First Toastmaster’s Experience

The third day into the new year I attended my first toastmasters meeting. Toastmasters is a group of people or an organization if you will, from all walks of life, learning the art of public speaking. A way to grow professionally and meet professional people and encourage each other to grow and increase your confidence through public speaking. In a variety of clubs they may specialize in different types of public speaking but each member starts with using a manual of different types of speeches and can deviate from there. With becoming a toastmaster you can compete, locally, regionally and nationally in competitions. Going to one of these meetings can be a little nerve racking a lot of clubs are pretty relaxed and will let you be a guest for sometime until you decide to join or not. I am still deciding which club to join. There are so many to choose from in my region alone. So I figure I start by finding all the local ones and attending one a week. Until i figure out which one i would like to join.
The main reason I want to join is to learn to gain more confidence in public speaking. Sure, I have done a lot of presentation in school and even did a speech or two but that was a while ago. In doing public speaking in a professional environment I can actually connect with professional public speaker and obtain a mentor who can help me become great.
The type of meeting depends on the club and what their order of business but every meeting has a member or two of toastmasters give a speech from their manual or a competitive speech they are hoping to win with. There is a person who counts every um, erm, and, so- or filler words as well as a person who keeps track of time. Depending on the type of speech it can be up to 7 minutes long, sometimes longer depending on the the subject manner. Anyone who is attending the meeting can give critiques and encouragements on slips of paper about the speakers. Then a judge for each speaker goes up and gives a 2-3 minute review on what they liked about their speech. After the key member speeches and judges speeches are done so begins the impromptu speeches or what they like to call Table topics. If you volunteer or are chosen you tell a speech about a topic given to you. A one to two minutes speech how bad could it be?
For my table topic I spoke about finding a new TV show. The little voice inside my head, after watching 5 people go ahead of me, could not keep quiet so I stood up. All it took was a little push and I was up standing and asking for a topic. My heart pounded in my ears and then the words just flowed from my mouth. With experience in putting together my YouTube channel- TJBanski and doing mini monologues there, this speech seemed pretty painless. It only took maybe 15 seconds and I found a comfortable pace and I didn’t stop shaking until 40 seconds went by. This experience really got my thirsty for more. The adrenaline you feel before you start a speech helped me through it and to be honest that feeling never went away for the rest of the night. I ended up getting an award for best table topic speech. They loved my passion and energy and honestly it felt good.
If you have an interest in public speaking, talking with people and would like to connect with toastmaster, I highly recommend giving it a shot. Why not?

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