Limiting Beliefs


In 1519, Hernan Cortes landed at Vera Cruz on the Mexican Gulf. He was the commander of a party of Spanish conquistadors. He had 600 men, 17 horses, 13 muskets and 10 artillery pieces. He boldly set out to conquer the mighty Aztec empire. 

The Aztec army outnumbered the Spaniards 1,000 to one. It could have annihilated the invaders. It could have cut off their escape. It could have isolated and starved the enemy to surrender.

But the Aztec emperor Montezuma convinced himself that Henan Cortes was the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl.



Because the Spaniards had arrived in waterborne houses with white wings, they have magic fire that burst from tubes to kill at a distance, and their leaders ride on strange beasts.

And Aztec legend has it that the party of the god Quetzalcoatl would come to break up the Aztec empire.

The Aztec army waited in the hills. The signal to attack was never called. Believing himself doomed, believing resistance would be futile, and believing the enemy could not be defeated the emperor Montezuma submitted.

The Spaniards put the Aztec emperor in chains, they burned their captives alive, they smashed the alters of the Aztec gods, they exacted an immense tribute in gold and jewels and they ruled the Aztecs for the next 300 years.

Today, 484 years later, many of us are still shackled by our limiting beliefs.

We tell ourselves that we could not succeed, that we could not attend club meetings, and that we could not do our project speeches.

Today we break the chains that bind our wings.

Call your vice president education. 
Book a slot to do your next project speech.

Do it now.


Why are we called Toastmasters?

I was recruiting freshmen to join Toastmasters during the NUS matriculation fair. When some freshmen walked past our booth, they saw our banner with the word “Toastmasters Club” and punned, “Toast Masters? Is it a club where you learn to toast bread?” 

I’m sure you all know full well that our founder, Dr. Raplh Smedley, chose to name this wonderful organisation “Toastmasters” because we, as public speakers, are tasked to propose toasts to the audience during important functions. But does the word “Toastmasters” have anything to do with toasting bread?

The answer is YES. Let me trace the fons et origo of the word “Toast”

In ancient time, the Romans toast their bread in a fire. When the breads become too hard to chew, they would soak the bread in wine to soften it. The idea was expanded, in the late 17th century, when someone decided to drink to the health of a lady, whose name was felt to have spiced the drink like the pieces of spiced toasts that were placed in wine. 

Of course today, the word toastmasters is synomymous with a person who is learning or practicing public speaking. 

Reference. An article written by Toastmaster Audrey Lim from NUS Toastmasters Club

Origin of the word “Toast”. From The NEW OXFORD Dictionary of English.

Article submitted by mathew

Evaluation of U.S. President George Bush’s speech by a Toastmaster

The following evaluation is taken from : Toastmasters International’s website

Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. January 29, 2003 – Toastmasters International’s former President, Alfred Herzing, of Yorba Linda, California, says President Bush’s State of the Union Speech was more effective in the second half, where he spoke about Saddam Hussein’s threat to the world, than in the first part, where he outlined his domestic policies.

“He kept a good, measured pace throughout the speech,” Herzing said, “but he became more animated in the second half. From a Toastmaster’s standpoint, I’d liked to see more gestures and vocal variety reinforce his message, and a stronger conclusion to summarize his key points.”

The key to the public speaking training offered by Toastmasters International is the evaluation segment, whereby all speakers are critiqued by a fellow member according to the “sandwich approach:” a few suggestions for improvement wrapped in twice as much positive feedback. The nonprofit organization aims to teach the mechanics of effective speech delivery; it does not advocate a particular political or religious point of view.

On a positive note, Herzing gave Bush credit for an overall powerful presentation, credibly and confidently delivered without resorting to “John Wayne mannerisms.” Herzing said Bush used “the power of repetition” to emphasize key points — especially toward the end when listing Iraq’s alleged defiance of weapons treaties. “He repeated the lines, ‘He has not accounted for that material. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed it’ at the end of five paragraphs,” Herzing noted. “He also used short, crisp sentences and specific information to elaborate on numbers: ‘I will send you a budget that increases discretionary spending by 4 percent next year, about as much as the average family’s income in expected to grow.'”

Herzing comments on the effectiveness of phrases such as “Nobody was ever cured by a frivolous lawsuit;” “The course of this nation does not depend on the decisions of others;” or “One mentor, one person, can change a life forever, and I urge you to be that one person.”

He also thought it was effective for Bush to reach out to the Iraqi people by saying, “Your enemy is not surrounding your country; your enemy is ruling your country.”

Of course, if President Bush were to join a Toastmasters club, he’d be encouraged to stop flipping through his notes, and instead slide them more subtly from left to right, While members of Toastmasters clubs are taught not to read their speeches, Herzing concedes that President Bush’s hour-long, widely televised speech calls for the use of notes, “in case the TelePrompTer fails.”

You can read President Bush’s script from this website.

List of Speaking Topics

Looking for speech ideas?  The following list may give you some inspirations:

I    Business

1.     The biggest sale I ever made – and the thrill I got from it.
2.     How and why I failed in business.
3.     I like my present job because…

4.     The best (or worst) investment I ever made in my life.

5.     My boss was good to me.

6.     How I improved my performance at work.
7.     My suggestion for helping my organization become
more teamwork oriented. 


