Be yourself! Break with conventions,in public speaking, and engage your entire audience. It is so much fun. I love greeting everyone in their own languages. Immediately there is a buzz in the room. People feel wanted, accepted and acknowledged.
I am a multilingual Toastmaster, a Zambian-born South African, member of a Zulu tribe, once married into an Indian family. Also known as a Confused Breyani Mix and Mthimkhulu (Big Tree).
Although English is the language of Toastmasters – in Africa, we are so much more. In fact, in Zambia it is said, that a man who says his mother’s cooking is the best – has never left home.
I start out with the intent to make my speeches as multi-cultural, and as multi-lingual as possible! With English interpretations as I go along!
My latest from the Story Telling manual, is a fairy tale – the Tortoise and the Hare (Ufudu no Nogwaja.) It is an African version – I never liked the moral of the original story!
The tortoise (Ufudu) is slow in body – but a brilliant strategist. He challenges Nogwaja to a race. And the proud, bragging Nogwaja nearly dies of laughter and accepts the challenge.
The bright Ufudu creates the course – ensuring that our, very traditional, Nogwaja has to run past the homes of his two wives and many children and finally, past a local and famous brewer of traditional beer.
Poor Nogwaja, in true Zulu tradition, cannot pass his wives and kids, or disrespect his wives by not partaking of food and drink. When he is done, he heads for maMthembu’s brewhouse. Again he is unable to pass by the wonderful community interaction.
He falls asleep, after consuming copious amounts of traditional beer. A very satisfied Ufudu tip-toes past Nogwaja. He plods on to win the race. And a sleeping Nogwaja is eventually carried in by his many children!
Tortoise teaches that strategic thinking, overcome slowness. And the happy hare, sighed and said, “A happy wife equals a happy life! Two happy wives, a much happier life!”
Within this presentation, there are so many opportunities to let go of your fears and restraint. Have fun with your body! Wag your tail, wheelspin, pull up Ufudu’s shell and tip-toe. Be a part of the crowd, be a yawning crocodile, a stomping elephant or a roaring lion. Be the laughing, booming hare, and the slow speaking tortoise! Act out drinking, as if you are loving the traditional beer Then move around the room as if you are in a race!
Although this is a home-made fairy tale, always allow who you are, and your experiences to shine through into your speeches.
Bring your language and culture, and those of others to enrich your speeches. You will delight many more people! Just remember to always bring it back to English.
Have FUN! And never fear to be you!
Brian V Moore
Speakeasy Toastmasters – VPPR
Club Coach – Speak to Lead Toastmasters