I witnessed an amazing inspirational speech contest this morning at Tracy Toastmasters. I volunteered to be the emcee, which allowed me to really enjoy the speeches without being a judge or contestant. This contest has been an annual activity and one of the greatest catalysts for growth for me in recent history. I decided not to compete and seek new speaking opportunities for non-profit organizations this year (contact me if you’ve got one.)
Today I watched 5 speakers, all with different ages, backgrounds and speaking experience, express themselves eloquently on a variety of themes. Motivational masterpieces included taking courage from confidence, fixing problems at the root cause, truly being prepared for wilderness adventures, overcoming regrets and surrendering to survive. It was powerful, emotional and very worth waking up for.
Since I have learned so much from the club, contests and other coaches, I have become an elder statesman of sorts in our little town. I enjoy mentoring rookies and veterans alike, and today was a joy to experience my friends reaching a new level in their abilities.
One particular member named Srini joined this club to become a better communicator in his job. When he did his first Table Topic attempt 6 months ago, he will admit he mustered just a couple of quiet sentences and sat down. Today he stood in front of 20 people, delivered a 7-minute motivational speech with no notes, and even looked us in the eye and smiled. I can’t put into words how proud I was to see him do that.
If you haven’t checked out Toastmasters or found the right club to fit you, go looking. It is a safe harbor environment for learning, laughing and making friends, and the formula just works. As I witnessed first-hand today, many people end up surprising themselves and changing their lives for the better. Sometimes it takes a little nudge from a friend to overcome your crisis of confidence, and remind you that you’ve got greatness inside you. Toastmasters doesn’t put “the best” in you, it brings out the best that’s already there.
Got a Toastmaster testimonial of your own? Please share it in the comments below! Click here to see mine (8 min. video)
Like Tracy Toastmasters on Facebook. Visit the club any Friday 7:00-8:30am at Perko’s in Tracy.