Life has a wonderful way of offering surprises to us when we are open to them. As I was heading out to meet a dear old friend from Chinese school on Monday, I had a very random thought about my big brother come through and I felt it was rather odd. It was a Monday, it was not the 19th, the date that he passed away. I had no triggers to set me off emotionally. I wondered with curiosity why I had this rather random thought come through. I received my answer that evening just before I was about to hit my pillow.

I received an email from Toastmasters, asking me if I am ready to deliver my third prepared speech the following evening, as a member had cancelled their scheduled slot. I grabbed the opportunity with both hands and felt so excited! This was the second time that I had taken this sort of opportunity from Toastmasters. My original speech slot was scheduled for two weeks time. I thought to myself, “woo hoo, I am going to achieve my goal earlier than planned so let’s go for it Kit”!

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I had little practice for this third speech and knew without a doubt that I would need to use flashcards to deliver my speech. I had planned on getting an A4 sized photo of my big brother as a visual aid yet I had no time now. I used two small photographs of big brother instead and planned to have them passed around the audience. I knew that this would distract their attention from my speech yet it was no problem.  I knew some of my fellow Toastmasters would pick up on these two “areas for improvement” for this speech. Yet why focus on what the issues are when they are not important to me? My goal was to deliver the speech with or without flashcards and to complete this third speech.

Tuesday morning came with so much excitement even though I was feeling exhausted from a disturbed sleep and pms. Work was very challenging that day as I had stripped and made thirteen beds plus completing a number of other tasks. By the end of my shift at work, I was ready for a sleep!

I came home to get into the shower to revitalise myself and washed my hair. After drying my hair, I rested in bed for 45 minutes to recharge.  I then prepared my flashcard, grabbed a quick dinner and practiced my speech TWICE!

Now it was time to head into my Toastmasters meeting to rock the stage because it has my name on it!

I stayed calm and collected during my journey on the bus as I listened to meditation music.

I took my seat at the front left row at Toastmasters next to Pip. I felt my mouth was dry as the room was rather stuffy.

My speech was scheduled to be delivered after an Icebreaker speech by Pip. After Pip’s speech I was feeling the nerves getting the better of me so I used my deep breathing to remain calm.  I closed my eyes to centre myself and used affirmations to set me up for confidence.

That stage was mine for the next seven minutes after our Toastmaster for the evening,  Neil, introduced me to the floor.

I thoroughly enjoy my presence on stage at Toastmasters and I always get feedback from my Toastmasters who tell me that I am very confident on stage.

The next seven minutes had me flowing rather well with my speech. I did feel nervous at some point which is understandable and I used all the techniques I knew to stay calm and confident.

All eyes were on me and my audience looked rather emotional and shocked at times from my personal story about losing my big brother to a very sudden death. They were engrossed and I certainly had them engaged with my stage presence. The use of flashcards did not distract me from keeping eye contact with my audience even though the objective of this speech was to strive to speak without notes.

I was feeling very comfortable with using my flashcards and had no care in the world what my audience thought. My goal was to deliver this speech and engage my audience. I achieved my objectives and rocked the stage. I felt so much lighter after talking about my emotions on such a major life experience. It felt like I was in group therapy!  It was essential and vital for my recovery and healing as suggested by my therapist Rebecca. I am ever so grateful for her sound advice.

The feedback I received from each of my fellow Toastmasters was so encouraging, supportive and inspiring. One particular member wrote in his written evaluation of my speech as “a very engaging speech with strong and valuable message for the audience. It is because of speeches like this that I come to Toastmasters. Well done”!

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There is always  areas for improvement in everything we do yet focusing on perfection is off balance to what we want to achieve.

Focus on the goals and objectives. Perfection to me robs us of achieving our goals.

 

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