From Rotaractors to Toastmasters

Rotaractors and Toastmasters coaches during the Speechcraft virtual graduation ceremony last October 31

Fifty Rotaractors from all over the Philippines completed the Speechcraft, a Toastmasters International program designed to develop one’s ability to write and deliver a speech while enhancing one’s confidence in all aspects of communication, including body language, active listening and critical evaluation.

Pilipinas Rotaract Multi-District Information Organization (MDIO) and Toastmasters International District 75 partnered to virtually conduct the Speechcraft Program for Rotaractors. This is an offshoot of the strategic alliance between Rotary International and Toastmasters International to encourage members of the said organizations to learn and work together.

“Rotary opens opportunities and it includes the opportunity to develop competencies critical to professional success. Public speaking is one of the most critical skills, in Rotaract and in our personal professional lives. This is the reason why the MDIO took advantage of partnering with Toastmasters in the Philippines to bring more value to our Rotaractors,” said Louie De Real, Pilipinas Rotaract MDIO Chair.

“The bridge for collaboration between Toastmasters and Rotary/Rotaract is in full bloom. This Speechcraft Program marks a major step to develop stronger ties in transforming the lives of our members and our communities,” added Marilyn Legaspi, Toastmasters International District 75 Director.

Rotaractor Faithful Maligmat delivering her speech

The Speechcraft began with a virtual training held last September 19 on developing and delivering a speech facilitated by a Toastmasters district trainer. Rotaractors were also oriented about Toastmasters and experienced an impromptu speech challenge dubbed as “Table Topics”.

Prior to the virtual training, Rotaractors were asked to complete the four Toastmasters courses, namely: developing a speech, delivering a speech, inspirational speech, and interpersonal communication and networking, available at the online Rotary Learning Center.

Rotaractor Jhon Mark Santos delivering his speech

Rotaractors were then asked to write a three- to five- minute long speech. They were divided into four batches for speech delivery sessions running every Saturday afternoon from September 26 to October 17. During these sessions, each Rotaractor is assigned to a breakout room with a Toastmasters coach who would first listen to the delivery of a prepared speech.

The Toastmasters coach provided constructive feedback that the Rotaractor can adopt in preparation to another speech delivery, this time to the whole batch of Rotaractors and Toastmasters coaches.

Eight Rotaract best speakers (two per batch) were selected by Toastmasters coaches using their speech evaluation rubric. The best speakers were asked to deliver their speech during the virtual graduation ceremony held last October 31.

Aletta Rochat, Toastmasters International Director from South Africa and the guest speaker during the graduation, shared how the Speechcraft Program partnership between Rotaract and Toastmasters has become timely despite the COVID-19 limitation.

“In this world of COVID-19, we need people who can communicate their passions and ideas. In the process, they bring positive impact on families, companies, communities, and countries. Each completer of this Speechcraft Program is now in a better position to make even more impact in our world. The more you develop your ability to speak and connect with people, the more your impact grows,” expressed Director Rochat.

Aletta Rochat congratulating Rotaractors who completed the Speechcraft Program

Speechcraft completers shared how the program transformed them even in a short period of time. “I commend the MDIO and Toastmasters for making this happen knowing that public speaking is an essential component of leadership. This training has reminded us to use our voice for things that matter. This training is already a good start to becoming a public speaker that touches, inspires and influences others,” shared Antonio Lustina, President of the Rotaract Club of Legazpi West.

Rotaractor Eric Joseph Flores delivering his speech

Eric Joseph Flores, President of the Rotaract Club of Iloilo City and one of the Rotaract best speakers, expressed how Speechcraft helped him step out of his comfort zone. “It helped me recognize my strengths and weaknesses when speaking.”

“The learnings that we got from this program will always come in handy every time we will step out of our houses, conversing to other people and carrying out conversations with everyone from all walks of life. Now, I feel more confident that I can stand in front of a crowd and deliver impactful speeches with power and conviction,” said Christian De Borja, Past President of the Rotaract Club of San Pedro East.

The author is Paul Armhel Escobar, Pilipinas Rotaract MultiDistrict Information Organization Learning and Development Associate.

This article was also featured in the November 2020 issue of the Philippine Rotary Magazine as seen below.

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