I just checked and I can hardly believe it: it was one year ago, today, that I posted about my first experience at the public speaking group Toastmasters. I had attended my first meeting, and decided to blog about it.
My experience at that first meeting was very positive. It was — and continues to be — a warm and welcoming group. (With a name like “Inverness Toastmonsters”, it would be hard not to like them.) I joined the group in January and have attended religiously. Well, regularly.
One of the things that keeps me going back is a regular feature of the meetings: “Table Topics”. For the uninitiated, Table Topics is an absolute adrenaline thrill-ride of an activity: you volunteer to speak to the audience on a topic that you aren’t yet aware of. You are given your topic . . . as you walk to the front of the room!
It’s marvellous! Some people hate it. I think you either love Table Topics, or you hate it. I love it. I recently described it to my Toastmasters friends as “the crack cocaine of public speaking”. Not that I know a lot about crack, but I have gathered it’s highly addictive. And that is how I feel about Table Topics.
Which is why it is so particularly gratifying to have won — less than a year after joining — the Area 43 Table Topics Competition. Next stop: Perth for the Scotland-wide finals! I can’t wait. I am a bit nervous, but mostly I am just really looking forward to it.
Which brings me back to the point of that original blog, one year ago tomorrow. Sometimes, stretching yourself means doing things that you *aren’t * afraid of, even if you’ve never done them before. So if public speaking is something that you think you might just have a flair for, or, if you don’t feel completely terrified by it, come along to your local Toastmasters meeting. You never know, you may just find yourself at the national finals.