II   Childhood

8.     The excitement of recieving my high school (or other  diploma).
9.     The thrill of getting my first bicycle.

III  Family

10.     How I felt when my home burned down.
11.     The thrill I got in watching my son (daughter) being graduated from high school or college.
12.     A lesson my children have taught me.
13.     I was homesick.
14.     My wedding.
15.     The most humorous thing my child ever said or did.
16.     I was proud of my father (or mother) because . . .

IV   People

17.     My hero — and why I worship him (her).
18.     The happiest couple I know — and why they are happy.
19.     The pleasure I got from praising a friend, relative,
or employee.
20.     I made an enemy.
21.     The most courageous act I ever witnessed.
22.     My favourite speaker — and why I like him (her).
23.     What I learned by becoming interested in a stranger.

V    Personal

24.     The most exciting thing I ever did.
25.     The best friend I ever had.
26.     The meanest prank I ever played.
27.     The greatest help I ever recieved.
28.     An unforgettable experience with ‘puppy love’.
29.     I was patient and it paid off.
30.     The strangest coincidence I ever heard (or witnessed).
31.     My big moment.
32.     How one idea increased my happiness.
33.     I made a friend.
34.     My favourite opera — and why I like it.
35.     My favourite motto — and what it has meant to me.
36.     The most stupid thing I ever did.
37.     I was jilted.
38.     My greatest handicap.
39.     The biggest surprise of my life.
40.     My most unforgetable experience in the armed forces.
41.     Why I quit drinking.
42.     I was cheated.
43.     I learned my lesson the hard way.
44.     I had forgotten (or lost) my wallet.
45.     My favourite toy — and why I like it.
46.     I never felt more lonely in my life.
47.     When I prayed the hardest — and why.
48.     I was furious.
49.     I was seasick (or airsick).
50.     I was drafted.
51.     I visited a friend on the farm.
52.     I won a medal because . . . and the thrill it gave me.
53.     My greatest disappointment.
54.     I turned to prayer as a last resort.
55.     The happiest recollection of my childhood.

VI   Recreation

56.     The most exciting sports event I ever watched.
57.     The best book I ever read — the best play or the best film.
58.     My most successful fishing trip.
59.     The thrill of owning my first automobile.

VII  Social

60.     My first date.
61.     A dinner I will always remember.
62.     I was embarrassed because I could not remember a name.

VIII Miscellaneous

63.     I got a ticket for speeding.
64.     The best sermon I ever heard — and how it 
affected me.
65.     The mental and emotional impact that a course has had on me.
66.     Why I never went to college (or university).
67.     The last time I had a flat tire.
68.     The smartest *mistake* I ever made.
69.     An incident that convinced me that honesty is the 
best policy.

— Excerpted from the manual in the Dale Carnegie Course.


Where and when are meetings held?

Tiarel Toastmasters Club holds meetings at Tampines North Community Club, 02-06 (Level 2) from 2.00 pm to 5.30 pm. Registration and fellowship start at 1:45 pm. Schedule of meeting is on 4th Saturday of the month.

On certain days, we might have alternative venues – please check our website for the latest update.

If you want to be in the loop, do signup for our newsletter too!

What are the benefits of being a member?

When you first register with us, you will receive your Competent Communicator and Competent Leadership Manuals from Toastmasters International. There are 10 basic projects in the Competent Communicator Manual and each focuses on a fundamental skill required in public speaking. The Competent Leadership manual guides you throught the appointments in meetings and each project highlights a basic skill needed to be an effective leader.


As a member of Tiarel, you are also entitled to attend our regular chapter meetings held every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month. During these meetings, you can have a go at impromptu speeches (Table Topics), project speeches and ultimately evaluations (giving constructive feedback to your peers).


Should you wish to polish your leadership skills further, you can also volunteer to serve as a club officer.

What happens after CC?

After you have completed your Competent Communicator (CC) manual, you can choose 2 advanced manuals from the 15 Advanced Communicator manuals. After completing them, you would achieve Advanced Communicator Bronze (ACB).


Each advanced manual contains 5 projects.

The advanced manuals are:

The Entertaining Speaker

Speaking to Inform

Public Relations

Facilitating Discussion

Specialty Speeches

Speeches by Management

The Professional Speaker

Technical Presentations

Persuasive Speaking

Communicating on Video


Interpretive Reading

Interpersonal Communication

Special Occasion Speeches

Humourously Speaking

I have been diligently doing my speeches. Do I get any recognition?

When you finish your 10 basic projects, Toastmasters International (TI) will award you the title of Competent Communicator(CC). Should you desire, TI can also mail a congratulatory note citing your achievements to your employer.


After you have finished your basic projects, you can move on through either the communication track or leadership track.

Along the communications track, you can achieve titles like Advanced Communicator Bronze, Silver and Gold. Along the leadership track, you can achieve Competent Leader, Advanced Competent Leader Bronze, Silver and Gold. When you have both Advanced Competent Leader Gold and Advanced Communicator Gold, you are a Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM).


These titles are useful as goals throughout our Toastmasters journey, directing us to work towards learning and practicing our communication skills. Also, DTM is not the end of Toastmasters. Many Toastmasters have completed their DTM and proceeded to re-do it once more with different manuals!