Last Presidential Address

The script for my last presidential address at my Toastmasters Club. I didn’t deliver it exactly as the script but you can still read it for free:

Today is my last Presidential Address. Please don’t cry at the end of the speech. For the last 25 odd Toastmasters Meetings, I used to prepare something for each week.

How many of you read the December 2017 edition of the Toastmasters Magazine? (How many of you know that there is a Toastmasters Magazine published monthly?)

On the very first page, there’s a line by International President DTM Balraj Arunasalam, where he is quoting Mark Twain,

“A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read”

In the same way, he says that

“A Toastmaster who won’t lead has no advantage over one who can’t lead”

It means that if you have an opportunity to lead a group of people, for your and their betterment, you must grab that opportunity with both hands. As Robin Williams said in ‘Dead Poets Society’,

“Carpe diem”

First of all, I would like to state that Trailblazers Toastmasters Club is not my baby as in I wasn’t a charter member or part of the executive committee until January 2017. But, when I had joined it in June 2016, soon I did adopt it as my baby. I saw it as a place which had huge potential for me to grow as a person. It was a place where I could meet new people and develop my communication skills. I tried my best to capture the moments I had in the club. Over the course of last one and a half years, I have seen this club grow from a novice club to a sophisticated club now. We now have proper standards, practices, procedures, and processes to run the club. In the recently held elections, we not only got the 7 officers elected on time, 3 more people stood up and took the responsibility of Associate Officers.

During my time as acting VP-Education, VP-Membership and then as President, with the help of the executive committee, we tried to do whatever I could to make the club beneficial to everyone. I hope that our efforts were useful to all the members. I said this in my Presidential Acceptance speech 6 months ago and I will say it again that if we take our role in Toastmasters a tad bit seriously and see it as an opportunity to help others, we can do wonders. I will share a small story about helping others which I had read in a book some time ago. I hope you see some lesson in it:

In 1892, at Stanford University in the US, there were 2 poor students who were not able to pay their college fee. So they approached a pianist Paderewski to perform in their college. Paderewski was quite the superstar at those times. They thought that they would raise enough money from the tickets that they would be able to pay the pianist as well as pay their fee. They asked him to perform for $2000. He agreed and performed.

But, they could raise only $1600 from the concert. With their heads hanging in shame, they went to the pianist and said that they will give the rest of $400 later when they will be able to pay for it. Currently, they said that they were not even able to pay tuition fees. So, they gave him a cheque for $400 and requested him to encash it later. Instead of shouting and scolding them, to their surprise, Paderewski told them that they don’t need to worry. He will not only deduct his fee for this concert but also agreed to pay their tuition fee for them.

Years passed. It was the time for the First World War. The pianist Paderewski had now become the Prime Minister of Poland. Poland was ravaged due to the war and was in dire needs of food and ammunition. He approached the United States to help them. US President Hoover quickly sent food supplies and helped Poland during the war. When Paderewski went on to thank President Hoover, Hoover said that he needn’t thank him. He was just returning the favor. He said he was one of the 2 students whom Paderewski had helped a few years ago to pay their tuition fee.

Think of your Toastmaster role as a role of not self-improvement but helping others. Improvement will happen automatically if you come to the meetings. By helping others, by doing small things, can have a huge impact on others lives. Like taking up roles in a Toastmasters meeting. Your role as Ah-Counter can help someone stutter less and become a better speaker. I could go on and on.

Before I sign off as the president, I would just request all of you, the new officers and the members to try to help each other. I am always there to help. You just need to be proactive and ask for help. You just need to capture the moment before it is too late. You can take my adopted baby now and help it grow more into an awesome person in the future.

Now, I am the Past President. Ex.

Past President
Past President

Featured Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash