By RONNY LIM
Sunway Toastmasters Club member RONNY LIM had at first set his sights on one particular mentor, but in an unexpected twist of fate, he got a different (and much younger) mentor, who helped him realise that the ability to lead and inspire transcends age and experience.
I joined Sunway Toastmasters Club in 2017 with the aim of improving my public speaking and leadership skills. On top of that, I also wished to be in a friendly club environment – one that focuses on quality as opposed to quantity, and to be amongst people who would encourage me on my Toastmaster’s journey.
First Impressions are Important
I must say that when I first attended a Sunway Toastmasters meeting, the benefits I received from this club went beyond my expectations. I still remember the very first time I stepped into the club, I was impressed by the orderly arrangement of the chairs and tables in preparation for the meeting. When I saw those tables and chairs, I felt joy and a sense of expectation — as though a major function was about to begin!
The people at the meeting were friendly and warm. I looked around and saw lots of interaction amongst the attendees – some were deep in conversation while others were lightheartedly ribbing each other. The camaraderie was so great, laughter could be heard echoing off the walls. My first impression of the club was definitely a good one.
A Cruel Twist of Fate?
I quickly signed up to become a member and was impressed even more when I realised that in the interest of helping the members improve, each of them would be assigned a mentor.
At first, I had opted for a senior member in the club as my mentor. However, the club assigned Benedict Leong Mann Keong (yes, Mr President!) as my mentor instead. I hesitated at first and momentarily toyed with the idea of requesting for a change of mentor (back to the original one I wished to have). Ben (as he’s known in the club) is about a decade younger than I am. What would we have in common? In the end, I decided to be rational and at least give this arrangement a try. Was it fate? Was it, as people say, pre-planned?
Moving Forward With An Open Mind
I figured that time would tell if this partnership was ‘destined’ to be – or not. After all, out of so many mentors in the club, why Benedict? There had to be a reason why we were being paired up. I therefore accepted the decision of the club with a joyful heart and was hopeful of where this might lead us.
Despite our age difference I wanted to learn from him with an open mind. To my delight and astonishment, Ben received numerous awards from Toastmasters International. These are Ben’s achievements so far:
* Won District level Humorous Speech contest in year 2016
* Won District level Evaluation contest in year 2017
* Got 3rd place for Division level Table Topics contest in year 2017
* Got 3rd place for Area level International Speech contest in year 2017
* Won District level Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contests in year 2018
* Won Division level Evaluation contest in year 2018
As you can see, his achievements are (almost) a mile long! I’m very proud of him and happy to be his mentee – everything worked out well in the end.
How A Mentor-Mentee Partnership Works
As you read this, you may ask how does the mentor-mentee partnership actually work at Sunway Toastmasters Club? For Ben and I, it involves lots of positive exchanges. This is how it usually works: I would first send him a written script of my speech; he would then reply me with his views and suggestions for improvement as required. On the day of my speech, my mentor is often there to support me and observe how I delivered my overall speech. After the speech, at the end of the meeting, I make it a point to approach my mentor for feedback on how I performed as a speaker for the project speech. Ben would usually list down verbally what I did great and provide wisdom on how I could improve based on his observation.
The MOST IMPORTANT Lesson Learnt Is…
One of the most important lessons I’ve learnt from Ben is to ALWAYS write down a script of my speech. According to my mentor, a good script makes a good speech. From then on, I’ve made it a practice to write out my storyline so I can deliver an impactful speech! Most importantly, Ben has been very patient and guided me sincerely. He is always generous in sharing his knowledge and skills. He shares freely so that I get to learn his skills. I hold Ben in high regard as my mentor because he sincerely wishes to see me improve my speaking skills and works selflessly to help me achieve this.
Due to Ben’s perseverance building up my confidence in speech crafting and delivery, I now look forward to delivering impactful speeches that will continue to improve with time and practice. In retrospect, the change in mentor has been a blessing in disguise. Thank you, Sunway Toastmasters Club!
Want to know more about Ronny’s mentor Ben? You’ll love this article…
If you would also like to read about our newly crowned Division C Humorous Speech contest winner Seki Ng, check out his heart-warming (and funny) revelations about understanding millennials.