Facing Fears – What have you done today to make you feel proud?
I went to my first every Toast Master event last night and I’m still buzzing from the experience. For me it was a resounding success, so much so, that I’m still skipping around the flat like a total giddy kipper! I’m sure I will calm down soon….
For people out there who have never heard of Toast Masters I will give you a brief outline.
It’s an evening and a platform for people to practice their public speaking. It’s very structured and American in its approach. Have you ever been to a BNI networking event? If you have it will give you some ideas as to what Toast Masters is like because they are very similar in their feel and approach. The meetings have similar conventions, with clearly defined job roles, protocols (lots of clapping and handshaking going on!), timings and ceremony to adhere to. This pomp and ceremony may not appeal to everyone but, for me it works. There needs to be a clear structure, otherwise the night would end up descending into total chaos, being monopolised by the loudest, most outspoken few (people who like the sound of their own voice.) It’s fair to say there would be a fair few of those types of people at such an event, (me included, depending on the day, people I’m with, and circumstances!) It attempts to be fair and democratic, and essentially aspires to create a safe environment. Safe enough for people to feel comfortable to get up and speak in front of others, and have a go, regardless of talents, ability & experience.
I was told that the number one fear is “Fear of public Speaking”, supposedly more people fear this than death!
Toast Master will do what it says on the tin. If you were to attend regularly, and wholeheartedly take part in the programme your public speaking and presentations couldn’t fail to be improved.
What struck me was the diversity f the people who attend. It was top heavy on men & this didn’t surprise me in the slightest. However, there were a range of people from very different backgrounds and ages with many different reasons for wanting to improve their presentation and communication skills. Some people were clearly battling with speech difficulties and confidence issues. These people impressed me with their courage; they also made me feel a bit lucky in the respect that most things do come fairly easy to me. I don’t have to try that hard really, which essentially has made me a bit lazy. I take my abilities for granted and this is not a good thing.
I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and my pleasure was heightened by my joy and pride at winning not only Best Newcomer but also best overall table top speaker off the evening!! Now how cool is that!
So what amazing subject did I loquaciously (one of my Grandma’s favourite words) speak on?! SHOPPING. Now I hasten to add that shopping was certainly not a chosen subject. I am not a fan of shopping at the best of times. Generally it bores me senseless, unless its car-boots or second hand shops, when I feel like I’ve managed to bag a real bargain.
I had no idea what I was going to say before it came out of my mouth, but as soon as I got out to the front all my nerves evaporated and I found myself quite enjoying myself. I think that may be the show off side of myself that enjoys been the centre of attention. Let’s face it we all like to be listened to and feel important don’t we?
I could have easily stayed sitting in my seat and not given it a go, but as the girl who was sat next to me said, if you do it you will feel proud of yourself after…..she was right.
Of course I was nervous before had. I could feel my stomach turning. It’s that strange feeling, butterflies in the stomach, a mix of feeling nervous, anxious, a little bit like excited nausea. I nearly didn’t get up and give it a go. I so nearly didn’t.
The feedback I got was that I looked like I was enjoying myself, which in turn meant I was enjoyable to watch. Enthusiasm is contagious and catching.
My rosettes are proudly displayed on the fridge help on my red plastic cow fridge magnet and Wonder Women magnet that I got from Haworth the other week!
Do I feel like Wonder Women? God dam right I do…..
Oh and don’t forget PROUD. Now that is a great and very important feeling. Worth overcoming those nerves and butterflies don’t you think?