing. But these were called distractions! Most of my evaluators still told me,“Ricky, your voice is monotonous.”
This went on and on, until one day I came across a technique called Read Aloud. In that morning, I found a motivational article. The content was so positive, so inspiring, so agreeable to me, that I felt like reading it out loud. So I read, with much interest, much passion, a lot of emotions. Soon, I was reading louder and louder. Suddenly, I heard a different voice from inside me! I heard vocal variety!
Since then, I’ve been practising Read Aloud regularly. Sometimes I read inspirational passage. Sometimes I read devotional materials. Sometimes I read stories, dialogues, even news! It doesn’t matter what I read. It doesn’t matter how long it is. As long as I’m reading consistently, and putting my effort into it, I found myself improving day by day. Nowadays, I’m hearing less and less complaints on my vocal variety. I’m on the way to become a better speaker!
Today we are going try Read Aloud together. I’ll read one passage from the Toastmasters magazine. Then I’ll invite any two of you to volunteer and experience the same thing. With the demonstration, I hope you can see the benefits, and practice it yourself as a personal habit. For those of us from other clubs, if you are willing, I’m more than willing to come to your club meeting and do the same demonstration for your members.
My brothers and sisters. Are you also facing any major challenge as a speaker? If yes, let me share one deeper lesson I learned. I was once very frustrated of my lack of vocal variety. But as I kept putting effort to solve my challenge, the solution came in the form of Read Aloud. People say, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Who knows, when we put our effort into solving a challenge, the whole universe will conspire to give us a solution. May the force be with you.