Scared Speechless


Picture:  Toastmaster’s Introductory meeting for “Return To Words” club charter, February 2014

This week I did my first Toastmaster’s speech… and I was scared speechless…  For someone who has gotten up in front of groups for years to educate, share, and be a leader,  you would think that I would not get nervous – right?

Some people look so poised and comfortable up on a stage or in front of a group.  I have a hard time imagining that they have butterflies in their stomachs but I am sure that the majority of them do.  Haven’t most of us heard at one time or another that a  little nervousness is healthy when getting  up in front of a group… it helps us be on our game?

The reason I decided to pursue having a Toastmasters  club at our company this year was because I knew that it would help develop skills  in formal speaking for all of us but I would have never anticipated the other results that I have seen in a few short weeks.  I am seeing new leaders emerge and I am learning things about people I have worked with for over a decade.  I am learning what interests them outside of the workplace… I am learning who they are versus what they do

The other reason I started the conversation about having a Toastmasters at work was because I knew that I could improve my speaking skills to better serve my audiences.  I think out loud which can be very disjointed for my audience when my mind doesn’t stay on one track, which happens often (as those I spend a lot of time with can fully attest to).  Being a better speaker became more of a goal for me after I had done a little 360 exercise  a few months ago where I asked people who know me well to share what they saw as my strengths and what “careers” they thought would be a good fit for me (even though I am fast approaching my sixties).  The answers I received back on this little survey as  potentially good career fits were: Leader (which I am), Coach (which I am) and Motivational SpeakerMOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER??? ME??  That came as a complete surprise to me until I realized  when I am absolutely passionate about something the words just flow… naturally…

So as I stood up in front of my audience for my Icebreaker speech,  I put my scared self in the back of the room and brought up my engaging self… the self that I knew people liked to hear from… and you know what…  I did pretty okay for the first formal “speech”  (versus business presentations) that I have done in many years!

Will I still get a little nervous at times?  Probably.  Will I flub up on pronouncing words or not use them in the best context at times?   Most likely.  Will I have too many ums or ahhs or “filler words” in the future?  I am sure I will.

Will I become a stronger speaker?  I guarantee it!

Do you get nervous speaking in front of an audience?  If so,  what it your “go to” strategy to help relax those jitters?



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