Maiden Speech

I have delivered my maiden prepared speech.

I joined the Toastmasters’ club two months ago and today I made another progress – though modest – in my Toastmaster journey. I delivered a prepared speech – my first.

I did not count the number of times I practised but it shouldn’t be fewer than 50, especially in the beginning when it became a little addictive.

During practice, I became more alive to the problem I always have and that is, when I speak fast, my diction would not be clear.

When I was practising, I was not nervous at all. I even imagined talking to a room of people with faces I could recall from the past meetings.

I paused and stressed at parts of my speech where I thought it was necessary to highlight. And I tried to inject some humour into my speech so that it would tickle a member or two. I reminded myself to look at the imaginary members too, scanning their faces from time to time.

Alas, it was perfect while I was practising. However, when I was on the way to the meeting, nervousness gripped me. For unknown reasons, I began to tense up and I could feel myself getting slightly breathless.

I was the third speaker. I couldn’t focus on what the speakers before and after me were saying as nervousness had made me tuned out.

When it was my turn, I only remembered I was still conscious of what I was talking when I did my opening. But thereafter I didn’t remember a thing or if I had left out any part which resulted in my evaluator Ms Puspita Roy for commenting that I needed to improve my transition. She was very encouraging though and so were other members.

I still feel that I am very raw and green in public speaking. I would need a lot of practices to work on my nerves and diction.

I was so stressed out that I didn’t go to the washroom despite drinking two bottles of water. After the meeting, I felt so drained.