People always seem impressed that I go on my random trips… sleep in my car, go to hostels, blah blah blah.
But to be honest, it isn’t that big of a deal to me.
I really love to learn… and putting myself in those situations helps me do that. Even sleeping in my car, I get to listen to the conversations of passer-bys as I sit in my car. The stuff you hear in a Wal-Mart parking lot can bequite fascinating.
Actually, Eben Pagan said in the Altitude DVDs that every once in a while, he’ll just drive to the local Wal-Mart and sit in the parking lot for a few hours… just to kind of get back to “reality”. I mean, the guy runs a multi-million dollar business… he’s not exactly “normal”. And to be able to still appeal to his customer avatar, he can’t lose touch.
So anyway – I think sleeping in the car is a good thing. And constantly putting myself in new situations can only help my writing.
Because of this, not much scares me.
Except for public speaking.
I don’t know why, I think it’s because when I used to be much heavier, I hated the attention on me.
One-on-one with one or two people, I’m fine. Ask me to talk in front of a group though, and I am NOT a fan. Even in my masterminds with friends… I’ll email everyone ideas until the cows come home, but I don’t want to be talking.
So in the spirit of pushing myself out of my comfort zone, I joined Toastmaster’s. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a nonprofit club where people go and learn how to publicly speak better.
Every meeting, there are 4 people who have a prepared speech. Once they deliver it, they get on-the-spot feedback from every single member, as well as an established evaluator who really goes into extra detail.
If you’re not doing a prepared speech, you have to do extemporaneous speaking. You’ll randomly be called on and have to talk, off the cuff, for a full 1-3 minutes on ANY kind of topic. You never know what’s going to be thrown at you.
I kid you not – the first time I had to do this, I had tears in my eyes. I was freaking out. I don’t think anyone knew what I was talking about. I don’t think *I* did.
Even when I got back to my seat, my hands were shaking for at least another 10 minutes.
(Side note: they say more people are afraid of public speaking than death.)
But anyway, I went back a few times…and although I’m still nervous to speak, I’m 437643x more confident than that first time.
It’s really quite awesome. I originally went there just to push my comfort level, but there are so many side benefits. Learning how to speak succinctly, improve communication, leadership, confidence…
And even though I have a love/hate relationship with it, Toastmaster’s is the best night of my week, hands down. I have more fun there than when I do belly dancing, core fusion, or even if I go out with friends. It’s just such an INCREDIBLE experience. The adrenaline that comes with doing something that scares me and conquering it… I love it.
So anyway… I have my first prepared speech next week, and I’m psyched. :)
0 thoughts on “An ode to Toastmaster’s…”
I have thought about doing this too. I know some people scoff at Toastmasters and the business world treats it like adult day care; but a lot of successful business people have done Toastmasters. It’s a great way to be pushed out of your bubble.
At least I will keep telling myself that until I work up the courage to do it.
Grr I thought I responded to these!!
John – People there are SO supportive, you’ll have nothing to worry about. And you can always go as a guest first and decide if it’s right for you. :)
Bruce – Props from you mean a lot, so thank you. :)
Andrew – As you know – won Best Speech 2 out of 3 times now, YEAH!! =)
And Justin – I MISS YOU and we need to mastermind like yesterday!
I just joined TMs and love it. Miss you! Looking forward to partying again!
Toastmasters is awesome. I made myself join a long time ago because I knew I needed it… not because I wanted too.
The days I had to speak, I would be anxious all day long. I couldn’t even eat. But it got better and I got better.
Remember the words of Bob Dylan, “God don’t give us points for doing stuff we ain’t afraid to do.”
Way to go.
speech #1: ice breaker ?
how’d it go, gurl?
Wow that’s inspirational! I’m thinking about joining toastmaster too, but scared people going to laugh at me or just don’t understand me.
Well I’m originally from a small town, Camas, straight across the Columbia River from Portland, OR. And I’ll probably be moving back there in August.
But I’m living an hour and a half north of Seattle right now. I travel through there all the time though, shoot me an email and let me know when you’ll be there. I’ll let you know if I’ll be around.
Lexie – You should do it too! Seriously, it’s SUCH a liberating feeling to conquer a fear. DO IT!! :)
Andrew – Thank you very much for the encouragement. :) I agree with you, a prepared speech is 436x easier than the Table Topics. I’m so looking forward to it. :)
Stephen – haha… nice. ;) Side note, I know you’re in the NW, but I forget what city. I’m going to be in Seattle in May… but you don’t live there, do you? You’re in Oregon, right? I don’t know why I forgot. Grr, I checked my PMs too, but couldn’t find it.
Gregg – $&*# I suck! I thought nothing was respond-able when I read it the first time… turns out I haven’t learned how to read yet. ;)
(Or maybe I just have an aversion to people from the Philly area now that I’m in L.A. :))
Rachel, you’re a goof ball. Just sayin’! And you’re hard to get hold of, too. Check your email, woman!
Nice Rachel. Well done. I’ve been thinking about making a list of important things I don’t want to do and then doing them… but right now I don’t want to.
Kudos to you, Rachel, for confronting a challenge outside your comfort zone, and conquering it.
If you can handle Table Topics without fainting, then the prepared speech should be a piece of cake for you. Good luck on your first speech. May it be the first successful speech of many to come.
Good for you Rachel … your a bigger person than me. I hate public speaking as well :P
Good luck with your prepared speech and let us know how it goes.