Abdul Rahman M. Baig
JEDDAH — Speakers at this year’s Saudi Arabian Toastmasters Annual Contest (SATAC ’23) mesmerized the audience with their persuasive speeches and eloquence.
The two-day event was held recently at the Ramada Continental Hotel, in line with the theme “Together we achieve more”.
Members of the Toastmasters fraternity got a chance to witness the annual contest split into different categories: Humorous, Table Topic, Evaluation and International Speaker. The event was a grand success and set a high standard in terms of its meticulous planning.
The contest chair DTM Abdul Rahman Hawsawi welcomed the assembled Toastmasters and other guests. The event started with the recitation of the verses of the Holy Quran. It was followed by the national anthems of Saudi Arabia and India, the country of the current district director. The master of the ceremony was TM Omar Aqeel Khan, who was assisted by TM Zayna Babiker who ran the show adroitly for two consecutive days.
It was followed by the banner parade, gracefully carried out by TM Abdul Rahman Maghrabi. All the divisions, areas and clubs under District 104 showcased their achievements over the past year.
DTM Mohamed Ibrahim Maricar, District 104 Director, rendered the inspirational message and touched the hearts of the audience with his uplifting message of “Together we achieve more.”
DTM Saji Kuriakose, District 104 Program Quality Director, gave an empowering message on how challenging it was to finalize the chair for this annual contest. “I have approached many senior toastmasters to take the challenge of SATAC ’23 chair. All were reluctant. Ultimately, DTM Abdul Rahman Hawsawi agreed to be the chair for the annual contest after lots of persuasions.
In his opening speech, DTM Hawsawi said he was happy to be the chair for the contest this year. He said it was a bit challenging in the beginning to organize this contest. “We came across several difficulties while organizing and proper planning for this contest. I have 2 to 3 members from my team who have really worked very hard and have not slept for the last 3 days to get things in the proper position. They ensured that this annual contest is organized at its best and their tremendous efforts are to be appreciated.”
The contests were conducted in 3 different halls of the hotel in English, Arabic, ladies and YLP (Young Leaders Program). The contest chair of the English competition was DTM Abdul-Aziz Alamri who selected very experienced and professional contest chairs and chief judges for the English contest. The Arabic, Ladies and YLP contests were considered to be the showcase of the entire event.
Twenty-three speakers from six different divisions of District 104 participated in four categories: International Speech; Table Topics Speech; Humorous Speech; and Evaluation Speech. All participants had qualified for the district level after winning contests conducted earlier in their respective divisions.
In the humorous speeches, six contestants entertained the audience with their spontaneity and humor. DTM Mohammed Kunhi was the chief judge while TM Samer Murshid was the contest master. TM Askar Ali Khan from Division C got the first prize, with TM Saeed Alghamdi and TM Fouad Abdulrahman coming second and third respectively.
Evaluations Speech Contest had five contestants with a test speech delivered by TM Nida Tahir. The title of her speech was “The Map To Why”. TM Saeed Alghamdi won the first prize, followed by TM Areeba Khan and TM Sheikh Mohammed respectively. DTM Riaz Sarang was the chief judge and TM Sumeer Mehboob was the contest master.
In the Table Topics Speech contest, where the contestants had to deliver an impromptu speech for 1 to 2 minutes on a given topic, seven were in the fray. The title given to all the contestants was “Teamwork makes the dream work. What according to you makes a team successful?” DTM Abdullah Filimban was the chief judge and TM Shankar Vishwanathan was the contest master. TM Khaja Yaminuddin bagged the first prize, TM Samia Baghallab took second and TM Sheikh Mohammed was third.
The contest ended with the International Speech contest — a 5 to 7 minutes speech delivered on a topic of the speaker’s choice devoid of sex, religion, or politics. Six contestants from five different divisions enthralled the audience with their inspirational and thought-provoking speeches. District 104 Director, DTM Mohammed Ibrahim Maricar, was the chief judge and DTM Basheer Ambalavan was the contest master. TM Yasser Eskarandarani was declared the champion while TM Adel Aljuhaiman was the first runner-up and TM Khaja Yaminuddin was the second runner-up.
Earlier Club growth director DTM Ahmed Assiri also conveyed his message. He urged all members to encourage their friends to join Toastmasters to help us improve the growth of clubs as well as their membership.
Noted journalist, doyen of English journalism and former editor-in-chief of Arab News and Saudi Gazette, Khaled Almaeena, was the keynote speaker on the second day of the contest. He spoke about how communication may sometimes lead to miscommunication. “We have to always take every message on a positive note as the negative mode may sometimes lead to a misconception followed by the negativity among people.”
He further said that Toastmasters are taught to always have a positive attitude. A speaker gets boosted, motivated and then becomes a successful leader. “Every aspiring leader needs a team to become successful. In addition, to fulfill any vision, excellent leadership ability and communication skills are required. The toastmaster organization has done a tremendous job in cultivating leadership and communication in the last few decades. We need to spread this message across our community and provide opportunities to new members. We need to develop more members and continue this legacy,” he said.
The winner of the international speech contest, Yasser Eskandarani, said some people quail at the thought of having to speak in front of an audience. Perhaps it is because they lack proper direction and simply need someone to guide them through the challenges of public speaking. “However, I have learned in Toastmasters how to become more articulate and confident.”
The winner of Table Topic speech contest, Dr. Khaja Yaminuddin, said, travelling back and forth, for the club meeting made him put his thoughts and construct his speeches. “All praise be to Allah, prayers of my parents, sacrifices of my family time and motivation of my club members. I feel good to achieve this championship,” he said.
The winner of humorous speech contest, TM Askar Ali Khan, said, all he has achieved was by standing on the shoulders of “Giants”. “I thank all these ‘Giants’, my club members and the entire team of toastmasters for helping me and encouraging me to channelize my talent effectively,” he said.
TM Saeed Alghamdi, the winner of the Evaluation speech contest, said his success was unexpected. “A true speech evaluation refers to the ability to truly understand the speech and say things of value, which actually help the speaker improve his or her communication skills. At the end of it, that is what public speaking is all about. It is not an easy task to evaluate someone but, I gave a chance to evaluate today’s test speaker and I was declared winner,” he said.
The event could not have been successful without the sponsors who were the Edutainment company, Universal Inspection Co. Ltd., Advisors 360, Modern Gates Logistics Company & Ramada Hotel. Ajmal Perfumes, Petronas, Sabahoo (Saudi Masterbaker Limited) and Giordano sponsored gift hampers.
Al-Bilad newspaper and Iqra Channel were the event’s media partners.