Yesterday I posted the speech I gave at Rosemasters club last Saturday. As I mentioned there, on Saturday we celebrated the contests of the club.
This is a special occasion every year. Actually, there are two such special occasions in the year. In the spring we celebrate the speech contest and the evaluation contest, while in the fall we celebrate the humorous speech contest and the table topics contest (this last one is about improvisation).
Normally, in weekly meetings, members do not compete. The contrary, the atmosphere is relaxed and inviting you to speak in front of a friendly audience. As the mission of the clubs reads “The mission of a Toastmasters club is to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every individual member has the opportunity to develop oral communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth.”
Nevertheless, some of our members (~5% of them) like to take the opportunity to compete, to prove themselves how they can improve and enjoy facing new and bigger audiences with every upper step of the competition. The competition also puts you an extra point of stress that it’s very good to learn how to handle it.
I have taken part in such contests, and even though I haven’t won, I can tell it’s a wonderful and unique experience. You really prepare and polish your speeches, paying attention to every detail. Then, the day of the contest is for you to enjoy it.
I remember when I competed in Lisbon in April 2009. It was a big auditorium, filled with about 100 people. They offered us to use a micro. I turned down the offer. I thought: “when am I going to have the chance to try if I can project my voice to the last corner of the room? And with such a friendly audience”. When the contest finished, I went to check with a woman sitting at the very back of the room whether she could hear me well. She could. That was my victory for that day.