Q&A with a speech club mentor
Sophomore Anisha Bellur has been a part of the international nonprofit organization Toastmasters, which focuses on public speaking and communication skills, for four years as a mentor to other members. Giving speeches has provided Bellur with invaluable experiences that bring her a sense of confidence and an outlet for self-expression.
Q: Can you tell me exactly what you do for the speech club?
A: The club is called Toastmasters which [meets] every Sunday in Buena Park. Every week we are assigned different roles such as Grammarian, who focuses on everyone’s grammar, Toastmaster, who leads the meetings, and other roles. I have been in the club since sixth grade [and] given over 15 speeches in the club. I have been a mentor for the last two years. For speeches, there are multiple manuals that help guide a person to become a “Distinguished Toastmaster”. I hope to become a Distinguished Toastmaster one day. A “Distinguished Toastmaster” is the highest award that anyone in the club can receive.
Q: Why are you passionate about speech and what keeps you motivated to continue this?
A: Speeches come in different forms such as storytelling and inspirational, but they all have something in common. They leave an impact. When I give speeches, I can voice out who I am. When I’m up there in front of the audience I know I can convey my message, and it feels great to be heard. Hearing great feedback from my peers, coaches and audience inspires me to keep on going. Together, they motivate me and inspire me to become a better speaker.
Q: What was your most memorable experience or favorite moment from the club?
A: My favorite experience has to be an event that the club hosted called Family Event. During that event, everyone showcases their skills to family members. What I loved about this event is that before we started the event, each speaker went up to each and every audience member and greeted them with a handshake and a small conversation. The first time I attended this event, I was super nervous but after I greeted the audience, I felt more comfortable because the audience no longer seemed like strangers. I loved the feeling of turning a room strangers into people I sort of knew. It reduced my anxiety of speaking to a new crowd.
Q: Can you describe your feelings, emotions and thoughts when you give a speech for your club?
A: Every speech brings its own set of feelings. The beautiful thing about speeches is that no two speeches are the same. Even when repeating a previous speech, the impact and emotions can be changed and modified. When I go onto the stage it becomes a moment of vulnerability. Anything can happen and you have to prepare for the any possible situation. It’s thrilling in its own way. The best feeling comes after the speech because the more speeches I give, the more confident I feel.
Compiled by Sherman Wu, Feature editor
Photo by Airi Gonzalez