by Molly Jo Realy @MollyJoRealy

Toastmasters International. It’s an organization I’d been thinking of joining for a few years now. What with the public speaking thingy and the writing thingy and the now-I-work-in-sales thingy, it’s prob’ly not a bad idea to do the train-to-be-a-better-speaker thingy. And maybe stop saying thingy. Yah. Not.

So, you know those times when things keep pointing you in a certain direction? What do you think it means if you’re at a national writers conference and the speaker tells you to get involved with a group like Toastmasters? And then you go to your local writers club and a friend says, “I’ve been thinking of going to Toastmasters. Are you interested?” And then you actually do a public speaking thingy and there you meet two new friends who say, “Hey. We’re in Toastmasters. You should join us.” And then you reconnect with the first friend who says, “Yeah. Still doing the Toastmaster thingy. You wanna come?” Only she’s more refined so in actuality it was more like, “I’m going to another Toastmasters meeting this week. Would you like to join me?”

I think, when all arrows are put in the quiver, it means you’ve got to aim your bow properly. I mean, the mark is obviously right in front of you. It’s time to take the lead and just go where your arrows aim. Oh, hey. Look at that. I tied everything in so neatly and I didn’t even try all that hard.

Frankly, My Dear . . . : Be Your Own Hero

Frankly, My Dear . . . : Be Your Own Hero

So, blah-blah-blah, long story short [TOO LATE!], the puzzle pieces fit, the arrows gathered, I went to Toastmasters this week. Met some people interested in learning to be better public speakers. Met an Italian. Not a my-last-name-is-like-Corleone-and-my-grandparents-were-raised-in-New-York Italian. Oh, no. This was like, a real-life-from-Italy-with-the-accent-and-everything Italian. I can’t wait to start my Rosetta Stone studies and maybe carry on a decent conversation. [Note to self: Rosetta Stone. Bucket List. Do It.]

There are different “roles” assigned to members each week, and even guests are allowed to participate. After chosen members present their speeches, those speeches are evaluated. Then the Table Topics Master chooses a few participants, usually guests, to give an impromptu speech on an assigned subject. He asked if I’d like to do so, I said sure, and I had about fifteen seconds to come up with a one- to two-minute presentation based on Wayne Dyer’s quote, “How other people react to you is your karma. How you react to them is yours.”

Ready? Set? Wait. Can you repeat the answer, Alex? I’ll take sweaty palms for five hundred, please. Nah. Two deep breaths. One diversion question, and I was off and running. In exactly one minute and eighteen seconds [I know because they timed me. Well, not just me. Everyone who spoke.], I suggested the merits of living in a community where it’s our responsibility to share and emulate respect to and from each other, and on days when that just isn’t emotionally possible, it’s best to lock yourself in a room, alone, until such moments pass.

Yeah. It was more eloquent than that. And it was a lot of fun. There’s a bit of an adrenaline kick that triggers just before I start to speak. The tongue goes dry. The heart beats weird. And then HULLO! The light switches on and I go into Public Speaker mode. I use my PS voice and stance.

And when it’s over, I’m like, humunahumunahumuna braindead for about five seconds.

At the end of the evening, the group votes on who was the best member speaker, and who was the best Table Topics Speaker.

I don’t want to brag or anything.

So I’ll just leave this photo here:

Frankly, My Dear . . . : Toastmasters Best Table Topics

Frankly, My Dear . . . : Toastmasters Best Table Topics

What professional groups are you a part of?

And Frankly, My Dear . . . : That’s all she wrote!

How Does Your Character Eat?
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