I still haven’t abandoned my new year’s resolutions. But they did take a little turn, which I’ll get into in another post.
One resolution was to join, attend, and participate in Toastmasters. Toastmasters is a national organization with local clubs that meet regularly to provide a place for people to improve their public speaking in a supportive setting. The club I found is excellent. There is a range of well seasoned speakers to people like me who need a lot of work. The more seasoned speakers are there to provide advice and feedback to the newer members.
Yesterday was my first “icebreaker speech.” I think overall it went well. I’ll have to watch the video they took of it and see for myself. Although I put in a lot of preparation, I should have worked on the speech more over time, rather than fine-tuning it so close to speech time. I think the later additions and subtractions threw me off a little. And the changes I made came after I really started to rehearse. So the learning is to rehearse earlier on, and finalize the speech before the last day. Then rehearse the final version some more.
It’s funny they say that after a speech you’ll kick yourself for accidentally leaving things out. That happened to me. There were parts that I completely forgot to say that I think were important in tying the entire speech together better. This is all a learning experience… Again, I think the late changes threw me off a little.
I relied only on an outline. I didn’t get stuck or fumble, which is an accomplishment. I wasn’t too nervous either–which is another accomplishment. There was someone there counting “ums” and “ahs,” and I had my fair share. I’m completely ok with that for now. There are other areas I want to improve on first before really honing in on eliminating filler words. I was able to make pretty decent eye contact.
Besides improving public speaking and speech in general, I another important thing Toastmaster provides is a setting to purposely get out of my comfort zone. I touched on this a little on my End Scatterbrain site. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that purposely stepping out of your comfort zone does a lot to improve other seemingly unrelated areas of personal development.