I choke; words deceive me. Palpitation, perspiration, and anxiety overwhelm me. It can’t get better than this!
“You just have to speak for a couple of minutes,” says the Table Topics Master.
“I just can’t! ”
“I will give you a few seconds to think”.
Seconds pass… he encourages me to speak again.
“I am sorry, I am blank”. I blurt out meekly.
“No problem, you may try again next time”.
Enveloped with embarrassment & self-loathe, I wish to run away but remain glued to my chair. I go in a trance until the meeting is finally over, and it strikes again – the anger, the agitation and the extreme low.
“Did I sign up for this”? I ask myself. In desperate need of consolation, I speak to a few senior Toastmasters. “Almost everyone goes through this. It’s a part of the learning journey, so chin up and try again!”, they say.
Another day, another session.
Having taken the role of a Grammarian, I start off confidently and then out of nowhere fear strikes me like a zombie, but I try to remain focused. There’s a voice in my head to keep going & I manage to do so – a saving grace! I promise my evaluator that I will put in more efforts the next time. Will I ever be able to get it right? “Keep trying, you did great! ”
My mates tell me. “Wow! aren’t these people from another planet? . I totally dint deserve the compliment”. I think to myself. Lights, camera, action and show time.There I am (again), heart thudding and palms drenched with sweat – the fireworks!
Taking a deep breath, I continue to smile, and before I know it’s my turn.I have become a bit innovative with my role as a Table Topics Master & play a guessing gamewith the audience to keep it interesting. I am glad to have given it by best shot & been appreciatedfor the newness infused to the role. The General Evaluator appreciates the new twist making me feel ABSOLUTELY ECSTATIC! No, it wasn’t perfect & I did not win the best role player award either, but it was a fantastic start.
A few sessions later, I won the best speaker for my icebreaker and other speeches consecutively!
I finally nailed it or so you would think? But I beg to differ.
I still have a long way to go & fumble each time, wishing to have done better.
But friends, that’s what we are here for at Toastmasters, isn’t it? A platform to make mistakes andlearn from them. You fall, but you rise again – it’s the whole essence of your learning journey!
Remember the famous adage – ‘Never give up! Real winners are those who never quit and quitters never win. The best award is when you are happy, knowing you’ve put your best foot forward!
So, Let’s raise a toast to the Toastmasters and NEVER GIVE UP!