It’s the Will not the Skill
Dear Toastmasters (TM) and Guest Readers. Tell me how would you feel if you end up making fool of yourself by talking in a room full of people straight for 2 minutes and you know you are doing so and you don’t have a choice because choosing not to talk is equal to failing to attempt [leave your comments below because I really want to know].
At this time I am a member of the Mulund Toastmasters Club and on 29th Feb 2020 a leap day to remember. We had an education session by guest speaker TM Subramanyam who is a table topics expert who also happens to conduct the table topic for the day. He began with the 20 minutes knowledge session which was by far the best education session I had attended for the 1st time. I felt someone gave me the road map to create great speech’s weather it’s prepared or impromptu. Now the table topic session for the day was to began, we were being informed that it will be mocked to replicate the contest, let me explain the difference below:
Table Topic Session in General:
The table topic master (TTM) (a role that a member agrees to play in the meeting) will call for raise of hand by members and guests in the audience, then call one individual at a time on the stage allow them to pick a topic and let them speak between 1 to 2 minutes on the chosen topic.
Table Topic Session on 29th Feb 2020:
A raise of hand was requested by the audience, eight names were picked but the twist was all the eight participants will speak on the same topic and while one speaker attempts the speech others will stay away for the venue until their attempt.
Seven of us left the room while we waited our turn to speak. All of us had different experiences. I was extremely nervous and some felt relieved not having to listen to their competitor and some were not sure how they felt. The moment arrived when I was called to speak I went on the stage TM Subramanyam said the topic twice as suppose to be and both the time I could not understand the 2nd half what I heard was “It’s the will not the Kill” I knew this is not heading the right direction because a speaker is not allowed to ask to clarify. TM Subramanyam in his session had given examples of speakers who heard the topic wrong and spoke on it, some who even won. I paused longer than usual but I had to make a choice. I choose to speak and ramble for under 2 minutes. One cannot imagine what I spoke and how embarrassing it was, until I spoke to one of the participants who experienced the same and went on to speak about “Where there is a will there’s a way”. You will have to agree his assumption of topic was way better so his error did not stand out. The funny part is when the topic was given to each speaker who came after me I could clearly hear the topic which amazed me. I started thinking how my nervousness brain almost blurred the 2nd half of the topic which I could clearly hear when I was not in the spotlight.
I knew it was not the best speech but the best part was this experience introduced me to one of my weaknesses which is inadequate listening skill when nervous. Hence going forward I will participate in every possible contest until I overcome my weakness. I wish and encourage you to use this as an example in the journey of being great speakers. Because I Will!
Good Luck and FAIL with confidence!