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A toast, mistress!

In yesterday’s entry I mentioned that I went way outside my comfort zone the other night.

What could that mean?

…Probably not what some may think! I attended my very first meeting of Toastmasters International, specifically the Niteshifters chapter that meets at the University of Victoria. I’ve been interested in knowing what Toastmasters is all about for a while – but their usual early morning meeting times really didn’t ring my chimes. Then I found Niteshifters and saw that they meet at 7:45pm. That’s way better than 7:45am in my books.

And so I’ll give it a go. This is truly way outside my comfort zone. First, it’s a group. I’m joining a group. Second, it’s all about public speaking – something that to this day scares me. It’s not like I’m a bad public speaker (if I’m prepared), but I’m not comfortable with it. I fear it.

And I’m completely mortified by the notion of extemporaneous Table Topics speaking: if I haven’t had the time to research and write a treatise first, I’m inclined to freeze in fear. How I would love to get over myself…

I haven’t had to prepare and give lectures for a long time, and now I realize that I’m completely out of the practice of public speaking even when I have prepared material. I’m hoping Niteshifters will help me find my public (speaking) voice – the one that’s been tap-tap-tapping out of the keyboard here for years. I don’t think I’m a totally stupid person, but lately I’ve let myself get sidelined when it comes to public spoken voice – and that’s just dumb.

Oh, interesting side note: while New Westminster, BC was the first non-US city to express an interest in starting a Toastmasters chapter outside of the US (an interest which prompted Toastmasters to add “International” to its name in 1930), New Westminster apparently didn’t follow through and therefore wasn’t the first to start a non-US chapter. That distinction goes to Victoria, BC, which in 1935 became the first Toastmasters club chartered outside the United States. How about that? 😉


  1. Like you, I freeze without a script. and even with a script, I sometimes have to pretend I am an actor playing a part, just to lose the nerves. Am looking forward to hearing more about this adventure!

    Comment by maria — September 18, 2010 #

  2. Like paying attention to physical fitness as we age, I think this (by which I mean: public voice, leadership) is a topic that we women need to get a grip on as we age. While I have met a bunch of women who are fearless, I don’t necessarily agree with what they say, so I don’t want the few or anyone speaking for me (just as I don’t want men or goldfish or the birds in the trees speaking for me). That means, either I get over myself and learn to do it, or I can shut up and put up. Somehow, I’m not willing to shut up and put up, so this (learning how to master public speaking) is going to become part of my smart-aging arsenal.

    Comment by Yule — September 19, 2010 #

  3. I like it. I’ve been toastmastered a couple times, enjoyed it and the experience. I’m more out of practice with my public speaking right now, since it’s been a few years since my last PR gig and several more since my last radio show, but I enjoy the concept and view it as a largely positive thing. The uncomfortable moments are part of why I liked Toastmasters – I knew I was testing myself again..

    Comment by Davin Greenwell — September 26, 2010 #

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