Let’s toast Balneet Toor, the recipient of the Rise and Shine Toastmasters’ Annual Achievement Award, for her outstanding work in CMNS 235: Public Speaking. Balneet recently graduated from UFV with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, as well as the Professional Communication Essentials certificate.
“I was very surprised and thankful when I found out about the nomination,” says Balneet. “It felt nice to know that my peers and professor enjoyed listening to my speeches and they have faith in my skills. Winning the award was the best feeling ever. I felt very proud of myself, and this was a fantastic way to end my last semester at UFV.”
Why did you take the class and what was your experience like?
BT: I took this class to challenge myself and to improve my public speaking skills. Another motivating factor was that I would qualify for a communications certificate since I had already completed the other two communications courses. It was a hard decision for me because I get very nervous while speaking in front of a large group. However, I am so glad that I pushed myself to take the course because it was a life changing experience for me. I was able to overcome my fear of public speaking and regain lost confidence. Samantha made this course enjoyable and valuable. It was a great decision to take this class.
What was your favourite part of the class?
BT: My favorite part of the class was the impromptu speaking and having a theme for each class. This is something I looked forward to each week as the themes were very interesting and our class discussions were also very effective and valuable. I loved listening to my peers, hearing about their experiences and relating them to my life and also learning new things from them. This was a great way to get to know one another. It helped the class understand each other better and increase our comfort level.
What was it like taking a public speaking class on Zoom?
BT: It was a very unique experience taking a public speaking class on Zoom. Honestly it went so much better than I had expected. Samantha made the course very easy to follow along and she encouraged us to use this opportunity to learn different techniques on how to present online. Since I am a business student, I feel this was a very valuable experience because I will be presenting online at some point in my career. Especially with the world changing due to the pandemic and most people working from home. I’m glad I was able to make progress with each speech and change the technique that I was using to present. For example, in my first speech I was sitting down and presenting. By the end of the course, I presented while standing in front of the camera.
Do you have any tips for future public speaking students?
BT: Some tips that I have for future public speaking students is to take risks, chances and have faith in yourself. You are your biggest motivator. It’s important to brainstorm and practice your speech beforehand to ensure that your speech will be effective. Lastly, don’t forget to have fun! This course is full of enjoyable activities and amazing opportunities.
Balneet’s award-winning acceptance speech is below. “I prepared for my final speech by creating a speech plan and noting down everything that I would like to include,” said Balneet. “From there onwards I just spoke from the heart. I was so thankful and happy that I was given this opportunity.”