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!