What would you cross the Grand Canyon to tell me?
– Chelsea Avery
Those were the inspirational words spoken to Ryan Avery by his wife, chelsea (she is one amazing lady). Whatever he was crossing the Grand Canyon to tell her, that message would have to be important, inspirational and what he truly believed in. And that message was his Championship Speech.
Recently, my club held their International Speech “Contest”. I put that in quotation marks because we found out close to the actual day we did not have enough members with the over 6 CC speeches requirement to be judges. (A good chunk of our members right now are newbies). Without enough time to
kidnap ask Toastmasters’ from outside clubs to help, Plan B was launched: we would send someone from our club to represent us at the Area Contest.
It would still be a contest. Myself and another Toastmaster would both present our International speeches, and the members would vote by ballot whom they thought was better.
Call it the self-fulfilling prophecy if you wish, but I always had the feeling I would lose against the other speaker (he is one of the handful of “Toastmasters I want to be when I grow up”) and that feeling was cemented as soon as he said his first line. His voice was raw with emotion, taking us on a roller coaster ride of some of the most nail-biting moments of his life. You could have heard a pin drop. Votes were tallied, and his name was announced as our representative. He looked surprised, but I wasn’t surprised at all: between our two speeches, his was the better one. At the end of the meeting, I happened to see the number of ballots counted: seven votes in total, 6 for him, 1 for me.
Slight ouch. I thought I would have at least been able to put up a better fight than that. I confess there was a small part of me that hoped for a miracle and I would get to advance. This was a speech I would have told myself if I found a way to go back in time. I think this speech had potential, but I will be the first to admit I wasn’t able to really rip it apart over and over again and construct something better. I don’t think I even put a quarter of the effort as my friend Paula (see her blog here). In that respect I failed, and I fully accept the result and consequences of my (non) actions.
I remember all the changes to my Toastmasters’ life these past six months. Hard to imagine it was only back in September I sat down in front of the computer, staring at that blinking cursor and thought “okay, now I have to write a speech and be as funny as possible.” I spent hours just to reach the skeleton of the speech it has since became. It has brought me so many amazing experiences I would have never achieved otherwise. I have gained so much more from the journey (and constantly practicing and making minor revisions to my speech) than from reaching the destination itself.
My goal from the beginning was to enter the Humorist and International Speech Competition. I can check that item off from my Bucket List, and start preparing for next year. In the meantime, I have volunteered to be the test speaker at my Area’s Evaluation Contest (that is how I’ve wormed my way into the Area Levels, haha!)