The first speech I ever did at Toastmasters was just a reading; that was all I could manage. I had a page of words written down in front of me; I knew all I had to do was read them out in order, and I knew the trauma of doing this would only last 5 minutes and then it would be all over. Some trips to the dentist had been less harrowing than this.
For that first speech I felt my heart pounding, my skin getting clammy, my knees shaking and my throat drying up faster than a puddle in the Sahara Desert. I couldn’t wait to sit down. The really amazing thing was I found myself back there and speaking again the following week… and then the week after that, and then the week after that, too. That was 13 years ago.
Nowadays, I stand in front of audiences – sometimes quite large ones – and I seldom quiver a beat. Nowadays it’s a privilege and a joy being able to inform and entertain an audience, to inspire other fledgling speakers. Nowadays it’s incredibly satisfying to be building a club where people who come in feeling paralysed at the thought of speaking in public, and can go on 9, 12 or 18 months later empowered to be persuasive, influential and confident in what they communicate.
I love being a part of Cathedral City Toastmasters Club. We have a high quality group of committed leaders and learners here who really embody the club’s vision to be the best it can be in every area of endeavor. I believe that in this kind of environment people stand the best possible chance of achieving what they set out to do when they come to Toastmasters.
Gary J, DTM