The two most terrifying words in the English language?
More like exhilarating. For as long as I can remember, public speaking has been my No. 1 passion, somewhere up around there with writing.
This week, I gave my first Toastmasters speech for the Astrodome Area Toastmasters, down the road from The Blood Center. I didn’t have a title, so my evaluator made up a name: “Scoring with Words.” Not sure if that tells too much about the speech, but it’ll work.
So what goes on in a Toastmasters meeting?
You learn to think before you speak, since every um, ah or you know is tracked by the designated Ah Counter/Grammarian.
After the Toastmaster opens the meeting, a speech is given. Then an evaluator stands up and offers constructive criticism. The next section is called Table Topics. You’re given a topic to speak on for two minutes. The time it takes for you to stand up from your chair is the time you have to prepare. Pretty intimidating, but a good challenge. Sometimes you work better under pressure. The group votes on the best table topic speaker. The meeting ends with comments from the general evaluator, who gives her thoughts on the quality of the entire meeting.
How did I do on my speech? High marks for not using notes, not being nervous and using stories to convey who I am. My evaluator suggested I inject more humor and add pauses, since I’m a fast talker.