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December 29, 2007

Marina Chou & Ras Huang 
Taipei Toastmasters Club

The Toastmasters development is a proven success in this country. Toastmasters have been very active in and the organization has evolved in many different ways in the last 50 years. A tiny seed planted by the Toastmasters International Past President, Dr. Bennie Bough, who gave birth to Taipei Toastmasters Club in 1958, has grown to become a huge tree.  Now Taipei Toastmasters Club is going to host its 50th anniversary ceremony on January 5, 2008.

Our Charter President Dr. Bennie Bough together with the past Presidents of Taipei Toastmasters Club were in our 40th anniversary ceremony 10 years ago.









As members of the oldest club in , we would like to share our experience on how Taipei Toastmasters Club has been able to keep its strength in the last half-century with all the Toastmasters in District 67. 


Being Toastmasters, new members are always asked to deliver the first public speech, the ice breaker, to introduce themselves to the club members as the beginning of their Toastmasters journey.  However, “Ice breaker” is a term that was interpreted quite differently by the authors.  Twenty years ago, after reading an article by Mr. Stanley Liu about the Toastmasters Club in the internal magazine of Chunghwa Telecom Co. Ltd., we attended one of the regular meetings of Taipei Toastmasters Club at the Guildhall of NTU Alumni Association.  When Ras glanced at the term “Ice breaker” shown on the “Bulletin” of that evening, Ras said to Marina , “Wa, not coffee, they will even provide ice cream during their intermission break.”  This is a very famous joke Ras made twenty years ago.  (The printed meeting agenda of Taipei Toastmasters Club has been called a “Bulletin” for years.) 


Honestly speaking, there was indeed a big ice between that meeting and us that night.  We did not know what those people were “playing” session by session during that meeting.  The language (English, of course) they were speaking is also odd to us. There were many terms we could not understand and we didn’t have any idea what was going on.  We felt that we had probably come to a wrong place, especially when we were listening to the speech given by the charming lady, Linda Chiu.  The English she spoke was so fluent and beautiful.  We thought we were not supposed to belong to this group of people.  

Ras had just started his Ph. D. program at Tatung University then.  He thought English would play a very important role in his career in the future, so he decided to join a club like this to improve his English, despite the big piece of ice that stood between him and Toastmasters twenty years ago.  

Most guests, who visit a regular meeting of any Toastmasters Club for the first time, may have similar experiences like us.  However, Ras is a good example of how Taipei Toastmasters Club attracts new members.  It offers the new members a good education program and provides them with a warm environment. As a result, members stick to this old club for decades.  

The growth of any member is the most important task in our Club.  We don’t know when it started, yet it is still followed today. Any one who wishes to apply to be a new member should have attended the meeting as a guest at least three times.  This gives the potential member an opportunity to seriously consider his or her commitment before becoming a member of Taipei Toastmasters Club.  The formal and meaningful induction ceremony for a new member is a special feature of this old Club.  Associated with the educational program for new members, the mentoring system is also well established in Taipei Toastmasters Club.  It is now a tradition.  A senior member is assigned as a mentor for a new member after the induction.  All of these are steps to assist the new member in preparation for their first speech.  In the past decades, the agenda of all regular meetings has always been executed precisely by the Club officers.  The VP education monitors the progress of each member to ensure a balanced growth of all members.  Young or senior, all current members usually are assigned tasks according to their personal goals and club goals in meetings.  

Ras has often remarked that attending Toastmaster meetings is just like going to church. It is a place where members go biweekly to meet with their friends.  Indeed, many current members of Taipei Toastmaster Club have maintained friendships with other members for more than 10, 20 or even 30 years.  They believe that friendship is a concrete base for developing a good learning environment and often invite family members to the Club’s activities.   

By focusing on the community, Taipei Toastmasters Club provides both a learning environment and a people-helping network.  We have broken the ice between our society and our Club.  Now we want to have a coffee break after the growth of the seed that Dr. Bennie Bough planted 50 years ago. And after a cup of coffee, we are ready for another 50, 100, or even 150 years. We invite all of you to join us to continue on this journey.  


Marina Chou (周美華) and Ras Huang (黃啟芳) are the current President and VP PR, respectively, of Taipei Toastmasters Club. Email: ras@ttu.edu.tw Tel: +886-937-008883

過去50年以來,國際演講協會在台灣相當活躍並發展快速,而且是非常的多元化。國際演講協會在台灣驗證了其成功的發展,而這棵大樹已經從1958年國際前總會長Bennie Bough博士手上所撥下的微小種子中,逐漸成長茁壯。在200815即將舉行的50周年慶之前,身為台灣歷史最悠久的國際演講會會員的我們,想要邀請全67區的演講會會員們一同見證,台北國際演講會如何在過去半世紀中保持其優勢。



身為演講會的會員,當我們要成為協會的新血時,首先我們必須打破與協會成員的隔閡,並且發表第一次的公開演講(國際演講會學習生涯中的初試啼聲)。然而,對作者而言,“Ice break”是個相當特別的名詞。20年以前,在中華電信內部刊物中看到,由Mr. Stanley Liu所寫的國際演講會簡介文章後,我們開始參加位於台大校友會館的台北國際演講會的例行會議。當啟芳不經意的看到那晚議程表(Bulletin)” Ice break”的特殊字眼時,啟芳跟美華說哇,不只是咖啡,他們甚至在中場休息時,還會提供冰淇淋呢,這是啟芳在20年前所鬧的一個非常有名的笑話。



      老實地說,那晚在會議與我們之間的確有很大的隔閡。我們一點也不清楚這些人在什麼節目,他們所使用的語言(英文)對我們而言是相當古怪的。有很多的用詞,我們無法理解也不清楚。之後,我們感覺好像走錯地方,特別是當我們聽到一位迷人小姐Linda Chiu所發表的演說之後。她的英文演講是如此的流利且用字漂亮。我們認為我們應該不屬於這個團體。












啟芳常說參加國際演協會就如同上教堂一樣,這是個讓會員可以二個星期聚一次,以培養友誼的地方。的確,很多現行台北國際演講協會的會員與其它會員,已經維繫了10, 20,甚至30年以上的友誼。他們相信友誼是發展良好學習環境的基石而且也能時常邀請家人來參與演講會的活動。



藉由專注於共同的學習之下,台北國際演講協會提供了良好的學習環境與互助的人際網絡。我們消除了社會與協會之間的隔閡。在Dr. Bennie Bough播下種子50年後的今日,我們邀請您一同享用美好的咖啡時光(200815),並且在享用之後,一起與台北國際演講協會邁入下一個50年、100年、150年。






Email: ras@ttu.edu.tw


Tel: +886-937-008883

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