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Manuel Cherchi

December 2014 Member 2 - Manuel Cherchi

Winner of District 4 Humorous Speech Contest, 2014-15. His speech was titled "A Family Tradition"!

When and how did you join Toastmasters?

I went for a coffee in the break room of Cisco Building 14 and they were advertising the Cisco Speaks Toastmasters Club: “Are you looking to improve your communication and leadership skills?”   I am always looking to do something new in my life, so I thought “Let’s give it a try!”. I joined the Cisco Speaks TM Club last January and I am working on my advanced speech manuals now.

Has Toastmasters made a difference in your life?

Big difference! You start to see yourself as a speaker. You also start noticing how other people are communicating during the company meetings, things they are doing well and opportunities to improve. People notice the change in you immediately! I was told there was a lot more clarity in my communication after joining Toastmasters.

I travel all over the world, meet a lot of people and am able to leverage everything learned in TM and I do my best to inspire others. Recently I went to Bulgaria and since I’m a Toastmaster, I wanted to give a speech. I wanted to inspire them. I started off 10 years ago in a call center and wanted to show them they can make a difference in their professional and personal life.

How did you come up with the idea for your winning speech?

When they asked me to put down my hobbies, I chose soccer, reading and - as a joke - "complaining". The ex-President of the club was laughing about it and said I should use this for a speech. It started as a joke but I realized it was a family tradition and used it.

How was the experience competing for the humorous speech contest?

At the club, I was nervous but didn’t know where it was going. When I went to Monterey, I didn’t think I was going to win. I just wanted to go there to meet new people. On stage, I felt really connected with the audience, felt their energy. It was an amazing experience, one of the best days of my life.

How was the experience competing for the humorous speech contest?

When they asked me to put down my hobbies, I chose soccer, reading and - as a joke - "complaining". The ex-President of the club was laughing about it and said I should use this for a speech. It started as a joke but I realized it was a family tradition and used it.

What would you tell new prospective members and new members?

Come as a guest, check out the meetings and see if you like it. I don’t usually advertise TM because I like it. I ask them: "what do you want to achieve by joining TM?" Whatever it is, I tell them it is a low stress environment where nobody’s judging you.  Everybody comes with different goals. Some join to improve basic communication skills, others are not afraid to speak but want to specialize in some areas.

I encourage new members to get uncomfortable. People are excited in the beginning and then they forget why they joined. I tell them not to just come for an hour, but come because you really like what you are doing and you are having fun. That’s what I experience every time I attend a TM meeting: I love it, I have fun and I want the members to have fun as well.

What’s next for you? What aspects of speaking do you want to work on?

I meet lots of people demotivated about their jobs and lives in general. I would love to work on giving inspirational speeches. I want to motivate people, share something that can help others to overcome their challenges.

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