I was introduced to Toastmasters a little over a year ago and life has never been the same since! Since I love to write I thought that speaking would be a natural extension of sharing my thoughts, my feelings, and my life. Regardless where you are right now as a speaker Toastmasters is a safe and encouraging environment to improve communication and leadership skills. Not to mention having a lot of fun and building meaningful friendships.
In October of 2015 Dr. Manal Fahkoury (one of your District Directors) asked if I was interested in being the Test Speaker at the November District Conference in Daytona Beach. I said, “Sure, why not!” A Test Speaker is what I refer to as the test crash dummy for a Toastmaster’s Evaluation Contest;
-The speaker speaks (duh!)
-Evaluators critique the speech.
-Then the Evaluators are judged for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.
No pressure right? Not exactly when you find you will be speaking in front of 300+ Toastmasters and your speech will be evaluated by 8 Contestants! I suppose there was some consolations that they were being judged and not me. I was just the Test Speaker. The added bonus is that I would get great feedback from 8 people to help me improve future speeches.
I decided to speak on a topic that was focused on the audience I was in front of but also would be suitable on a wider scale if I were to give it again (as I have several times since.)
I was fortuanate to have a friend, Marianne MacKenzie capture the speech and share it with me. (By the way, you should click on her name to see how Toastmaster Gavel Clubs are changing lives for those who are looking for a second chance.) Now I would like to share it with you. This is not about me. Whether the speech was good or bad but about the message. As Winston Churchill once said;
So, If at first you don’t suceed…