The Division F Contest occurred a few evenings ago. As usual, I rushed to the venue straight from work, which meant I was there a full hour early, and I wasn’t even competing! Wandering around in the lobby, I turned around to come face to face with none other than Paula who had traveled far and wide just to attend this event.
It was an evening of highs, excitement, personal flub-ups and shock and awe.
I think Paula was shocked, not because she saw me because I was wearing a dress. I knew many people may (or may not) share her shock, given the fact I went through my speeches in jeans and a sweater. To be fair I was coming straight from work, and because it was a special occasion so I wanted to dress up a little bit.
My personal flub-up: a call went out for judges and I volunteered, only if there wasn’t enough judges. Division F Governor John Beck expressed his delighted, and somehow I got it into my head he would contact me a second time to confirm I would be a judge. I realized (driving to the contest) I would have made a terrible faux pas if I had been a judge, since a member from my club was competing in the International Contest, and thus it was against the rules. About thirty seconds before the judges briefing I found out I was actually on the judges list. WHAT?! Oh no! Paula saved my ass and spoke up for me. The Chief Judge seemed a bit peeved; I felt so bad, but by then everyone was in such a rush there was no time to explain why I realized I had to back out at the last minute.
About ten minutes before the contest was set to begin, I was recruited for another role: Sergent-At-Arms. It would be pretty simple, all I would have to do is get the attention of the audience, and then introduce John. Oh yes, and possibly set the tone for the entire contest. No pressure, right?
Like another bolt of lightening, ideas began to form. I wanted to do slightly more than just stand up there and say one sentence to introduce John. I got the idea to do a clapping introduction to get everyone’s undivided attention (a technique I got from another Toastmaster). I went with the “safe” idea of pointing out where the washrooms were, and asking everyone to turn off their devices. All the while, I tried to weave what on-the-spot humour I could come up with. I had one lady come up to me afterwards and congratulate me on a job well done. A couple other Toastmasters’ sent me messages later to congratulate me on a job well done for putting the audience at ease with my introduction.
It felt pretty darn good.