Yikes–Out of my comfort zone

steve speaking

A few days ago, I encouraged you to not be afraid. I told you to try something new.

Well this past week, I put my money where my mouth is.

On Wednesday I attended a weekly meeting for Toastmasters. It is my desire to become a better public speaker, not great but better. I have never thought of myself as a bad public speaker. In fact when I have a chance to prepare for a speech, I often felt like I have done a pretty decent job. But on the other hand, when I have to give a spontaneous speech or even have someone ask what is a good credit score

me a question after my speech, I am like a deer in the headlights. I honestly wonder if I could remember my phone number when put on the spot.

So a friend of mine encouraged me to attend Toastmasters. So at 7am on Wednesday, I was seated at a U-shaped set of tables along with 13 other individuals. The Toastmasters schedule consisted of several prepared speeches and then a section called table talk. This is the section that all members are supposed to participate. Table talk consists of a person going to the front of the room and then a designated person assigning them a random question. The participant then speaks on the subject for 2-2.5 minutes.

I watched 12 people go up front and receive a new question and do a pretty decent job speaking for the required time frame. One thing I forgot to mention is that every time the speaker said “Um” or paused another club member would ding a bell. The table topics coordinator then asked if I as a first time guest would like to participate. I then reasoned in my head that I might as well give it a go because this was the reason to attend the meeting anyway.

I strolled up front and was given my table topic question, “Do you believe in coincidence or systemization.” First of all, I had no idea what systemization was. The next thought through my head was, so much for giving the new guy an easy question. Why couldn’t the question have been baseball or running related? Do you believe in the designated hitter or would you bunt with runners at first and third in the bottom of the ninth down by one run. How about a question like, “How often do you rotate your running shoes?”

To make matters worse, the “Um” bell was ringing like a fire alarm. I then proceeded to stumble my way through the next 2 minutes.

After the meeting everyone came up and was extremely positive. They all could relate to my situation and encouraged me to continue coming to the meetings. I was thinking the rest of the meeting that I am not sure I want to go through that again. But you know what, I need improve and it was a healthy situation to keep trying, so I am going to head back again next week.

Is there something you need to try but are nervous to get started? Please share with me and we can commiserate.