Friday, July 3, 2015

From the Kitchen to the Podium


by Rayeesa Tabassum

This year, our city, Jeddah, had the privilege of hosting the Saudi Arabian Toastmasters Annual Conference: SATAC 2015.  It was a grand affair, bringing together the best speaking talents from all over the country. Abdullah Al Jurfi emerged as the winner in International Speech Category. He will go on to represent Saudi Arabia at Toastmasters International Convention in Las Vegas, in August, to win the coveted title of  “The World Champion of Public Speaking.”

Jeddah Elite ladies toastmasters pose with their trophies at their club contest.

Saudi Arabia is also called district 79 and boasts of over 200 clubs, including Arabic, English and other languages too. There are approximately 40 clubs in Jeddah alone. Among them are corporate as well as community clubs and a few exclusive ladies clubs too. Jeddah Elite ladies toastmasters club prides in being the first ladies only club in the city and has been instrumental in bringing women from the kitchen to the podium. 

Founded by Shanti Lakshman, an experienced toastmaster, in June 2013, it won the prestigious president distinguished club award in the very first year of its formation. This year too, the club shone in the division level conference with its members winning 2nd prize in each of table topics, humorous speech and evaluation contests. 

Ladies from different countries and professions meet on alternate Thursdays, in Aziziyah, to improve their communication and leadership skills. A general meeting has three components: Prepared Speeches, Evaluations and Table topics.  In the first session, members present prepared speeches based on the projects from “Competent Communication Manual” provided by Toastmasters International. Each speaker is assigned an evaluator, who provides constructive and helpful feedback to the speaker to improve her speech. 

In table topics, a “topic” is given on the spot and members are required to speak about it for 2-3 minutes.  At every meeting, members take up different leadership roles such as Toastmaster of the Evening, Table Topics Master, General Evaluator, Grammarian, Timer and Ah Counter. The whole educational session enables members to improve various skills like impromptu speaking, listening, evaluation, providing feedback, organizing and time management.

Jeddah Elite ladies club has made stars out of homemakers. Members with English as their second language have used this platform to gain confidence in their spoken English skills. TM Ajitha Saleem, a non-native English speaker, began her journey of Toastmasters, with table topics speech in her mother tongue. In just one year, she has transformed from hesitant, nervous speaker to humorous speech champion.  

At Jeddah Elite Ladies Toastmaster meetings, learning takes place in a fun, comfortable setting. Ladies in Jeddah who are interested are welcome to attend a meeting to get a first hand experience of toastmasters.  To find out more information, please use any of these ways to contact Jeddah Elite Ladies Toastmasters:  

Twitter        :  @jedeliteladies_
Email          :
Facebook   :   JeddahEliteLadiesTM