Thursday, September 20, 2012

Courage via encouragement.

All I needed was a little encouragement, really.

And today, I got a HUGE serving of encouragement.

Week two of 6 months worth of Toastmaster meetings. Remember last week? How I told you about Table Topics and was put on the spot to give a pitch to a publisher on a new cook book I was writing? My words failed me. I said um, a lot. Plus I'm pretty sure the audience could hear my pounding heart. It was awkward and once I sat back down in my seat I was completely embarrassed for my speech lasted maybe 30 seconds. But the first time was out of the way and that's all that mattered.

Today I woke up, took a shower and put some nice clothes on. I wasn't scheduled for a speech but just in case, I wanted to come prepared. Prepared for another topic or even my icebreaker speech if need be. And guess what? They called on me again. But this time they did ask me before the meeting if I would like to participate. Sure! Why not? I'm only going to get better by being thrown to the wolves.

Today's topic - travel. Perfect! Except I had to mention a place I would never visit again. To be honest, I can't think of a single place I've traveled that I wouldn't go again. So I turned the topic into traveling to London for the Olympics. I told my story about surprising Benjamin and they laughed at the escalator encounter. I made eye contact, noticed my heart was still in my chest and felt WAY more comfortable in front of the group than anyone. Not to mention I noticed the timer when I had been speaking for over two minutes! And they were laughing with me, not at me. Benjamin did have two options really on how he could have reacted to my surprise.... thankfully he was stoked.

That round was way, way, way easier. Phew!

As with every meeting, they hand out awards at the end of the program to recognize and encourage participants. And guess what? I received best Table Topic speech and Most Timely!


So yeah, you could say I'm slightly encouraged. And I signed up for my first speech - an Icebreaker for October 4. I was going to talk about being an athlete, but I think I'm going to go out on a limb here and really share my story. Why not start where I want to take public speaking? I can already picture myself in front of a stadium audience. Oh boy!

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