When I was approached about joining Toastmasters I asked the sponsors if I could win any awards and they said yes, I was in. I like winning and the thought of receiving a trophy or plaque excites me. I love to see people receive accolades. When I was a student in school I couldn’t run or play sports and I didn’t think that I would ever be able to do anything that would earn a trophy. Now I have so many trophies that I am running out of space. They reside in my home office, living room and on my desk at work. It feels good to win and you should never feel bad about winning.
At the time of joining I didn’t think I needed much help speaking, but I have learned so much as a member of Toastmasters. As a member of the communications business in my outside life Toastmasters has expanded my horizons. I can now master the entertaining speech, the humorous speech and love to do impromptu speeches also know as “Table Topics” in the world of Toastmasters.
I have been speaking professionally since 1975 and truly enjoy it. My first time as a public speaker was a scary time, but via self talk I told myself that I needed to get my butterflies flying in formation. It worked and I’ve been speaking every since with confidence and panache.
Reportedly speaking in public is one of the most difficult things for some people to do. Being a good speaker gives you confidence and people will like to hear you talk. Don’t fall into that trap you may have fell into in high school or middle school where you don’t want to outshine your peers. You are an adult now and it is all about you. If you see someone that you admire their speaking ability ask them to be your mentor.
I’ve always worked on changing things that I don’t like about myself, from my fear of speaking in front of crowds to being a better friend and co-worker. Oh yes, people can change, they just have to want to change.
I have a quote on my wall at work, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take!” I first saw this quote about 14 years ago and now look at it daily. It reminds me to stop talking myself out of opportunities and to go for the brass ring every time. I am a big fan of motivational speaker, Les Brown. He can speak extemporaneously and that was a goal of mine to become a speaker of that caliber, I am proud to say that now I am a graduate of Les Browns’ “Speaking for a Living” workshop and he considers me a friend. I am a much sought after speaker in my community and circle. I’ve introduced some very famous people and emceed events in the tri-state area. Toastmasters has enhanced my speaking abilities and it is wonderful to add my Toastmaster accomplishments to my bio and resume.
Shine on! Debbie Norrell is an award winning speaker and a Toastmaster Competent Communicator.
(Email the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org)