Member of the Month
In District 30, there are many members who we feel should be recognized for their passion, dedication and commitment to both Toastmasters International and the educational program. To honor and appreciate them, we have created this page to acknowledge them.
Every month, we will highlight one dynamic member who has added value to the fabric of District 30 through participation, promotion and/ or positive spirit.
October 2017 – Noorul Syed CC
Eric Feinendegen: Congratulations Noorul. You seem very surprised?
Noorul Syed: Thank you and yes, I am surprised! I was not expecting this!
EF: When did you join Toastmasters and which club do you belong to?
NS: I belong to Master Speakers at Baxter and I joined Toastmasters in 2014. It’s been about 3 years now.
EF: What is your Toastmasters educational level?
NS: I have my CC (Competent Communicator) and am going to start on my Advanced Communicator Bronze (ACB). I’m close to getting my CL as well. Hopefully, it will be complete by April 2018 because the only thing that is left is being a mentor for a new member.
EF: Why did you join Toastmasters?
NS: When I joined Baxter in 2012, nobody told me about Toastmasters. A friend invited me to a meeting and the guest speaker was you! You spoke about a weekend you spent at a beach and the way you spoke, I still remember it even after three years. I said to myself “even if I become half of what you are, Ill be very grateful”. When I joined, I gave my first Ice-Breaker. After 2-3 months, I gave my Ice-Breaker again. It actually gave me a lot of confidence because I did not expect myself to deliver so well. I’m very scared of public speaking to be honest with you.
EF: Do you think that your experience in Toastmasters has helped you in your job?
NS: Absolutely. Once, there was an opportunity at a town hall meeting and I asked my director if I could speak about Toastmasters? She was very generous to give me 10 minutes and that town hall was actually attended by 70+ people. I delivered my speech with perfection and four people joined Toastmasters because of it. Since then, people notice who I am now. Before Toastmasters, I was just a person doing some technical stuff but now they know about me by my name.
EF: Do you have a mentor? Has anyone inspired you or helped you along your journey?
NS: Well Eric, you are someone who has inspired me. I also had a mentor when I did my CC and her name was Lisa Starbuck. She mentored me for my first 3 speeches and the push she gave me was really excellent. It helped me so much! The way I move on stage, the way I organize my speech, the words to use and not to use. Because I come from India, I do not have a full background on which words are negative or positive, I just use words that make sense to me. For example, I was using the word “mundane” in my speech. Lisa said mundane is a “negative” word and that I should use “daily” instead. It was like an English lesson and boosted my confidence. She said I was always well prepared but both words and movements matter. “Don’t move like a caged lion on the stage”. These were the comments she gave to me and it actually helped me a lot.
EF: When it comes time for you to give a speech, what do you do to prepare?
NS: The first thing I do is pick a topic which is close to my heart. I choose a topic that I can express my thoughts on in the best possible way so it connects with the audience. Then, I organize my speech and write everything down. Even if I’m borrowing something from somebody else, I rephrase the sentence and organize it. If I say something at the beginning of the speech, I’ll connect it with something in the middle. This kind of organization is very important. Nothing in the speech is unnecessary. Because I am in a corporate club, I have learned to stay away from controversial topics (e.g. political, religious). The most important part after writing and organizing the speech is to prepare. Practice , practice and practice! That is the best way to give a speech.
EF: Is there anything in Toastmasters that has changed your life or improved who you are?
NS: Yes, I would say that apart from becoming a public speaker is developing my leadership qualities. I am the organizer and host of a faith-based program called “Ask-A-Muslim”. Every 3 months, I have an open-forum discussion to remove misconceptions and false information about Islam on social media. Toastmasters gave me the opportunity to run the whole show by myself. I prepare the agenda, organize it in a way that every aspect of the meeting such as the flow, start/ end on time, transition between speakers, etc. are smooth. I was able to achieve those leadership qualities through Toastmasters. It has also helped me at work. I am able to express my ideas more openly now. Even if I get negative feedback, I don’t care about it.
EF: What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about joining Toastmasters?
NS: People are different. Some people are natural speakers and others need to work on sounding natural. Most people are in the second category. They’ll eventually become great leaders and great orators in the future. Toastmasters is a great tool to improve both as well as your confidence level. No one judges you and everyone gives you positive feedback with lots of encouragement. Its like a laboratory where you experiment on things. If something does not work, you can correct it again and again. Toastmasters allows you to let your voice be heard.
EF: Fantastic, that was a great interview Noorul. Thank you once again for your time. On behalf on all of us at District 30, congratulations on being our October Member of the Month.
NS: Thank you and it was great to be picked!
Eric Feinendegen ACG, CL is District 30’s NEW Interviewer for our Leader and Member of the Month Series for 2017-2018. He joined Toastmasters in 2004, is a member of 3 clubs, and has served in various Club officer roles. You can reach Eric at email@example.com.
For a list all Archived 2017 Members of the Month, click here