Last week, we have decided to try out something new to stimulate excitement and greater fun to our club meeting – Meeting in the Dark. I have read this idea from a magazine and decided to give it a try in our club meeting. With highly enthusiastic excos who are always willing to go the extra miles with me and without further hesitation, we decided to try out this wild idea by going all out in just 2 weeks prior to the meeting!
On the actual day, I was late due to heavy downpour in town. As I arrived at level 23 of Hotel Istana, the meeting has already started. Standing outside of the meeting room, it was a little quiet compared to the usual. I gently opened the door. All I could see was pitch black. Boey, our Sergeant-at-arm noted on my arrival and quietly led me into the room while pointing an empty seat to me. I could barely locate my seat based on the weak beam of light penetrated from the door seam. The door was closed immediately after I found my seat, the meeting room was returned to a total dark mode right after that.
Feeling a little uncomfortable in the dark, I was trying hard to look for sources of light penetrating the room, whether it is from the curtain or the door seam. NOTHING. All I could feel was darkness. There was no light at all. I tried to recall the seating plan which I have discussed with the exco team prior to the meeting, however, losing my visual ability made me feeling tense and a little nervous. I couldn’t estimate the crowd in the room, I didn’t know who was sitting next to me. The feeling of uncertainty and discomfort struck me. I could only rely on my hearing to feel the room setting and the crowd.
I could identify the cheerful laugh and the high energy voice from my right was definitely Patricia Yap from Berjaya Toastmasters Club, and I was also almost certain that the low tone voice coming from my left should be our VPM, Desmond Goh. Feeling a little excited and fun, I could almost visualize where I was right now while slowly immersed myself into this dark meeting mode.
Unlike the usual club meeting setting where everyone got to speak in front of the room at the designated speaking area, this time, everyone was speaking at their own seat in order to minimize movement in the room and avoid stumbling. While the table topics speaker was speaking in the room, being the club president, I couldn’t even identify who was this speaker, was this a guest, or a member? I can’t really tell from his voice. A lot of suspense created in this meeting, which was also making the meeting to be a lot more fun.
Our Dark Master (Toastmasters of the Evening) of the meeting, Gabriel Chong has done a wonderful job by successfully taking the entire meeting at his control. Without light in the meeting, Gabriel was really spontaneous in his way of introducing the speakers and evaluators in each session. He invited speakers to introduce and read out their speech titles during each session to ease his job in the dark – smart move!
5 courageous prepared assignment speakers were up for this challenge to speak in the dark – including Rozana, a new member who was delivering her first speech in the club. The dark meeting has increased the level of difficulty of speech delivery as no visual aids is allowed. They were not able to use body movement or facial expressions to enhance their speech delivery, but in return, all they could leverage was only their vocal variety or volume control. It was like radio podcast, voice is the only element which connects the speaker and audience.
The highlight of the meeting was definitely the horror story telling session by the master of Horror Story teller – Ken Yeong from Maxis Toastmasters Club. Apart from his flexible vocal variety and volume control in delivering his story, he even added external sound factors like bottle wrecking sound or objects dropping on the floor while slowly leading us to the climax of his story. The way he created suspense in his “midnight podcast” session was done intelligently and drew a lot of shouting in the room. He even created goosebumps in his listeners as he eerily describes the silent midnight Grab passenger. He has successfully painted the horror image in the audience mind as if we were watching a horror movie in the cinema. At the end, he won the best speaker undoubtedly.
“Ding” – our timer Ling Keat has rung the bell to indicate that time’s up. No signal of light will be given but only multiple taps of bell ring. Ling Keat has carefully hide his phone light under the table while timing each speaker in order to ensure smoothness and no light disruption during the entire dark meeting.
Without disruption from external factors like smartphones or ability to multitask during the meeting, the meeting has turned out to be very engaging. No phone, no note taking, no photography. All we could do was listen, focus, and cheer for each other. I was totally immersed in the entire meeting.
Although the meeting was done in the dark, all speakers have done tremendously well in their speech delivery with high standards like a usual club meeting. This proved that darkness would never be a barrier to speech delivery. All we need is to make up our speech with other elements like vocal variety or pitch control.
At the end of the meeting, the light was turned on gently by SAA as instructed by the Dark Master of the night. Meeting ended with group photo taken after the light on.
This would definitely be one of the most unforgettable meeting experiences in my toastmasters journey. Kudos to all Dark Knights of the meeting, thank you everyone for making this happen.
ITC Bintang rocks!
ITC Bintang rocks!