Despite the primal fears of most adults (yes, I know I’m generalising), I love speaking in front of an audience and am not afraid to do so.
However, I must admit, my comfort didn’t happen naturally. Laughed at and ridiculed at school because I couldn’t pronounce the word ‘specific’*, I know I withdrew into a shell and stopped raising my hand when the teacher asked for volunteers to read out loud. I was 14 years old and felt like I’d lost my voice.
Anyway, enough of that story. I’ll keep the rest for another time. Before I continue though, today marks the fifth day I’ve tried to finish writing this post. I AM determined I will finish it today even though this operating one-handed isn’t so easy.
– ⋅ o ♥ o ⋅ –
So moving right along. Quite by accident, I ended up in adult education, firstly teaching IT in a private college, then moving on to a role as the in-house trainer assigned to the IT department of a large (global) engineering company.
This was better than an acting gig.
I didn’t have to audition for parts, had a steady income, and got to perform in front of a captive audience every day. (I’d lock the doors to my training room and wouldn’t let them out. Ha, ha!)
I loved teaching old dogs new tricks – pardon the pun – but it is an accurate analogy when it came to teaching Microsoft Office to other staff members – adults of all ages already set in their ways, albeit, not all of them ‘old dogs’. Adults learn differently to children and, to prove the value or worth of an application’s functionality, sharing stories drawn from my own experience (more accurately my failures) became my unique training method.
At least I like to think that made my training sessions unique. But this also gave me a voice and an opportunity to build my own self-confidence. And build it I did and suddenly speaking in front of an audience – captive or otherwise – wasn’t a scary task.
Enter Toastmasters and the amazing journey of self-development and growth I’ve been on over the last seven years. I’d like to believe I’ve eradicated filler words from my vocabulary, even though I’ll admit there are a few times when the odd ‘um’ or ‘ah’ escape from my mouth.
I’d like to believe I’ve learnt a lot about leadership and helped others along the way.
I’d also like to believe I’ve been able to learn speech development and apply this to messages I craft into speeches and share at meetings or when competing in speech contests. This year I have been fortunate enough to represent my club at the area level, and then represent my area at the division level.
The division contests were held this past weekend at a local tourist attraction – The Sunshine Castle – and on Saturday evening we were asked to ‘dress up’. What’s a girl to do but visit a fancy dress costume hire business and get decked out?
That lovely gown and headdress won me ‘the best dressed’. Personally, I think it was hiding my plastered arm that won the judges over, but I don’t care if it did, I won a contest I didn’t even know I was competing in.
Sunday morning though, my real contest was on.
I was so disappointed that I was sporting a plastered limb as this meant a quick re-write to incorporate my broken arm into my speech. Not a wise move just before a competition.
Thankfully, I had 10 days to make and fine tune those changes, and I was thrilled to be the first place getter. I am now the proud owner of the title 2018 Central Division Humorous Speech Champion.
From here, I now go on to represent Central Division at the District level in April.
This is the highest level for the humorous speech contest. I have made it to this level before – in 2014 when I placed third – but this time I have a more powerful speech, one that is better constructed, and full of wonderful humour.
I’ll let you know how I get on. But please don’t tell me to ‘break a leg’.
A quick update on my arm.
Tuesday I had my appointment at the Fracture clinic and had it reset. That’s right – reset! The bone was misaligned, they removed the (original) half cast, applied new plaster, then pulled the bone into place while the plaster was setting.
A few tears later, ok, lots of tears later, I had a lovely purple fibreglass coating applied as well as sprinkles of fairy dust to make it (nay, me) feel better.
Another x-ray showed everything was as it should be, and I was sent home to let it heal. I have one more appointment next week just to make sure the bone hasn’t moved again, and then, I’m guessing, another three weeks and I’ll be plaster free.
All photos were stolen from Facebook friends during the production of this post, but thankfully no more bones were broken.
In response to the Sandbox Writing Challenge #7 – What Makes You Shine
* My efforts at pronouncing ‘specific’ resulted in “spes-a-fic” being forced from my tongue.