Reality check.  Real life crowds are rarely like Toastmasters crowds.

They will not necessarily be quiet while you are talking.  In fact, they may not even CARE that you are talking!  lol.

They might complain that the music is too loud, they might complain that the music is not loud enough.  They might get very grouchy when the dinner is late being served and when there are less door prizes than scheduled.  They might be annoyed that there is only one person selling 50/50 tickets.

There were over 200 in a packed house.

All in all, I’d say I did my job well.  I kept the night going smoothly despite a whole lot of bumps in the road including (and I get to keep my big toe here) 2 last minute changes to their lineup and 2 changes DURING the lineup.

The energy of the crowd was very diffused because of the size of the room and the terrible acoustics there.  I’d say at least the back third of the room had trouble understanding everyone on stage.  The people up front enjoyed themselves; I saw them laughing.  I was able to connect with them but the people in the back may as well have had headphones on.

I did an old improv thing with one of the young people there, a trick where I tell a story with my hands behind my back and the person stands behind me and is my “arms”.   You hope for animated, clever arms.  I don’t know how my “arms” were because I couldn’t see them but I had never done it before from the position of the storyteller and I could not believe how distracted I became with her arms.  There was also no mike stand for this so someone had to hold the mike for us too which blocked the view of some people.   I let it go too long.   I probably should have just stuck with doing “JAWS The Speech” but it turned into an encourgement session where the girl was chickening out of doing it and I didn’t want her to have any regrets later.  She was part of the group of young people that was having the funds raised so I thought it would be beneficial for the audience to see someone their money was going to.  It was a good idea but I should have picked a way shorter story.

Then I did JAWS as well.

I decided to use an actual clip of the JAWS music to begin the speech and as I was playing the clip for them which I had recorded on to my phone, the phone bloody well RANG.   Seriously.   I put the phone aside and it rang SEVEN MORE TIMES in the next 7 minutes and I could NOT believe it.  No one else heard it but me but I actually started to LAUGH because I swear, I don’t get 7 calls a MONTH on my cell phone.

They had also put a disco ball on the stage, right smack in the middle of it, hanging very low, and I whacked my head on it twice.  So did one of the dancers.  The stage also had 2 big cracks in it and my heel sank into one of those!  Hmmm.  What else was there?  I’m sure I’ll remember.  Anyway, it was one of those Murphy’s Law things, you know?  What do you expect for a fundraiser?  At least I was smart enough to bring my Toastmasters manual so I could have my performance evaluated by another TM who I knew would be there.

Anyways, I made some people laugh, I got some experience in the accoustically worst room in the world so it can only go up from here and they made a whole bunch of money so they were happy.   As far as MCing, I did a damned good job.  My performance however, left much to be desired in my opinion.  I was told otherwise by ‘everyone’ but I know better.  I feel like I let them down.  It’s not a good feeling.

Lesson:  You don’t perform AND MC.  You pick one and do your best.

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