A Toastmasters Journey Begins

Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.

Those words by Jim Rohn got me thinking.
I certainly had never practiced my communication skills and had often walked away from a conversation with the lingering thought of why didn’t I say that? Did I get my point across ? I was always so wise after the event, lots of I should of or I could of ?
At the same time I was being mesmerised by Ted Talks that were thoughtful, smart and intriguing . These people were inspiring, their stories inspiring their words were inspiring. A penny dropped with me . Our world is shaped by words.
This lead me to want to become a better speaker and I needed it for my changing career roles.My world as an engineer had been all about working with my hands and practical skills and now it was about leadership.
You can’t lead if you can’t speak.
As everyone does these days I sort a remedy online and soon found Toastmasters. Luckily Worthing my home town had a club, Worthing Speakers Club. No excuses , 10 mins from house and nice venue on the beach The Burlington.
The only thing lacking was courage.
After a couple of not getting out the door I finally found myself standing on Worthing beach opposite the venue 15 mins before it started . A couple of deep breaths and in I went.

I didn’t know what to expect. Warmly greeted , I was sat next to a member who told me I had made it just because I got through the door. They would be my guide through the night. A President opened the meeting and handed over to the Toastmaster for the night and it all seemed very formal. Role holders were introduced a grammarian, General Evaluator and Timekeeper. Then the real speaking began with a warm up.

The warm up started and everyone was given 15 seconds to speak if they wished on the topic given by the Warm up master. What followed was people laughing , being open and making fun of themselves or sharing experiences.

It then proceeded to prepared speeches. 3 members gave wildly different but interesting speeches and I was hooked. The interval came and I was approached to see if I wanted to take part in Table topics and I thought why not give it a go.

When the second half started the prepared speeches were each given an evaluation of their speech from another member and then it came came the time for Table Topics. I was first up and had to speak for 1 to two minutes on my favourite childhood memory. If you had asked me and hour earlier if I would have done this I would have said no way! I didn’t even speak at my own Wedding and we only had 15 guests! And I did ok, I wouldn’t say great , but what an experience!

The meeting ended and the members were friendly and encouraging . I had found a place where I could practice and learn . I had a feeling that I have had many times since ,that I couldn’t wait to try again and see where this takes me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s