Saturday, February 26, 2011

Toastmasters - The Speech

So I know that you may not normally do a prepared speech on your second time at Toastmasters, but I did (hey what can I say, I like to do things a little differently!).

I have a speech to give at a government department in Canberra, for their celebration of International Women's Day on the 10th March. I wrote about the synchronicity of how it came to happen here.

So, at my first evening at Toasties, I explained the situation and they said to bring what I'd like in and do the speech so I could make my mistakes there and know what to polish up.

Well, I left the speech creation until pretty much Wednesday, the day I was to present. There was a number of factors in this, work was busy, I had some commitments, and I wasn't really keeping track of my days very well. It pretty much went like 'OMG it's Wednesday...OMG Toasmasters is on tonight...OMG I need to write the speech...OMG I've got so much to do today...'.

Well I managed to work on it in the afternoon. It was great that I was basing it on an article I'd written for 10thousandgirl so I knew what I wanted to say. I just had to convert it to being interesting to listen to and shorten it to a certain timeframe.

I wrote it out, shortened it, expanded some areas for interest, highlighted the key words to prompt me and started walking around the backyard talking to myself like a crazy person. You see, it is very hard to practice a speech when you're just saying it in your head. You actually need to say it out loud. Since I have neighbours, I had the interesting task of trying to say it out with expression and emotion and inflections at a very low sound level...quite a feat.

Then I decided to practice on The Man. Hilarious! Have you ever tried practicing something professional in front of someone you know? I got all nervous and got the giggles. Eventually got there. He was a great listener (thank honey!). He even agreed to sit through it a couple more times as I tweaked and re-emphasised.

I was nervous, but also really aware that the crew at Toasties is really open and welcoming. Constructive in the feedback but very supportive. They told me I was in a safe place and I really did feel like I was.

So I did it. I did it imagining 60 people at the government department sitting there. I started strong, then almost cried at one part which was very embarrassing, I thought I was maybe losing some of the older gentlemen in the room, but the women seemed to be paying attention (thank god!). I had trembling hands at the beginning, didn't notice them in the middle and then as I was sitting down afterwards I did feel shaky!

Supposedly I have very fantastic presence (woohoo), a great voice, good inflections, body language and eye contact. They said that the structure could do with a little bit of work and gave me some pointers. I am so happy I didn't crash and burn and have blanks or confused myself or them. So I will do a bit of reworking, some tweaking, some rearranging and will have an amazing speech to present when the actual time comes.

One of the ladies from Toastmasters emailed me the next day saying she thought it was a great speech and if there was some way to become involved in 10thousandgirl with us. Awesome feedback!

I really loved being up there. Maybe I will be giving a keynote speech to an important audience one day. Just like is on my bucket list.

Make it as you wish SSSs!
Arienne xo

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