The other week I was Toastmaster for the evening, at my local Toastmaster club. I’d like to articulate my thoughts about it as it might be encouraging to others.
I have been going for about 9 months now. My biggest problem was my nerves about public speaking. I was extremely nervous to even stand up and give my name and a short introduction. Over the months I participated in roles such as table topics master, ah-counter and timer, and did the first two speeches in the manual. All very nerve-wracking stuff (the initial standing up and beginning)
But I had a little “a-ha” moment when the role of toastmaster was thrust upon me.. It was the most un-nerving role I have taken, but it was the most satisfying and it made me realise that its actually a little selfish to be nervous; most other people have their nerves when they give speeches. As Toastmaster I couldn’t just tell people about how nervous I was about my own role, but rather I had to be in control of the meeting, and be there to provide whatever was required.
This has greatly helped my own progress in increasing my ability to communicate effectively and confidently. The next meeting I was Ah-Counter and the previous role helped me to understand my new one, where instead of concentrating on my own self consciousness, it was more important perform my role for the others’ benefit. This thought alone lessened my nerves because the focus was less about me as an individual.
For those who feel nervous about public speaking or giving presentations at work or school, I cannot recommend going to Toastmasters enough. I wont lie, the first few meetings were tough. It was a new environment for me. Its amazing how just a simple room and seats can take on such visions of anxiety and nerves when there are other people there, all looking at you… but after pushing through the first few times of forcing myself to go to the meetings and speak, it has proved worthwhile and enjoyable. One of the best things I enjoy about going to the club now is the insights and use of language I pick up from other speakers.

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