Teh Tarik session with Rano Iskandar. This month’s featured member is Macalister Mak, the youngest member of the Brunei Speakers’ Club and also a perpetual guest for many months before hitting 18 (before he is eligible to be member). Macalister is a dedicated toastmaster, attending regular meetings in Brunei Speakers’ Club and UBD Toastmasters Club. He served as Sergeant-At-Arms for Brunei Speakers’ Club last term and now he is offically enrolled as a UBD student in the new term. Macalister shares his journey as a toastmasters and the ripple effect it has on others.
Rano Iskandar: What was your first impression of toastmasters?
Macalister Mak: For the first few meetings, I thought it was just a place for me to improve my ability to speak in public. I learned the true meaning after I joined as a member and I had the opportunity to attend leadership workshops. My perception has changed and it’s now a place for me to improve as a person overall by being able to speak to others so that I may inspire, persuade or lead effectively.
Rano Iskandar: You were a perpetual guest at the Brunei Speakers’ Club before you hit 18. What was the feeling like?
Macalister Mak: As a perpetual guest, I felt I only scratched the surface of what toastmasters was about. This helped me a bit when I was a debate club member. I was able to speak with more confidence and it slowly spread to my fellow members which resulted to us becoming champions in the inter-school debate competition in 2014.
Rano Iskandar: How have toastmasters impacted your everyday life?
Macalister Mak: I used to be the very quiet person who just minded his own business during events. Today it’s a different story. I express more and it helped me reconnected with my family. In terms of school, I slowly started earning more leadership roles such as head of bureau as part of the student council. Even now I joined UBD Faculty of Science Student Body because i believe that I can make a difference in the faculty and hopefully be able to make everyone else better leaders.
Rano Iskandar: Share with us your experience as Sergeant-at-Arms for the term 2015-2016.
Macalister Mak: Initially, I never planned the S-A-A role but when the chance came, I just took it. The reason being was that I felt that I could improve myself if i took as EXCO (Executive Committee) role. Throughout the year, I thought up a few ways to open the weekly meetings so that everyone could be energized for the meeting. My greatest experience was going for TLI (Toastmasters Learning Institute), a leadership course training by toastmasters because this is the platform where we meet other Toastmasters members from other countries and learn from them.
Rano Iskandar: You have been receiving many Table Topics ribbons (winner) lately. What gives?
Macalister Mak: I was not good at making good conversations and this resulted in most of my Table Topics to being very short and not interesting or structured. After i joined in the Table Topics contest, I took every Table Topics session as a way to improve my communication skills when talking with friends or family or especially strangers.
Overtime when I do a Table Topic, I would listen very carefully to the evaluation given and I will try to implement the suggestions into my next table topic. After a while, I started getting table topic ribbons and I knew that listening to the evaluations are important for growth and each ribbon I receive, it shows my own growth as a speaker.
Rano Iskandar: Have you noticed anything different about yourself being in the Exco last term?
Macalister Mak: I see things more differently now. I would say that my time as an Exco has really shaped me into a better leader. I think the greatest thing I’ve learned is that anyone can be a leader regardless of age.
Rano Iskandar: Are you excited for the upcoming Brunei Conference 2016 in October?
Macalister Mak: I am overjoyed for the upcoming conference. Truly speaking, I am more excited with the international speakers (two world champions of public speaking) who will be part of the conference. I’m also hounoured to be part of the committee of the Brunei Conference because this will be the first time that I’m helping in such a big event of this magnitude.
Rano Iskandar: Last question, do you have any specific goal for the term 2016-17?
Macalister Mak: I hope to get Triple Crown this term. I feel that i didn’t do many speeches or roles in the previous term and why not do something amazing this term.