Soccer team in a huddle

Pitch Well, Network, and Lead with SAP Toastmasters

September 9, 2015 by Lucinda Huang 12

When I was in college, I always wondered why one of my good friends would dress up professionally every Thursday night to go give a speech. “It’s to learn to be a good speaker,” she said.

I too wished to be a confident speaker and not blush when facing an audience. My friend’s message stuck with me until I found a Toastmasters club at SAP. Since joining in year 2013, I have seen improvements in my presentation style and confidence. My team and friends agree that I have become more articulate.

In 2014, with the support of my fellow members, I won third in the Tall Tales Speech Contest – a tough feat in storytelling. This feat was achieved among 24 Toastmasters clubs in Division C. Today, I am proud to lead SAP Toastmasters, drive its success, and nurture members’ growth.

I truly believe you can be the speaker and leader you want to be with SAP Toastmasters. Let me tell you more about it.

A History of Success and Multiculturalism

Our club was chartered in 2003. We have achieved the President’s Distinguished Club award eight years in a row. This is the highest achievement for a Toastmasters club. Among the 280 clubs in District 4 that stretches from Golden Gate Bridge to Monterey, only 64 of clubs have received this award.

The club’s success is driven by individuals’ personal and professional growth. Improved communication and leadership skills often lead to promotion and department changes for our members. Our weekly meetings are workshops where members can study and practice communication and leadership skills with others. For those seeking greater challenges, we help them prepare for speech contests, such as the Tall Tales Speech contest and the Humorous Speech contest.

SAP Toastmasters represents the diversity at SAP. Our members have different cultural backgrounds. We have both native and non-native English speakers. In addition, one-third of the members are professionals from other companies in the Silicon Valley.

Make Compelling Presentations and Speak “On the Fly”

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 4.21.07 PM.pngCommunication skills are vital for success. Every member starts with the Competent Communicator manual to learn to structure speech, enunciate, and use vocal variety and body language to enhance delivery. Many of our members continue to pursue better speaking through the Advanced Communication Series; topics are technical presentations, public relations, persuasive speaking, and storytelling.

Table Topics is my favorite session at every meeting. At this session, our members get to practice organizing their thoughts quickly and provide a one to two minute response on a surprise topic. It helps develop our ability to think faster, better express the ideas and stay cool and confident under pressure. Can you structure a good response to the following question right away? “Who would win in a fight between Spiderman and Batman?” This was an interview question at Stanford University. Practice makes perfect. Come join Table Topics and become a good impromptu speaker.

Tune Up Your Leadership Style

Our goal also is to help members improve their leadership skills. Members learn how to give constructive feedback as a speech or meeting evaluator, and to facilitate a meeting effectively as the Toastmaster for the session. Experienced members mentor new members. They also help maintain a non-competitive and positive learning environment.

By serving as the public relations officer for the club in the last two terms, I have organized and led membership campaigns, speaking workshops, speech contests, and many other events to promote the club. Throughout these experiences, I learned how to inspire and motivate people and build a strong team to achieve the club’s goals.

Learn more about our activities at http://saptm.toastmastersclubs.org.

This story originally appeared on SAP Community Network.

Photo: Shutterstock

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