Conquer the Fear
I have always had the enthusiasm to talk to any stranger on the street, but plant me in front of a crowd – that is a different story. As the amount of people in a room increase, my confidence would decrease. I had always admired a person who could speak to a room fearlessly. It was a skill I longed to enhance.
If you are like me, facing fear is one heck of a motivator. It is a natural high that I just cannot get enough of. What better way to conquer this fear than a world-leading public speaking and leadership organization? Toastmasters was the perfect opportunity to begin my public speaking journey… who knew it would wind up becoming one of the best hours of my week.
The Overspill of Benefits
A year in and my phobia of public speaking in crowds had significantly subsided. It is not gone, but I don’t expect it ever will be. As a fellow member of Toastmasters has taught me, “practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes improvement.” However, I do know the sweat on the palms of my hands has subsided, my voice has become not nearly as shaky and the fear has morphed more suitably into excitement.
“We have found speech training to be a means, or an instrumentality, by which we have made great gains – unforeseen gains – in our capacity to live and serve. Some of these unexpected gains have proved to be more valuable than the speech ability which was the primary incentive.” – Ralph Smedley (founder of Toastmasters International)
Initially I had joined Toastmasters for one reason, but conquering the fear was only one of the many benefits I have come away with. I have gained most importantly a group of like-minded individuals on the road to self-improvement. Whether there is a member presenting their first or last speech in their manual, I learn something significant from each individual. New interests, further words and phrases, finer writing skills, successful habits, how to walk a room with poise, how to lead and delegate, how to listen.. the benefits are endless.
Happy 90th Anniversary, Toastmasters!
This year marks the 90th anniversary for Toastmasters. 90 years of creating extraordinary leaders. 90 years of building confidence. 90 years of the collaboration of remarkable people. 90 years of making the world a better place. If you have not already checked out a meeting, I would encourage you to do so. Visit the Toastmasters website to find a chapter near you. You won’t regret it.