Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Certified Communicator

Choosing Happiness

For my tenth speech for the Toastmasters Certified Communicator Award, I had to give an inspiring speech. It was supposed to go 8-10 minutes. I only planned a speech for 5-7 minutes. Somehow, I had to prolong my speech.

So, I went to the dramatic course. Instead of just giving a title of "Choose Happiness," I went to the title of "Become a Magician."

For about two minutes, I showed fear. I mentioned stuff about my earlier life. No money. Hypochondriac. Thoughts of cancer and heart disease seeping into my life everyday. Fear of being killed. Fear of dying. Fear of death. How does it feel to die? Is it sudden? Is it slow? The audience did not know what to make of it. After all, I was supposed to give an inspiring speech. Why in the name of heaven was I so scared? They were giggling. Smirking. I continued until they were absolutely uncomfortable. They were on the edge of leaving their seats before I changed.

I snapped my fingers. I clapped my hands. [Thanks Tuhan for the dramatic flair]. I did a compare and contrast with who I was five years ago and who I am now. I showed that fear and sadness is not a fun way to live.

Then, I gave practical advice. The first is to smile. The smile makes hormones of happiness in your body. The second is to leave the depressing people. Sad story. But if all they are about are themselves and how sad and lonely their lives are, forget it. Time to leave them. Choose happiness.

Now some would say that it is better to feel something than not to feel. To those, I say visit a third world country where there is no indoor plumbing or food on the table. That should shake them up well enough.

The third advice was to control your thoughts. Do it slowly. First control the small things. Don't be jealous of the successes of others. Be happy for them. Don't think about trying o one-up others. Congratulate them and you will see that you too will be congratuled in turn for your successes.

For the speech, I whispered, I screamed, I stood behind the podium and I did every single trick in the book. They said that I exceeded it when I began talking about death and using the snapping fingers and clapping hands. My personal belief is that it was an effective memorable speech because they were uncomfortable. It is amazing what Toastmasters can teach.

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