Speak Up – My Toastmasters Experience (Thus Far)

Growing up, I always understood the importance of writing well and capturing a reader’s attention. However, I was always shy up until the past year or two and wrote more than I spoke. The moment I stopped acting so quiet and scared was the moment I realized the importance of public speaking skills in tandem with my writing skills. After finally feeling more situated post-move into our apartment, I had this craving that drove me mad with loneliness, but I didn’t know what it was. It was to talk!

I have a few people I speak to at home through Facebook Messenger and text messages; I think most, if not all, of us do. But that isn’t talking, and I don’t have many people to actually speak to in my town. After so many years of silence, though, I feel the need to speak more than I ever have. Add on the experiences that I have been through, and you have my newly developed desire to practice public/motivational speaking. To do that, I had to figure out where I could practice. That is how I discovered Toastmasters.

For those of you unfamiliar with Toastmasters (which I’m sure may be many of you, as I’d never heard of them until recently either), it is a group of people working together to improve their public speaking skills and encourage one another in their pursuits. (It is like a group of friends, honestly.) My group is a smaller one usually composed of up to eight people, but we have good meetings. Also, I can’t complain about a group who gave me a standing ovation when I gave my icebreaker/introduction speech when they do not have to whatsoever.

Going to these meetings, I’m discovering a courage within myself I never knew I had. I guess it was one of those pieces of yourself that does not awaken until you are mentally ready to do so. Now I have the confidence to attend open mics and share my poetry with the city of Allentown while I build up to sharing it with the world. I am a newbie to the group, but I am glad I decided to go to that first meeting. If you have an interest in public speaking or overcoming a fear of it, I definitely recommend at least going to one meeting and giving it a shot.

How do you guys feel about public speaking? Could you talk all day, or would you rather die than give a presentation of any kind? Share your experiences and feelings in the comments, and we can have some conversation!

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Plugging tags into WordPress’s search feature is amazing, because I stumble upon blogs like this, where a post leaps out at me, grabs me by the face and demands to be noticed.

    I am an aspiring motivational speaker, so talking is my passion, and I am always looking for ways to improve the way I connect with people. I am definitely going to look into Toastmasters; thank you so much for writing about them!!! This journey is brand new to me. That may seem a bit pointless; I am thirty two, and most of the speakers I’ve heard of are super successful at twenty three and such, but from other things I’ve read, age isn’t a terribly high barrier so long as you have something to say that people want to hear.

    You do, just in this single post alone. You’ve got some really great energy leaping off the page! Thank you, again, for sharing this with us!

    In response to your question? Yes. I am one of those who thrives upon talking to people and educating, sharing, helping. I know many have such a fear of public speaking, and I just cannot wrap my mind around that. But our differences are truly what make us unique.

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    1. I definitely agree with you, Sirena! I used to have terrible social anxiety growing up. So the fact that I’ve become someone who doesn’t shut up is almost a little bit jarring. I know you will be successful just by what I’ve seen on your page and am sure you will go somewhere. Just keep it up since not all successful speakers are young.

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  2. Idk, but still I am very hesitant most of the time.Not able to get over that barrier.

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    1. That is absolutely understandable, Abhiket. Public speaking can be a horrendous experience for more people than you may realize. (I used to be one of them up until a year or two ago.) There is no shame in being a bit afraid. Just make sure that, if what you really strive for involves that aspect of presentation and socialization, you overcome it the best you can. Don’t let a little fear thwart your dreams! ❤

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      1. Jessica, recently I did a presentation which didn’t go well from my side, but most of them appreciated. Well it doesn’t matter, since it’s a long way to go. But, one problem that I am facing is extempo. I was a very bad student and I don’t read much, Which result in loss of ideas and presence of mind. I go dead blank. Can you suggest how to prepare myself for an extempo?

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  3. Yacoob says:

    I was intensely shy and a horrible public speaker, but was forced to do a Toastmasters course in 9th grade. I think it helped my confidence a bit, and also helped me get some structure to speeches.

    But the real confidence only came as I got much older. I’d recommend it for introverts as it’s a fairly safe space to face your fears and grow in this sphere.

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