6/9/16- 11:52 pm
So some of you may know of my fear of public speaking. I’m glad to say that I’ve been making great strides in overcoming it- or, at the very least, getting comfortable with being terrified!
Tomorrow morning, at 6:45 a.m., I will be attending my very first Toastmasters meeting! Toastmasters is an international organization with local chapters across the globe. Its mission is to help people hone their public speaking skills and become more effective orators. Some people go join Toastmasters simply because they enjoy public speaking! For many others, Toastmasters is a means of getting over fear of public speaking through repeated practice. I’ve thought about joining Toastmasters for the longest time, since the advent of my social anxiety, nearly two years ago. But I’ve never been able to muster up the courage to go to a meeting until today.
Am I nervous? A little bit, but that’s expected. But definitely not as nervous as I was before taking the public speaking class last summer. Progress, people, PROGRESS! I will be sure to let you guys know how tomorrow morning goes!
Well, I did it guys! I survived my very first Toastmasters meeting, marking my first step of the long road ahead towards becoming a seasoned orator. The meeting itself started bright and early at 6:45 am, scheduled meticulously down to the minute. What I like about the meeting is that it gives every member the chance to practice speaking in public, whether it is delivering a speech, engaging in impromptu table topics, or evaluating others’ speeches. Every time one speaks, one must up in front of everybody. A little intimidating, but definitely good training. All of the members in the chapter I attended were adults. Some were already very experienced speakers, but many others were beginners. The great thing about Toastmasters is that it gives such people the opportunity to practice in a safe, low-stakes environment, where it is okay to be afraid and make mistakes.
I actually had the opportunity of introducing myself to the 10 or so members! When offered the chance to speak, I walked up to the podium, a little bit nervous, and told everyone my name, age, educational background, and why I decided to join Toastmasters. The members were impressed at my audacity of getting up in front of everyone to speak- they said that no one ever stands up at the podium the very first day! So in the end, I felt very proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone.
I highly recommend joining Toastmasters, whether you a seasoned speaker or fresh newbie. This is not only a chance for you to tackle your fear of public speaking head-on, but also to hear and learn from people of various backgrounds! Within my chapter alone, we have an actress, opera singer, CEO, and many other gifted individuals. Toastmasters is a place where you can challenge yourself, both personally and intellectually. So, I highly encourage you all to check it out- it is an international organization, so you can literally find chapters all over the globe.
I know the idea of weekly public speaking can be scary for many. It took me about two years to muster up the courage to go to a Toastmasters meeting, and now that I finally went, I wish I had done it sooner!
Woody Allen once said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” Don’t worry if you are not the best speaker when you first start. After all, the first time you do something is the worst you’ll be at it. Don’t let the fear of failure hinder you from pursuing something incredibly fulfilling. Who knows? Maybe you will discover a hidden passion for oration! You’ll never know, however, unless you take that first scary step. Ask any member of Toastmasters, and they will tell you that joining the organization was one of the best decisions they’ve every made.
I’m excited to keep you guys posted on my public speaking journey. And remember that I am the same girl who, two years ago, was afraid to raise her hand in class to ask to go to the bathroom. If I can take gather courage to overcome my fear, then anyone can.