You might have heard about the Toastmaster International Club. It is a global organization with over 360,000 members for the purpose of promoting communication, public speaking, and leadership. Do you know that ACAN has a similar program, for youth and run by youth?

ACAN Youth Public Speaking Club, sometimes called “social masters”, was founded in August last year and we have been meeting every Tuesday since then, minus holidays. But have they made any difference? What would the club members say about their experience? 

Wilson Wu (Senior, Club President) 

I initiated and organized the public speaking club back in August 2020. The reason why I have the passion to run this club is that I love to improve my public speaking skills as well as helping more people to enhance theirs. Public speaking skill is extremely important in school, work, and in our future career.

I still remember our very first kick-off meeting, there were almost 100 people in our Zoom call and I can see the passion from people in public speaking, and this is what drives me to keep running our weekly meeting, to help other people improve their public speaking skills and become a confident public speaker. It is a process of learning from each other. We help each other out by taking different roles each time and point out what they did good and what needs to be improved during our meeting. 

On the other hand, I also learned a lot from our club meetings, and from our members. After the past four months, I found myself improving a lot in public speaking and the improvement is very obvious. From our very first meeting, people won’t even turn on their camera and are very shy to speak up, and now everyone actively participates and engages in our meeting and we have new members joining us almost every week. Together, we can be a confident public speaker. So please join our weekly meeting and give yourself a chance to change your life. 

Albert Ayala (Club Mentor)

I’m thrilled to be a part of the ACAN Social Masters club! As I’ve been a member of a Toastmasters club for over two years, I know the benefits and believe anyone can reap the rewards of participating.

It’s a fact, public speaking is the number one fear amongst adults. Famous comedian Jerry Seinfeld joked that if you had to go to a funeral, you would rather be the person in the coffin than the person giving the eulogy.

The anxiety of public speaking is a barrier to growth. Statistically, you earn 10% less pay and have a 15% less chance of getting a promotion if you don’t overcome this fear. Furthermore, speaking to a crowd is only half the battle! It doesn’t help you if your audience is distracted by a lack of presentation skills when they should be focusing on your message. ACAN’s Social Masters group will help you master the craft of engaging your audience effectively.  You’re invoiced to join us every week, and I look forward to seeing you there.

As the club mentor, I’ll be there for you to give you pro-tips, encouragement and support. I look forward to meeting you.

Andrea Ayala (4th grade)

Participating in ACAN Social Masters has done more than increase my confidence level. It has modified my figure of speech, and has made my vocabulary and sense of humor grow! My experience of new languages and foreign customs have also extended, letting me expand my knowledge!

Exposing me to these kinds of subjects has let me talk freely, publicly, and immediately, if I am called on unexpectedly. Not only is Social Masters a fun learning experience, it also is terrifically humorous, like when someone slips in a few jokes in their speech.

When it’s my turn to speak, I feel confident that I will talk clearly, smoothly, and without pausing to think, not sounding a little awkward as I seamlessly spin my thoughts into words. I appreciate how we get the chance to speak and how we learn about one another. Much appreciation goes to Mr. Ed Wu and Wilson Wu for working so hard to organize these meetings. 

“Andi” Ayala (6th grade) 

The Austin-Chinese American Network, also known as ACAN, has many activities to enroll in, but by far my favorite is their Social Masters speaking club. 

Why you should join is if you have the fear of public speaking, you can overcome it by joining the Zoom meeting every week. There are many roles to sign up for, such as the Grammarian, who assigns a new vocabulary word for the whole club, and the Ah-Counter, who keeps a record of how many filler-words each speaker uses. You can also sign up to be a Prepared Speaker and tell us a five minute speech about yourself. 

Your progress about public speaking will definitely level up after joining this free online meeting; the people in the meetings are more confident in their speaking. I’m glad to say that the Social Masters club has clearly improved my speaking skills, and I especially enjoy the Table Topic session, where the assigned person gives three or more questions to a volunteer in the meeting.   

If you’re feeling shy or anxious about speaking with everyone’s attention on you, then this is the group for you! If you join, say goodbye to your glossophobia and watch your public speaking skills soar.  

Gloria Wu (9th grade)

I’m normally a person who hates public speaking, and this was no exception. However, I had no choice– my dad forced me to go to ACAN Youth’s public speaking club every week I was available. The beginning was pretty awkward for me if I remember correctly. I didn’t want to talk in front of a bunch of strangers, afraid that I’d choke up. But after being urged by my dad to answer a few table topics, I started getting the hang of it. It’s a bit more fun now, and although I still hate public speaking, admittedly I think I have improved a bit in my public speaking skills, helping me in the debate meetings. I know I still have a long way to go, so I hope that the public speaking club can go on for a long time so we can keep having this opportunity to practice and improve our speaking skills.

Tiffany Yin (10th grade)

In the beginning of the sophomore year, my mother saw the ACAN Public Speaking Club poster on one of the WeChat groups that she was in. Knowing that public speaking is an important skill to obtain in the future for both in society or just in the process of socializing, I decided to give it a try.

Socially, I was rather outgoing, I had lots of friends and I love communicating with others. But I always stutter and can’t help to be awkward when I’m presenting in class, hence why I wanted to improve my public speaking skills. At first, when I joined the Speaking Club I was secretly terrified – I didn’t know most of the people in the club and I was always crossing my fingers not to get randomly chosen for a speech. But as time progressed, my confidence grew as I realized that I wasn’t in the boat alone, there were also a lot of people in the club who also were amateurs in public speaking. 

After having that realization, I tried to talk a little bit more, and after that, I started signing up for roles, then I realized that I constantly volunteered to give speeches. I’m very grateful for Wilson and Mr. Wu to organize this club – now I don’t stutter when I give presentations in school and the first to break the silence in breakout rooms. Public speaking not only helps you build up a better charisma but it also helps boost your confidence when you know what you’re talking about.

Jasper Lee (12th grade)

It was my mom who first saw the poster and suggested I attend the club. I wasn’t very thrilled about it at first, but looking back, I can say it was definitely a good choice, and it has really helped me improve my public speaking skills. At first, I didn’t speak much, but as the club progressed, I found myself getting more and more confident and speaking more and more often.

In addition to more confidence, the club provided other benefits too, such as using fewer filler words and managing the time of the speech better. There is a portion of the club at the end of each meeting where we review how we did in those aspects, and it has really helped me track that progress.

It was also great just to meet new people and become more familiar with the people who regularly attend the club, especially during a time when social interaction isn’t very common in day-to-day life. Having conversations during the club offered a better grasp on what others’ opinions on some important topics were, and how they differed.

Overall, the club has helped tremendously with many aspects of my public speaking skills, and I’m glad I’ve been able to be a part of it!

How can I join? I am glad you asked!

FIRST TIME MEMBER ONLY:

Please complete the registration form prior to the meeting https://bit.ly/3gAkDPt

ROLE SIGNUP SHEET:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1-DQvUlcy5zkLmFwmnZrMAHzyAxF8DKY2nr0y3-JwnN0/edit?usp=sharing

ZOOM MEETING LINK:

https://zoom.us/j/92458292300?pwd=R0JVVWV4dlhFUU90Zk5tODRIRlhpZz09

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