Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking 2014

I have been a Toastmaster for the past seven years. Blog #27 of “40 Blogs in 40 Days about 40 Podcasts” refers to podcast episode OHS026. The topic of discussion will cover my experience, insights, and advice about competing in the semi-final round of the 2014 Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. So much of this competition is about practicing to deliver and writing a great speech. If I had to say, I will say it is more about how well the speech is written. At the semi-final round most speakers speak very well indeed. In the final round the ten finalist all have deep speaking skills or they would not be there. Delivery is key, but I feel it is the better written speech that gives a competitor the advantage. I have heard a great speech is not written, it is rewritten.

Toastmasters International, speaking, world championship of public speaking, Malaysia

AlejAndro pictured with three local Toastmasters at the 2014 International Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

To get to the Semi-Finals I had to win the previous four competitions at the club, area, division, and district levels. Each one requiring a more refined speech and higher quality delivery, while at the same time battling with stronger and stronger competitors. My ultimate goal was to make it to the final round of the top ten. To do so I would have to win my semi-final round. I did not. However, I did learn a lot about speaking, writing, competing, and about myself.

Meleka, Malaysia, Tea, UNESCO

AlejAndro in Meleka, Malaysia with the “Queen of Meleka” at his right and the “Tea King” at her right.

Not making the final round paid off with all that I learned. Plus the experience of competition at that level within the ranks of Toastmasters at the International level was priceless. Did I mention I was able to go to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia? After the conference and competition I spent another 16 days in Southeast Asia. Four days in Melaka, Malaysia where I met really cool people and did amazing things. My time in Melaka was magical and the people magnificent. I had the pleasure of enjoying time with the “Queen of Meleka,” The “Tea King,” and a Hindu Vedic Priest who was the World Yogic Flying champion 8 years in a row. I will be podcasting about them and all my travels very soon.

Singapore, solo travel, buddhism, durian

AlejAndro stands in front of some water with a section of the Singapore city scape in the background. Construction on a new building in the shape and texture of a Durian Fruit can be seen to the left in the image.

Next I spoke and taught Buddhism in Singapore for the next four days. I had always wanted to go to Singapore as I have heard many great things about this small island country. The architecture there was modern and stunning. It was a fast-paced fours days with lots of great food and people. Singapore is not far from Malaysia but they are light years about in cultural expression. I wanted to spend more days in Singapore but I had a flight to catch to Indonesia. I did not have a chance to see too much. However, my hosts were great and the people of Singapore were kind. It was an honor to be asked to return to Singapore in the near future.

Indonesia, Java, Buddhism, solo travel, disability

Borobudur is the Largest Buddhist Temple in the world and an UNESCO World Heritage Site located on the island of Java in Indonesia.

The next five days was on the island of Java in Indonesia. I did a three day pilgrimage at Borobudur, the world’s largest Buddhist Temple and an UNESCO World Heritage Site. There I met a beautiful family who took me in for two days. We had a great time visiting the two small temples related to Borobudur and drinking “Cat-Poo-Cino” or Civet Cat coffee. In the very near future I will be blogging and podcasting about my time at Borobudur. It was an exceptionally profound and cool experience.

Batu Caves, Hindu, Indian food, solo travel, Malaysia

AlejAndro visiting the Hindu Holy site at Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. On the right are the family members who hosted AlejAndro his last three days in Malaysia.

I then returned to Melaka, Malaysia for another three days to be with my newly founded friends. My trip finished with three days back in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I have a very good friend who also has one hand and was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur. His friend’s took very good care of me during the Toastmasters conference and competition, and his family treated me like one of their own for my last two days in Malaysia. The family asked me what I “really wanted to do while I was back in Kuala Lumpur?” I told them I wanted to so something very traditionally Hindu. The first night they took me to a part of the city called “Little India” to get some traditional Indian food. The next day we visited the Holy Hindu site of Batu Caves. This is globally well known for all the Macaque Monkeys who also spend a lot of time at the cave. That night we went to a very traditional Hindu dance school’s graduation. It was everything I had wanted and more. It was an incredible way to spend my last three days in South East Asia. However, these stories I will save for future podcasts. It was one of the greatest trips and experiences of my life. Who knew speaking well could lead to so many great things.

To listen to my experience competing at the 2014 Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking I invite you to click on the link and enjoy my One Hand Speaks Storytelling Podcast Episode OHS026. Please feel free to share this blog or my podcast and I ask you to offer a comment with your opinion and feedback! Thanks!

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