The following is the (short) speech I presented at my Toastmasters Club to wrap-up, and complete my Toastmasters assignment – Write a Compelling Blog. If you’d like to read all the posts I published for this assignment, I recommend starting with the first one – What Toastmasters Taught Me About Gardening – and working forward from there.
All eight posts follow each other, with the exception of a photo I had to publish between the second and the third posts. (The reasons I did so will be obvious when you see what the photo is.)
And so, here is the speech I presented to conclude everything I thought about over a six week period.
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When I approached my mentor about selecting Write a Compelling Blog for my Level Four project, I was concerned doing so would be regarded as “cheating” because I’ve been writing a personal blog for six years.
I was pleased my mentor didn’t see it that way, but she challenged me to compare Toastmasters with Gardening, to examine the lessons one has taught me about the other.
Easy enough for a ‘crazy plant lady’, but I quickly discovered those lessons were not confined to my garden, and I began looking elsewhere, eventually writing about Diplomacy, Teamwork, Friendship, Variety, Mentoring and Family. I even scrutinised why Toastmasters are encouraged to try, try again.
But I also thought it was important to include something personal I’d learnt about myself, and it was that last post that had an unforeseen effect on me as I chose to demonstrate why I believe I’m an Excellent Storyteller.
For that post, I plucked a painful incident from my past and examined how another person’s actions influenced my life. This story was honest, and raw, and writing it dragged to the surface painful memories that had me sobbing over the sincerity of my sentences.
At one point, I considered writing something else.
But that little voice in the back of my head kept telling me the purpose of the project was to be compelling. That also means to be enthralling and captivating, and I knew this story ticked all those boxes.
As I struggled to persuade myself to keep going, my youngest daughter came to my rescue.
I can’t thank you enough for being my mummy, she told me, handing me all the positives that flowed into my life and gift-wrapping the inspiration I needed to finish what I started.
I published the last of eight blog post on the second of April, taking a little over the four weeks recommended time frame.
But I’m glad I put more thought into this project and approached it the way I did.
Doing so allowed me to reflect on my own personal journey, to carefully consider what Toastmasters has taught me over the last nine years, and to appreciate where and how those valuable lessons influence other aspects of my life.
If you’re contemplating this project, I highly recommend it.
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I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed this assignment because Write a Compelling Blog was more than simply writing ‘something’ to publish on my blog. I hope when next I’m selecting a Level 4 project for another Toastmasters Pathway, it will provide me with as much opportunity to reflect and consider the journey I’ve been on.