The latest Faces of Four features District 4 Photographer Robert Tang. Many of you have likely seen Robert at various District functions taking pictures of the event. Today, we’re going to put the lens on him. Let’s take a moment to get to know our favorite photographer.
Tell us a little about your Toastmasters career (e.g. How long have you been with the organization, what clubs do you belong to, what made you join, etc.).
Attended my first ever Toastmasters meeting in November 2000 after seeing a large Toastmasters sign displayed in front of the elevators every Wednesday – became a member of Visa Speakers Circle in January 2001. When I left Visa in 2005, I was then an Area Governor and proceeded to join one of my Area’s club, Foster City Toastmasters, of which I am still a member. In 2014 I had an opportunity to charter and join a new advanced club, San Mateo Storytellers. I serve as the Treasurer for both clubs.
How has Toastmasters helped you in your professional career?
Professionally, I no longer get nervous with being the center of attention and in front of a large audience. I have learned that I can speak with confidence, purpose, and presence.
More importantly, personally, skills that I have mastered from Table Topics have given me the moxie to initiate conversations with CHP/police officers and judges – to talk, negotiate, or convince them to giving me a warning instead of a ticket or dismissing the traffic ticket, respectively. I gave a Toastmasters speech describing a rare occasion where I actually got stuck with a traffic ticket, for of all things, driving at night without the headlights on. When I appeared in front of the judge, I surprised him with my request for him to dismiss the ticket. The judge then surprised me by saying that he would dismiss it if I give him five reasons why he should. I summoned my Table Topics mojo, and proceeded to list five reasons. The judge then gaveled, smiled, and dismissed my ticket. While walking to exit the courtroom, I saw big smiles and received silent applauses from the stunned crowd waiting their turn to face the judge.
What is the best public speaking advice you’ve ever received?
Wait and smile at the audience for a few seconds before starting your speech.
When I reached the speaking area, pausing for a few seconds before I begin any type of communications will give the audience a chance to look up and settle upon me – ensuring I have the audience’s full attention. Else, my opening line may be missed.
What has surprised you the most about yourself since you joined Toastmasters?
As club treasurer, I discovered that I possess a special talent for extracting, I mean collecting, renewal dues from club members. My two clubs have always met the “September Sanity” and “March Madness” dues payment challenges since I have been treasurer.
What are your interests and hobbies outside of Toastmasters?
Love all things motorsports, especially cars … the fast German ones. When I started martial arts training in 2007, I gave a Toastmasters speech about which distinction I would earn first, my black belt or my DTM. It was my black belt in 2010, then 2nd dan/degree in 2011, and then finally, I did the happy song and dance for my DTM at the 2012 fall conference.
How would you describe the perfect meal?
An excellent Mission-style super duper yummilicious burrito with a large horchata drink, after a Toastmasters event or contest. My fellow Toastmasters groupies like to call the après meals and drinks get together, “Post Toasties.”
What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
That I only date Toastmasters? LoL! On Facebook, I am known as “Roberto Salsa,” your District 4 Photographer. 75% of my Facebook friends now are Toastmasters. I am also the keeper of the “All Toastmasters” group on FB. Feel free to friend me of FB: facebook.com/robertosalsa
Come say hi to Robert at our upcoming Fall District Conference on November 12. You might even want to take a photo with him! Register for the event at: https://goo.gl/mDCyFF