Karina Quiñonez: “Check my Toastmasters experience”
Public speaking is a skill I want to develop. I consider myself an introvert person. However, being on stage is something I enjoy.
This summer, Walter, my husband, attended a Toastmasters meeting, as he was also looking for an improvement in his communication skills. When he came back, he told me: “You should go there, this is something for you”.
I attended as an observer and I loved it!
Even though there was a lot info going around, I liked the atmosphere, the people and foremost the energy. I spent two months as a “visitor”, learning from others and enjoying every speech. Then, I decided to become a member and take it seriously. During my first meeting as official member, I inscribed myself for the first speech. I had two weeks to prepare it.
The Ice Breaker
The idea is to start the journey with an “easy” topic, talking about yourself. I wanted to introduce myself by telling a story, so I chose one of my favorites: The Guy in “El Chapiteau”.
The content was the easy part, I had already the script, but I had to put it in the context of Toastmasters, this was not my wedding party speech. In addition, I had to keep the time, you have between 4 and 6 minutes to speak.
D-day had come, full-house @ De Finale and even new guests to make it more interesting. I was the second one in the program. The first speech was super well done and my hands were sweating and cold. The presenter called me and there I was…
One of my fears was to say my opening sentence and forget the rest, but when I started and looked at their faces, in one second, the fact of having non-relatives nor friends in front of me, became my advantage: “This is only a story… My story… I own the content”. And from that moment, I focused my energy on making an interesting story instead of trying not to forget it.
I enjoyed it a lot, I could feel the mystery in the air, I saw some faces trying to guess the end and following the story.
I finished on-time! I came back to my chair and I started to shake, now I’m nervous…
I love Toastmasters, everybody is there to improve their communication skills and have benefits at professional level, but we don’t realize that we become better persons first. The professional part is only a side effect.
Well, if you get to this point, you deserve to see the proof. Check it out and give me your feedback!