“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” – Paolo Coelho
Ding… I received a message from a friend: “Rodel, I can’t participate in DTAC this time and since you are the second place in the DIVISION Contest for Humorous Speech Category, you are the next eligible toastmaster who can participate…”
It was mixed emotions… bitter-sweet. It was bitter because a friend, who is more likely to win in the contest could not participate due to some circumstances, and the same time sweet, for selflessly sharing his victory with me and giving me the opportunity to participate in the contest every toastmaster has been dreaming of : The District 20 Toastmasters’ Annual Conference. A conference where every toastmaster meets each time of the year in any of the following countries: UAE, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain. A time of the year to search for the best toastmaster in the following category: Humorous, Evaluation, Table Topics and International Speech Contest.
Without hesitation, I declared that I am more than happy to represent our Division in Kuwait. I booked my ticket, hotel reservation and then secured my toastmaster registration; I had doubts. I partly questioned myself because I felt that this was pure luck. I am a member of 3 clubs, My Mother Club – Desert Pioneers, then Active Minds a diverse club, and another club that I am part of during the chartering, NKPIS. I failed to participate in the Club Contest for Desert Pioneers due to work and I didn’t even nail third in Active Minds, but I got the gateway to the Area Contest in NKPIS since, it was newly chartered and no one has volunteered to represent. Well, I volunteered. In the area contest, there were only 4 contestants, and yes, the universe has a way of making a secure spot for me to compete for the Division. Two of the participants went overtime and winners won by default. I got second. Haha! - Lucky me!
There were 6 contestants in the Division I contest; All of them were equally good. Thankfully, I placed again… Second. I thought that was the end of my journey because only one can represent our division… Not until that message came.
It didn’t really sink in to me until my mentor and a friend told me that I should start rehearsing; with barely a week from the D-day, I rehearsed, rehearsed and rehearsed, they evenly spent their time with me during my practice… “Oh My God! (Repeat to infinity to exaggerate) is this really happening?” I exclaimed.
Anxiety Attack, as I saw the hall where we would compete, it was huge! And so I had to study the stage well so that I know how I would be able to move properly. More practice… More suggestions… Thanks to the last minute comments I was able to incorporate more on my speech.
The contest was divided into two groups, a group of 8 and 7. Group A and B, respectively and I was part of the bigger group A.
Another Anxiety Attack on the day of the contest, draw lots and waiting time… My knees were weakening like as if I didn’t have breakfast… My friends were there cheering, like as if they were my crutches until inner voice coming into my mind (You can do it! You can do it!) as I listen to the music of WE WILL ROCK YOU (by the Queen). I note to myself, “Ok Rodel, since you are already here and you came to represent Kuwait, why don’t you just be yourself and give all what you’ve got? You’ve been here, just a bigger crowd… No one will judge you…” and so it happened…
Point 1: Exaggerate! Since it’s a big stage, movements should be seen well.
Point 2: Check the spotlights. Make sure that they can see your face so that they can see your facial expressions.
Point 3: Act like a winner and feel it!
There are just few of the thoughts I had at that time, and glad that it paid off for I heard laughter in every set of my punch lines. It annoyed me a little bit when I heard a ringing phone; however, it was a good thing that I was not able to forget my spiel.
I won 1st runner up in the elimination and luckily won 2nd runner up in the finals. Oh boy! There were butterflies in my stomach when I was waiting for the announcement of the winners; to be honest, I was hoping to win, but not really expecting, for I felt that the finalists also did an awesome performance.
Being in DTAC and representing my Country and Kuwait is already an honor, making it to the finals and winning it? It way too much! It was truly a humbling experience for me.
With this success, I strongly believe that I am just a face, for there are a lot of people behind me who has supported me and as grateful as I am when I stood in that podium to deliver a message.
Ildone – who gave me the opportunity to join DTAC. He could’ve bagged another victory this year but he selflessly shared it to me.
Hazel – my mentor who brainstormed with me on this speech in Nov 2012.
Raymond – my mentor who helped me how to deliver and tackle the speech.
Robert and Natalia – who made sure that they also hear my speech and provided comments on how I could improve it better
Deepak Vindal – who helped me secure my registration in DTAC
Satish Kumar – who constantly check on me and pursue me to attend DTAC
Don, Sandy, Lisa and Faten – who gave me more pointers the night before the contest, on how I could put more light on my presentation.
Active Minds, Desert Pioneers and NKPIS – My clubs that always allow me to grab opportunities to grow.
My Message – “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” (Quoting Paolo Coelho)
Whether it’s in toastmasters, at school, work or family or even just a mere hobby, Your passion and wanting could lead you somewhere, with an ample amount of determination and push, the universe will conspire in helping you achieve what you want, if there’s a will, there’s always be away.
Attached is the humorous speech video