Thursday, August 03, 2006

Speaking Without Fainting

I have this idea that one day I will have to read my work in front of a lot of people…or, maybe I’ll have to introduce someone who will read their work in front of a lot of people. Nevertheless, I want to be able to perform this task without feeling faint, having to suddenly go the restroom, or trembling. So, I joined Toastmasters International with the hope that I can gain some confidence when speaking before an audience.

Today I gave my first speech, which was basically the post On Risk Taking and Anxiety. I was originally supposed to give it a month ago, but I chickened out and postponed it until I got up my Umnph. Still I felt faint, had to suddenly go to the restroom, and was shaking so bad I really had to make a conscious effort to hide it. The first speech, which is called the Icebreaker, is supposed to be the easiest because you talk about the subject you know best; yourself. But, for me this will probably be the most difficult because it is about myself. Being in Toastmasters is kind of like growing up in the church and you had to recite your first Easter speech. No matter how horrible you were, people clapped and cheered; because they wanted you to feel comfortable. They wanted you to gain the confidence to keep trying until you got it right. You could have one ponytail undone, the other one sticking straight up in the air, and a finger up your nose, but people encouraged you. That’s what being in Toastmasters is like. It gives you opportunities to speak before people and to take on roles that develop leadership ability. You receive honest and constructive encouragement and criticism, and you practice being a speaker and a leader until you get it right.

This was just my first speech and everyone was very supportive, but I intend to go back and keep trying until I know I nailed it. And, next time, I’ll try to keep my finger out of my nose.

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