Toastmasters International

Toastmasters International (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Had a Toastmasters meeting tonight and as always, glad I went.  I can honestly say I’ve never regretted going to a single meeting.  There have been quite a few times when I haven’t FELT like going, where I just wasn’t feeling very sociable, very kind, Survivor was on and I just didn’t want to make the 30 minute drive.

Those are the times I needed it the most and was most glad that I went.  There is always a lot of laughter.  If you’re a TM, you already know that.  🙂

Our group is in some sort of transition right now and bizarrely, I find myself one of the senior members.  It’s strange to live the fact that people who have no idea about TM (or me!) accept me as some sort of authority on it now.  It makes me laugh actually.

But the fact is, I am a different woman than when I began and the speaking is the least of it.  The knowing is everything.  The knowing of what you can do…the knowing of what other people think you can do… the experience of doing scary things and having not only lived through it but maybe even enjoying it.

Our group seems to be going through a pruning stage.  Also a bit scary but I hear that’s how ya get the fruit.
And on a related note, that club Facebook page was a flippin’ genius idea and I wish we had done it sooner.  I suggested it to our president last year but she felt that it wasn’t necessary and she isn’t on FB or Twitter so she didn’t really understand or appreciate the power of social networks.  When our VP Membership suggested it at our last exec meeting, I told her to run with it!  I like being the Pres.  🙂

Directly because of this page, a lot of people are planning to come to our Humorous speech and Table Topics contest!  I am seriously psyched!  It will change the entire dynamic of the evening!  It will be a lot more fun.  And there are prospective members there.

We did have 2 guests today and they were both young women in their 20’s which is great because we don’t have a lot of young people, being a retirement town.  TM really needs to attract more young people and I hope our young champ Ryan Avery (age 25!!!) can shift things for us.

Anyway, working working working on The Speech and it’s funny, in the last couple fo days, it morphed into something completely else.  and I liked it at first because I realized that I was finding and using all the tools that the Champs told me about – foundational phrase, paula-isms, holograms, etc.

But then I felt like I had kind of LOST the original ZING and fun that I had loved so much!  I was a bit panicked too because I always just SAVE every new version of a speech.  Every time I change even a WORD, I save it, so by the time I’m done with it, there may only be a skeleton left of the original.

But I liked the original and thankfully, I HAD saved an earlier copy.

Spent about 3 more hours on it tonight, weaving the 2 speeches into each other and liking the result much more.  I was inspired by something that one of the Champs said tonight on an old conference call I listened to:  you have to think about your audience.  You have to cater to THEM and each one is different.  I was thinking District Finals Audience and I didn’t have any business doing that because this audience will be much different and they deserve communication created for THEM.

Yes, it’s a contest speech and certain criteria must be met but for cryin’ out loud, if you can’t make adjustments for your audience what’s the point?

 

Sometimes I can’t believe I’m the person living my life.  It’s very strange to look at it all and think “That all happened to me; how very bizarre.”

I am not a believer in coincidence.  In fact, I’m a believer in God.  I’m not a pushy “you have to believe what I believe or I won’t be your friend” type of believer and I’m not the “so-silent-on-the-issue-you’d-never-know-I-believe” type of believer.

I am a rather loud, sometimes annoying but always sincere outspoken redhead who has a bad habit of speaking before she thinks (which is why writing is so very very good for me and why Toastmasters has also been beneficial).

I believe things happen for a reason.  I believe in Divine Providence.  I haven’t always.   But too many unexplainable, absolutely unbelievable things have happened to me for me to dismiss the Divine.

So where am I going with this?  I believe I’m going to Cincinnatti my friends.  🙂

I got what I feel is confirmation that I am on the right track.  And I got it from the current World Champion of Public Speaking, Ryan Avery.

  And this is how!:

I have mentioned in the past that I joined the World Champions Edge group.  They have monthly LIVE conference calls which I have discovered I can’t take part in because they are broadcast at 6:00 pm Wednesday nights.  That’s my Toastmasters night.  lol
So last Wednesday they had Ryan the new Champ on and I have been WAITING and WAITING for them to record it and rebroadcast it.  Tonight was finally the night.

I was so excited.  After I’d put Meaghan to bed (for the 3rd time- she is sick tonight, poor girl) I settled in with a cup of tea and my notepad.

Mark Brown, the 1995 World Champ with the velvet voice interviewed Ryan and they had a fun rapport.

Then they came to the questions from members.

And the first question was from PAULA in Madeira Park.  Yep, that’s me.

My question was what kind of preparation did he undergo for the Worlds?   He gave me so many great insights, exciting and fun and really weird sounding things I’m going to TRY and I can’t wait to post them afterwards to tell you all about them!

The thing that confirmed it for me was that he said 8 months before the Worlds, he put a video on youtube and sent it to all his friends saying that he was going for the Worlds.  He said he did this to put positive pressure on himself, so that people would make him be accountable.  That’s the very thing I was doing when I started this blog with 364 days to go before next year’s Worlds. 

Now I have to admit that I felt very apprehensive in doing so.  I was worried that I would be perceived as arrogant or cocky.  There’s a woman in District 21 who kicked my ass in the District finals this year and I know she wants to go to Cincinnatti too.  How would it look, me saying these things?  Is it disrespectful?  And I’m dead sure there are a dozen or so others who also want to go in District 21, B.C.  alone!

So, who the hell am I to say “I’m aiming for the World Championships next year.”

Well, who am I NOT to say it?  Why indeed not?  I’m willing to bust my behind and I’m willing to bust my husband’s behind too!  🙂  (Thanks honey.)  I’m willing to learn, to be a sponge, to be coachable and to LISTEN!  I’m willing and I know I have the support of my family and friends behind me.

But Ryan also said these words:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xw8C-wktWNQ&feature=youtu.be

CRA.     ZY.

So this is it folks.  This is the real deal.  I may look like a fool doing it but I’ve done foolish things for shots of Sambuca in the past.  I  don’t mind looking like a fool in pursuit of the World Championship of Public Speaking.  I’m going to be the biggest fool in the World.   🙂