Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Singapore Clubs: Birthday Cakes and Certificates

I gave a speech about Singapore Toastmasters Clubs to Harrovians Speakers Club on Monday May 9th 2016.

Toastmaster of the evening, Jayanthiny, had as her running theme, asking each speaker what they had learned in Toastmasters that they used outside Toastmasters.

I said: Earlier this year I went to a wedding in Singapore. I had prepared a speech in case one was needed. In the event, the bride and groom did not need a speech. They needed somebody to conduct the ceremony while it was still daylight, so they could be photographed in the gardens. I ended up performing a mock ceremony. Afterwards somebody asked, "How were you able to do that, unplanned, in front of a hundred people?" You know the answer to that: Toastmasters.

What do we do differently - and perhaps better - in England? We start by telling everybody to switch their phones to silent. This is done in some Singapore clubs but not all.

Then we tell them where to find the fire exit. This probably comes from the American influence. We also tell people where to find the toilets (which can be used in the break). In Singapore if somebody needs a toilet they mostly just wander out during the meeting and look for the signs. While you are speaking, they also wander up to the food table and help themselves to pizza or cake. And chat to other Toastmasters at the club, or on the phone.

Birthday Cake
Speaking of food, once club I went to served a birthday cake at every meeting. By the law of averages, of you have 24 members and 12 meetings a year, you are likely to have one or two birthdays at every meeting.

The meeting I attended had two birthday boys whose dates the organisers knew about. Just before the refreshment break, the Toastmaster of the Evening asked the birthday boys to stand on the stage.

The Toastmaster asked, "Does anybody else have a birthday? I put up my hand. I was invited on the stage with two birthday boys.  A cake was carried in with three candles . The lights were flashed on and off to show the candle and the audience sang Happy Birthday to you.

During the interval, we birthday boys and girls were the first to get a piece of the cake. Afterwards, the cake was shared by everybody.

Singaporean Certificates
Finally, if you go to a Singapore club to be a language evaluator (called Grammarian in London, England)or General Evaluator, you are likely to be given a certificate of appreciation. That's another idea we could copy.

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