Standing in front of the room, that first time, my hands shook, my arms trembled, my whole body quivered. I started to speak and only one word came out at a time, I turned white then red with embarrassment, almost sat down, but the Enumclaw Morning Chapter of Toastmasters offered only comfort and reassurance. They wanted to hear what I had to say.
Little by little, I gained confidence in my speeches. They became easier and easier. The support I received gave me the confidence I needed, and that confidence inspired me forward to greater success.
I began to earn awards, first in short one minute impromptu answers to questions in Toastmasters, then came bigger ones like the competent communicator award for accomplishing my first 10 speeches, the bronze for 10 more, then the silver for yet 10 more than that.
I took on meeting roles, something I was afraid to do at first, but the help of my fellow toastmasters was there. First, I took on small ones such as timing speeches, counting votes, and choosing a word of the day. Then I took on larger meeting roles: evaluating speeches, and even conducting the meeting myself.
As time went on, I pushed my fear aside to take on leadership roles: sergeant at arms, vice president of membership and secretary.
At work I have now been chosen to go speak at the Champion’s Summit 4 Disciplines of Execution, where I get up in front of a corporate audience then speak on how my department has improved over last six months and talk about new goals. What an assurance of capability to someone who started off shaking and white as a sheet.
Toastmaster Club members tell me I am an inspiration to them. I’m glad I can at least give back in that way. I am also able to give back by mentoring others new to Toastmasters with their first speeches and roles in the club.
The possibilities for growth are endless in Toastmasters whether you are a novice or well experienced in your skills as a speaker or a leader, How will you grow this year? Could you become more: a speaker, a leader, a mentee, or a mentor? Life can always change for the better in Enumclaw Morning Toastmasters.
Traie Van Wettering
with Jana Nielsen
Enumclaw Morning Toastmasters invites you to an open house Wed. Feb. 5
7 p.m., and you are always welcome to join us Wednesdays at 7:30 am, at the Green River Community College campus at Griffin Avenue in Enumclaw.