I did an impromptu speech today. It was my first speech at the Toastmasters’ club meeting and it was made during the segment “Table Topic”. This is the time when toastmasters volunteer to give a short speech on the spot based on the topic given by the person-in-charge of the segment for the week.
This week’s topic was “virtual tour”.
I was the last speaker. I shared my experience on backpacking to San Francisco and Los Angeles. I could feel my heart thumping and my mind going blank fleetingly as my eyes tried to make contact with fellow members.
While I practised what I have learned and that is to have eye contact, I forgot about tracking the time as we were each given a time limit of 2 minutes and 30 seconds. And as I scanned the faces of fellow toastmasters, I saw the “Ah counter” for this meeting, Lynn, recording down on the paper before her. I must have used pause-fillers unconsciously. Indeed, I had – one “uh”, five “um”s and one “yeah”.
Toastmaster of the day, Ramana, quoted a famous saying “A journey of thousand miles begins with a step”. I think this best describes my journey as a toastmaster now. I had shied away from making presentations all these years in school but here I was, mustering enough courage to volunteer a speech and one that was delivered on the spot.
Two weeks ago, I made a quantum leap in my life when I attended the toastmasters’ club meeting. Now, I have just delivered my maiden speech. I look forward to the day when I can have a polished delivery, just like fellow member, Pradeep. He’s really good, not only does he have no pause-fillers, but also changes the tone and volume of his voice as well as the length of pauses for effect and impact.