Some of you may know I’m a member of Toastmasters, a public speaking club. I joined Toastmasters once, years ago, and did some speeches and contributed to the club, but I was really scared of speaking in public so I didn’t volunteer as much as I could have and I never volunteered for Table Topics.
Table Topics is a segment of the Toastmaster’s evening when you volunteer to stand up in front of the room and speak—without knowing what the topic is. It’s supposed to be an exercise that helps people improve their skills at speaking extemporaneously. When I first joined Toastmasters I just thought it was terrifying and why would anyone do it?
Then life changed and I left Toastmasters for years. I rejoined the club in 2013, but with a little bit different attitude. I decided if I was going to join Toastmasters and spend time away from my family, I wasn’t going to waste that time. I started volunteering for more roles and have given a number of prepared speeches.
And, I’ve been volunteering to do Table Topics. The ever-scary, oh-my-goodness-what-are-they-going-to-ask-me-Table Topics!
Last month I volunteered to do a Table Topics speech and I was voted Best Table Topics speaker.
At the next meeting I volunteered to do a Table Topics speech and I tanked. It was awful (from my perspective.) But you know what? I did it and I learned something from the experience.
So the next time I volunteer I might do better. And if I keep volunteering, by this time next year I will definitely do better. And maybe I won’t get so nervous.
Okay, I’ll still get nervous, but I’m going to do it anyway.
What’s scary and yet worth doing to you?