I haven't updated you guys on my Toastmasters experience in awhile, have I?
That's probably because I haven't been to a meeting in a while, oops ;) We meet twice a month, and I happened to miss a week when I was down in VA... plus one month had 5 weeks in it so we went 3 weeks before a meeting- so it's been 5 weeks since I went to a meeting.
BUT... I am back. And this past Monday I had my first speech!
Let's rewind back to a few weeks ago first... I got my speaking manuals! The "Competent Communication" outlines the speeches I will have to give. I think the "Competent Leadership" outlines the 'jobs' that you can have in a meeting- like time keeper, vote counter, etc- but I haven't really looked at it yet sooo yeah...
Anyway, back to the speech. I was so, so, SO nervous all day leading up to the speech. Like, embarrassingly nervous ALL DAY. It was ridiculous.
I had to give my "Ice Breaker" speech, which is a 4-6 minute speech about yourself to introduce yourself to the group. What an easy topic, right? You can't go wrong- you can even make up stuff; who's gonna know if you're telling the truth or not?
My biggest mistake was that I ignored the speech until the day of. I didn't plan ahead, I didn't start thinking about the speech- I literally put it off until the very last second. That didn't help my nerves...
So Monday morning I brainstormed my speech (I know it's just about my life, but I wanted it to be cohesive and kind of like a story, rather than just spewing random facts) and jotted down the main points I wanted to include. Then I started practicing.
A few rounds of practice later, I had it pretty much down. But I was still so nervous! What if I forgot everything I wanted to say?! What if I stumbled over my words? I HATE PUBLIC SPEAKING!
I managed to survive the meeting and I think my speech went well. I got good feedback and they were impressed that I didn't use notes (to which I said: why on earth would I use notes for the story of my life? [now you have the one direction song stuck in your head, don't ya? muaha])
And I got a ribbon! Whoop whoop! I think they just vote for whoever is new... but I'll still take it as a compliment ;)
Hopefully the next speech I give won't be quite as nerve wracking. I think the biggest thing Toastmasters will help with is self-confidence-- if I just keep doing it, eventually I'll get my confidence up so that I'm not this nervous before every speech. If I want to stick with this entrepreneurship thing (or, quite frankly, ANYTHING in life) I need to know how to speak in front of an audience!