Toastmasters D87 2017 Annual Conference – What Did I Learn?

  • Country: Malaysia
  • Location: Kota Kinabalu
  • Venue: Pacific Sutera
  • Date: 19 - 21st May 2017

  • Intl President 2016-2017: Mike Storkey, DTM
  • International Director 2016-2018, Region 14: Elisa W.Tay, DTM
  • District 87 Director 2016-2017: Ivy Lau, DTM
  • Organising Chairman: Johan Amilin, DTM

Overall Rating

Read today's blog post to find out why I attended the Toastmasters D87 2017 Annual Conference, what I learned from the experience, and what you can learn from it too!



Key Note Speakers




Why did I attend the Toastmasters D87 2017 Annual Conference?

A couple of months ago, Lisa Evans told me that she was speaking at the Toastmasters D87 2017 Annual Conference.

Lisa has been a member of Toastmasters for about seven years.  I met her five years ago.  She was a regular member of Sandgroper Toastmasters club and was often called upon to evaluate speeches.  She made the evaluation process seem easy.  She would reel off a multitude of insights in two to three minutes, all while maintaining a constant smile.

Encouragement is her key to success.  Within a few months of joining Toastmasters, she convinced me I was an excellent speaker and should join an advanced Toastmasters Club. 

A year later she was offering to coach me in the International Competition.  She had the ability to see potential in people before they saw it in themselves.

Five years later, Lisa is fulfilling her dream of being an international speaker.  One of the first international speaking events she agreed to, was the Toastmasters D87 2017 Annual Conference in Kota Kinabalu.  I had to attend!

Event Statistics

  • Number of Conference Attendees > 300
  • Number of Clubs in District = 167
  • Number of Members in District = 2,911
  • Number of People on Organising Committee = 22
  • Number of People on Sub-Committee = 25
  • Facebook Page Likes = 238
  • Conference Website
What did I learn from the Toastmasters D87 2017 Annual Conference?

The District 87 Leaders decided to conduct The Toastmasters D87 2017 Annual Conference in three different languages - English, Malay & Mandarin. This decision was reached to meet the needs of attendees, who predominantly come from three different countries - Indonesia, East Malaysia and Brunei.

Educational sessions and the competitions ran in each of these three languages. 

I have tremendous respect for all speech competition contestants.  At this Toastmasters D87 2017 Annual Conference, I chatted to Rebecca Cheng, who placed second in the Table Topics competition and third in the International competition. She has been in the District Final of many speech competitions and was District Champion of the International competition in 2013.  I asked her what she chose to focus on when speaking.

"I was having a conversation with a friend recently...  she said something very profound... Whatever you do and whatever you say, when giving a speech, make sure your speech will be of service to somebody else!"

Rebecca Cheng

I also spoke to Innocentia Christina who placed second in the International competition. 2017 was the first time she entered these speech contests and has yet to complete her Competent Communicator manual.

"It is the teamwork and support of my Toastmasters family that enabled me to progress as far as I did in the International Competition!"

Innocentia Christina

Key Note Speakers

  • Elisa Tay - International Director, Toastmasters International
  • Datuk Hajar Rosmawati Lasuki - Executive Director, Yayasan Sabah
  • YB Datuk Seri Panglima Anifah - Minister of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia

Featured Speakers

Zainal shared the thrilling rollercoaster ride of quitting a high paying engineering job and pursuing a career in making people laugh.

  • Dr Chris Woo - "The Vocal Hypnotic Effect: Revealing Secrets of the Trade."

The voice has a tremendous capacity for hypnotic influence. Inspirational and motivational speakers employ aspects of hypnotism in their delivery whether they know it or not.

Moving from Information to Influence to make a positive impact through powerful communication.

Value Bomb - Zainal Bostama

Quoting from Star Wars to make his point playfully: 

  • "Named You Must Your Fear Be, Before Banish It You Will!" Yoda
  • "Many False Step Was Made, By Standing Still​" Yoda

Value Bomb - Dr. Chris Woo

Defining the benefits of a Hypnotic Effect, taken from a segment of his book titled "The Secret Chambers of Rhetoric: A Companion to Public Speaking".

  • Reduces Critical Thinking - Ethos and Binds
  • Creates Focussed Attention - Voice, Visualisation & Emphasis
  • Enables Desirable Unconcious Responses - Humour, Commands & Repetition, and Personal Qualities

Value Bomb - Lisa Evans

Coined the acronym Speaking Savvy "LIPS"

  • Listen - with PSOLER energy
  • Influence with 3 V's - The Visual, The Verbal and The Vocal
  • Personal Power - brand YOU
  • Structure To Sell - ROCK your presentation


  • Datuk Alexandra Chin - "Knock, knock.  It is me, Opportunity!"

Datuk shared her journey on how she took the opportunity which has allowed her to lead and serve.

  • Brendan M. Wong - "How Toastmasters Made Me Me."

How Toastmasters became directly responsible to Brendan's success in his careers in Marketing, Sales, Television and Training.

  • Lisa Evans - "Power Up Your Presentations with Spectacular Storytelling."

Learn to take your speaking skills to the next level with the magic of storytelling.

Table Topics Competition (English)

Question/Statement to be answered/discussed by contestants:

  "To be cruel is to be kind and to be kind is to be cruel."

  • 1st Place - Yogesh Kapoor (Indonesia)
  • 2nd Plance - Rebecca Cheng (Sarawak)
  • 3rd Place - Thomas Ling (Sarawak)

Value Bomb - Table Topics Insight

The most successful competitors answer the question or state their position firmly and succinctly early on.  They then back up their position by providing simple stories that the audience can relate to, giving the position they have taken credibility.

International Speech Competition (English)

  • 1st Place - Yogesh Kapoor (Indonesia)
  • 2nd Place - Innocentia Christina (Indonesia)
  • 3rd Place - Rebecca Cheng (Sarawak)

Value Bomb - International Speech Competition Insight

The differentiating factor separating the top three (in my opinion), was the consistency of the message throughout the speech. Each of the highest ranked speakers had great stage presence, body language, vocal variety and audience connection. However, the message connecting the stories that Yogesh included in his speech were clearly in alignment with one another. It was this message consistency that ensured everyone knew the purpose of the speech. By making the same point through three different stories, the listeners heard three distinct sources of evidence giving credibility to the message.

Did You Attend This Conference? 

If you attended this conference, I'd love to hear what you learned from the experience.

Please comment below!

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Martin J O'Connor

In 2015, Martin was the District 17 Toastmasters Table Topics Champion and came third in 2014. He was in the District 17 final of the Humorous competition in 2015 and is in the District 17 final of the Evaluation competition in 2017. He is very proud to be a founding member of Competitive Speakers Perth Toastmasters club.