My eyes popped open this morning just before my alarm was set to ring. Through the sleepy haze and howling wind outside, my mind asked me: Did yesterday really happen?
January 17, 2015 was the date for the annual Speaker’s Showcase by my advanced club, Just Pros Toastmasters. With the theme titled “Rock the Stage!” the call went out to our members to submit proposals for speeches/mini workshops or sign up for roles (registration table, greeters etc).
I had that “did yesterday really happen?” feeling once before in the world of Toastmasters, and coincidentally that event would go on to launch this entire blog. The event was that good. The organizers were organized right down to the smallest details: not only did they communicate with all the roles, made sure the chair would know exactly how to set up the stage for the speakers, I noticed they even sorted and grouped all the money bills so the Treasurer wouldn’t have to go through sorting the money themselves! (That is highly impressive!) The PR campaign was truly phenomenal and it showed: we packed the Theatre and attendance levels were at a high that I (personally) had never seen before. I’m sure there were some individuals in the audience that must have driven 1.5+ hours to make it to the event at 8:30 a.m. Wow!
The second the Chair opened his mouth and started the Speaker’s Showcase, I knew we had this, that all those weeks, months, of hard work would pay off. And boy did they pay off big! We had speakers that skyrocketed our energy, that inspired us, taught us about the power of our own stories, and even (yes, I heard through a reliable source), moved the audience to the point of tears. Every person I talked to afterwards were truly impressed with such a well crafted, professional, event.
Where do I fit in you ask? I was wedged in as a speaker after the break, delivering a quick workshop on how I learned to add humour into my speeches. Despite my tendency to be my own worst critic, I did wake up this morning proud of my progress. I started 2015 by pushing myself out of my Toastmasters’ comfort zone in a huge way. I delivered my second workshop-like speech ever. The audience interaction to my questions were better than I could have ever hoped for. Somehow my speech got picked to stand side by side with individuals whom I consider to be some of the best speakers in the entire District. Did I get as many laughs as I was hoping for? Not really: every single one of those other speakers got way more laughs than me, but I don’t mind. I would like to think I focused more on wanting to share what I had learned, and I couldn’t have been happier with the way things turned out.
Maybe this should serve as motivation to keep working on my humour (wink wink), or think about “retiring” (ha ha) and trying my hand at new things. Thank you to all those that let me be a part of something truly amazing.