Toastmasters rocks!

August 14, 2009 at 12:33 pm 4 comments

I’ll never forget giving  my Ice Breaker speech at my Toastmasters club back in the winter of 2004.   I remember my content, but it’s more how I felt that stands out.

New to Toastmasters and lacking the grace of more experienced members, I struggled to hold my notes still. The paper shook like a leaf in a storm, just like my hand that held it.  I’ve been told that my voice trembled too, and I sure know that my knees did.  I have a videotape to prove it, but I just can’t make myself play it, the memory is enough.

But never mind, I got through it. I completed my speech, shook the Toastmasters’ offered hand and returned to my seat, glad to have that speech done.

I received so much encouragement from my fellow Toastmasters that I went on to give more speeches. It really was a safe place to practise.

My fellow Toastmasters might have wondered if I’d make it through or flee. They were excellent listeners and enjoyed the story I had shared with them. Their applause  was like music to my ears. It made me feel warm inside, and I remember feeling so relieved and thankful for their kind words that I had to hold back triumphant tears.

Had I stopped there, I would not have learned how to manage the nervousness that comes from standing in front of a group of people and speaking— one of the greatest fears in the world, and one so many avoid because they just cannot bring themselves to do it, until they absolutely must.

I had a goal, and so do most people who come to Toastmasters. My goal was to improve my speaking ability. I had been told, as a writer, that someday I would need to speak about writing, to teach writing or to promote a book. All three items were enough ammunition for me to get started, before I was asked to speak, but not before an interview with an editor.  I was going to get ready, and I have been.

I have taught writers about both writing and speaking, and I’m going to be ready when I have a published book, whatever day that may be.

For anyone considering speaking, Toastmasters has been worth the journey, no matter how difficult it was at times.  I encourage new Toastmasters, or those who have not yet tried it, that they can do it too.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jack  |  August 16, 2009 at 1:18 am

    Agreed. Toastmasters can really help with confidence, public speaking, and more. For some added inspiration, check out this video — ahamoment.com/pg/moments/view/4453 — about one woman’s “aha moment” that led her to join Toastmasters and how that changed her life. Hope you enjoy it and that you’ll also check out the rest of the site, created by Mutual of Omaha to highlight inspirational stories, good works, and “aha moments” of all kinds.

    Thanks — jack@ahamoment.com

    Reply
    • 2. storygal  |  August 16, 2009 at 1:55 am

      Thanks, Jack. I listened to your aha moment. Thanks for sharing.

      Reply
  • 3. yadiyadi  |  December 6, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    It’s Dec 2009… your note continues to inspire… Thank you.. It gives me the push to join up. Mark, IT guy.

    Reply
    • 4. storygal  |  December 6, 2009 at 10:11 pm

      Hello, Mark IT guy. Nice to hear. I’m so glad you’re planning to join. Visit a few different clubs, if you can, then pick the one that fits your needs best.
      I can say that now. I only ever visited one club at the time I considered joining, but I liked what I saw right away. 🙂 Since then I have visited other clubs, just because I can.

      Best wishes to you as you begin your Toastmaster journey. Check in again sometime and tell me how you’re doing. Storygal

      Reply

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