Wattala Toastmasters Club:
Climbing up the ladder
The Toastmasters Club was begun in a basement of a YMCA in Santa Ana,
California in 1924 by Ralph C Medley and today it has grown to spread in
113 countries with 12,500 clubs and more than 250,000 members.
In the early 1900s ‘toastmaster’ was a person who made the toast and
introduced the speakers at a banquet and this is how Ralph named this
group “The Toastmasters International”.
Alroy Mascrenghe with his award
“The Toastmasters gives self confidence to an individual and also in
the other areas of life, like in their studies, work and others,” the
first President of the Wattala Toastmasters Club M. Alroy Mascrenghe
said when I asked him what Toastmaster is all about. People come from
all walks of life and when they give a speech at one of the meetings
they hold, other members listen to it and evaluate it.
Toastmasters has two main levels and that is improving leadership
skills and building up self confidence of a person and at every meeting
a person is chosen to chair the meeting and make a speech, Alroy added.
Under these levels there are many tests or projects that one has to
master to be the toastmaster.
There are 20 to 25 people who get together and these people are given
a project in the competent communication level where they have to do 10
project speeches. In this level they learn how to use gestures, make eye
contact and how to deliver a proper speech.
The beginning of the speech is called the Ice Breaker, where one
comes out of their shell and brings out their inner voice to show what
they got and see where the changes can be made and build up their
The second level Advanced Level goes under three Communicators which
are advance communicator bronze, advance communicator silver and advance
Then there is the Competent Leader which has two levels to reach
which are advance leader bronze and advance leader silver. Reaching all
this levels takes one to be the Toastmaster.
“The difference between our club and other clubs is that people fight
to get a particular place but in Toastmasters one has to be communicator
for at least six months,” Alroy added.
The Wattala Toastmaster Club was founded only two months ago, and
this was a vision of Alroy who is the All Island Best Speaker of the
year at the All Island Best Speaker Contest organized by the Colombo
They had their meeting in June where they invited other club members
to judge their meeting. They gave publicity in all the areas, hung up
posters everywhere and persuaded people to join the club explaining what
they can achieve out of it and made the Wattala Toastmasters Club.
When they began telling people to join they had only 12 entries and
they needed 20 entries to get chartered as affiliated club and somehow
or the other through Alroy’s persuasion eight gave their names and on
June 30 chartered the club.
Everything that the club does is first approved and checked through
Toastmasters International. Already they have completed four successful
meetings and members such as Galadari Hotel General Manager’s Office
Executive Secretary Nishanthie Dissanayake has completed four speeches
The team - The President with the two Vice Presidents
Nishanthie is the Vice President of Public Relations of the club and
she too is a winner of her own talent. She was awarded the Secretary of
the Year 2010 organized by SLAAPS.
The Sri Lanka Association of Administrative & Professional
Secretaries (SLAAPS) conducted the Contest to select the Administrative
and Professional Secretary of the Year 2010 in April this year.
Nishanthie will now vie for the “Asia Pacific Administrative &
Professional Secretaries Award for the year 2010, which will be
conducted by the Association of Secretaries and Administrative
Professionals in Asia Pacific (ASA) during its Congress, which will be
held this year in Taipei.”
This is a great big training and help for her as it is building up
her skills to speak at an event she will be participating in Taipei. At
first Nishanthie was keen on speaking but just after two meetings, she
asked the President to hold the meeting as much as possible.
“We don’t have any funds, but we have created something different
from our club, we have added value to our members from every meeting and
we have a mix of people,” Alroy stated. With their motto “Creating
Positive Opportunities for Everyone”, they have got people from all over
to join them.
There are people who are senior managers of banks, insurance
managers, accountants, military and university students who are among
the members of the toastmasters club.
They are always giving them confidence and an average six speech a
day would take one far. People come out of curiosity to see what it is
and when they know what it is, they want to come for more.
Toastmaster as said before is all about building up your confidence
and leadership skills that can take you to places you wouldn’t have
dreamed of going. To know more of the club in Wattala you can contact
Alroy on 0777-572-414.
Alroy Mascrenghe - President
Nishanthie Dissanayake - Vice President Public Relations
Shadiya Zackaria - Vice President Membership
Anbalahan Paul - Vice President Education
Prabu Doraisamy - Treasurer
Alex Leons- Sergeant at Arms
Santhush Weerakoon - Secretary