Accept the challenge and grow

Last night I attended the Area 4 Humorous and Table Topics Competitions, Western Division, Toastmasters’ District 70  (Yes, we’re a big, BIG organization)   It was good to see speakers get up there and take the challenge of competing against their peers.   I’d long had reservations about competitions, feeling they are both good and bad, but now I’m beginning to swing in their favour.  Reason?  They do challenge us to push our parameters of the possible to wider horizons.   We expand our potential through them.

I know that despite my years of speaking to audiences, I still feel the adrenaline increase – and it’s sometimes considerable – when I have to get up there and speak in a Toastmasters competition.  You really do want to come across at your very best, and you know you are being evaluated by people who can give you the ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ – compared with your competitors – as to your effort.   You feel the pressure.

It’s a brave, and probably overly confident man or woman, who does not put in the rehearsal and practice for a Toastmaster competition once you’ve won at the club level.  Speaking before the members of half-a-dozen clubs, then, if you win, thirty-five to forty clubs…and perhaps even getting up to District Level where you’ll be standing in front of an audience of -this year, we are informed – of 850 people, is not something to be taken lightly. 

Quite frankly, I’ve not made it to this last level – but now it is my intention to do so.   This year I’ve made it to Divisional Level and will be competing against seven others on 13th of October.  I’m feeling pretty proud of myself, having made it to Divisional Level for the first time.   Not only that, I’ve done it in a Humorous Competition.  Like so many, I doubted my ability to be funny.   Yet now find that, after a few successes and a fair bit of practice, I can make people laugh.  

My advice to all those who wish to become better speakers: take the challenge.  Stretch yourself.  Get out there and accept the invitations that come along to enter Toastmaster competitions.  It will really improve your confidence, competence and, in time, bring you to excellence.   Be in it!

About Tom Ware

I'm into speaking to audiences. My particular forte is telling stories. Morevover, I've addressed over 750 audiences and in excess of 40,000 people during the past eighteen years - excluding those I've addressed in my Toastmasters clubs. Additionally, I've presented classes to adults on Metaphysics and Spirituality (non sectarian) and Popular Psychology between 2001 and 2008. I'm an avid writer, been at it for forty-five years. Speaking is a passion, of course, as mentioned above. I started in 1972 with Toastmasters. My speciality is Storytelling and some years ago people began to flatter me with the titles: Prince of Storytellers, and Master Storyteller. Also, Tusitala Tom (Tusitala means Storyteller in Polynesian) I am also into 'serious' meditation (Vipassana as taught by S N Goenka) Started that in 1986. Additionally, I'm an Automatic Writing practioner and have been able to 'channel' for over forty years. Bit about me. Born in London UK and migrated to Australia in 1951. Started my first job day after my fifteenth birthday in that year. I've been a postal worker, sailor, aviation air-ground man, overseas telegraph operator. I've worked for an electrical power-supply company, been a truck driver, a foundry labourer, laboratory assistant, a police radio operator, and office worker - even an Antarctic expeditioner. Worked and lived in a number of countries, but am now 'retired' and enjoying life - probably as never before. I've been married - yes to the same woman! - for fifty-three years and have three grown up children and four grandchildren.
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