This is my fifth Toastmasters speech and my second attempt at speaking without memorizing several paragraphs of text. I put together a general layout for my speech beforehand, sketching out brief points and reviewing them over and over until I felt confident I understood the general path I wanted to take while speaking, but this style of speech delivery is much more difficult for me to land than what I was doing before.
I started attending Toastmasters to lay the groundwork for future opportunities in leadership and management. Psychologically I enjoy the idea of speaking and performing in front of a crowd, but whenever the opportunity arises a little thing called Stage Fright steps in to dominate my performance. My voice shakes, my face gets red, I speak too fast, I gulp down a ball of tension in my throat and feel like I can’t breathe. I want to be there, I want to be sharing my perspective and opinions with the audience, and it frustrates me to see how my nervous delivery clouds the absorption of my message.
I thought about trashing this recording – it’s painful for me to watch. I hope that it stands as a benchmark to mark improvement over time. I think it’s important to find ways to lay our foibles bare in a deliberate manner, because the internet is far too full of perfectionism and oblivion that make it seem as though we’re all existing between the two extremes. I’ve also grown to love Toastmasters over the last few months, and if you’ve considered attending but don’t feel “ready” you can watch this and see that all skill levels are welcomed and embraced.
Most of all I hope you can see past the shaking voice and rapid delivery to listen to my argument and form an opinion of your own regarding the policing of female speech habits/patterns. I’d love to have you share your own experiences with this on the Living Absolutely Facebook page.