Allen holds a degree in Accounting and Finance and is currently a Senior Insurance Planner for AIA. He is the current Division K Humourous Speech Contest and represented Brunei in the District Contest. As an Outstanding Member, Allen is presently a member of three Toastmasters Clubs and holds an Executive Committee role in all three clubs.
How did u first hear about Toastmasters?
I first heard from a friend, then went to my first Brunei Speakers’ Club meeting as a guest back in April, 2013. Before that, all I knew about Toastmasters was people talking about how intimidating the meetings can be.
What made you decide to join Toastmasters?
After my first meeting as guest, I returned for another 5 meetings before deciding to join the Brunei Speakers’ Club. I still remember texting Shawn Narcis about how I wanted to give myself a Toastmasters membership as a birthday present.
I used to have difficulty verbalising my thoughts and conveying feedback in positive ways. My comments were always critical and harsh and I aspire to one day be a keynote speaker, so I found Toastmasters to be a perfect platform to help move me beyond my own comfort zone.
How did Toastmasters help you so far in your professional life?
As a Insurance Planner by profession, Toastmasters have improved my ability to communicate properly with my clients. Insurance terms can be difficult and at times frustrating to understand, but now I am able to deliver the message in a more laymen term.
Could you share with us your process of writing and preparing a speech?
I usually write or record the ‘light bulbs’ that popped in my mind. Eventually I will use these materials to write a speech. If I don’t have pen and paper with me, I’ll just leave myself an audio note on my phone.
Preparation wise, I believe in a lot of practising and rehearsing. I’ll record my speech and listen to them over and over again, tweaking and adjusting the speech and my delivery accordingly until I’m finally satisfied with the outcome.
Not only are you the current Division Champion for the Humorous Speech contest, you are the Area Champion for both the Table Topics and Evaluation contests as well as. Do you have any advise for aspiring champions?
1) Mindset. Winning is great but the most important thing I told myself is “Nobody will remember who the champion is a few years from now. But what you leave on the stage might touch somebody’s life, and for that, they will remember you forever.”
2) Mentor. The journey is a marathon, not a race. It’s always better to have someone who is willing and able to guide you through it. You have to trust him/her wholeheartedly and believe that they have your best interest in mind. I would have to thank Stuart Lee for being there for me during my latest contest journey.
You are currently holding three different Executive Committee roles in three different Toastmasters Clubs. Why did you decide to take on so many roles?
When I decided to run for the President of the Oil Town Talkers Toastmasters Club, it was to develop myself as a leader. I am always looking for opportunities to develop myself so when the possibility to take on more roles as Vice President of Education for the Brunei Speakers’ Club and as Treasurer for the Brunei Advanced Speakers’ Club, I jumped at the chance.
How do you manage between Toastmasters, a new business and recently becoming a new father?
The person I have to be the most thankful for is my wife, Fen. If not for her unwaivering support and understanding, I would not have been able to juggle between taking care of my family, a new business and my Toastmasters journey.
Looking through my schedule, I try my best to maintain a sense of balance. It’s not always easy, but if you want something hard enough, you will a find way.
What are your goals for this term (2014-2015)?
For this term, I’m focus on raising the awareness of the value of Toastmasters in our community. Toastmasters have brought me to a level that I could not have achieved by myself. I strongly believe that if you are willing to open yourself up to new possibilities, your world will also open up to new opportunities.