Boy do I have my fellow Toastmasters fooled! I did speech #3 last night (entitled, “Serious Bike People…According to Dori”….yes, I really can talk about something other than writing! It was kind of a humorous speech on what serious bike people are like…and at the same time I made fun of my own biking habits) and just about everyone commented in the written evaluations about how “at ease” and “comfortable” I looked while I was giving the speech! I had to check all the little evaluation sheets to make sure I didn’t get R.’s evaluations instead of my own (R. is my mentor and she’s been in Toastmasters for quite a while…she gave a speech last night, too). Nope, these were definitely my evaluations.

I’m getting more comfortable giving speeches in front of this group, but I wouldn’t say I’m “at ease.”

My formal evaluator actually suggested I consider representing our club at the humorous speech contest. Uh…that won’t be happening! I joined Toastmasters to improve as a public speaker and to learn to think on my feet. I really have no interest in competing.

I visited the Pro Achievers Toastmasters group in Marshalltown with a couple of friends last weekend, though (even though I don’t want to compete…or do the leadership track…I think I’m hooked on Toastmasters. I look forward to my meetings every week. I really enjoy the people. And I feel like the organization is helping me grow as a speaker). Pro Achievers is a “professional” Toastmasters group for people who want to get hired as speakers. Normally you have to complete the basic manual before you can join this group, but they said that since I’m already earning money as a speaker I can join anytime. I may…it was an interesting group. The meetings are longer than a regular Toastmaster’s group…first they do an hour long educational component (usually given by someone outside Toastmasters – last Saturday’s session was on promoting yourself). Then they have two speeches by members (and they can be LONG speeches…I could actually run my entire school visit presentations by this group). The only drawback is because it’s a long meeting, and it’s in Marshalltown, it takes an entire Saturday. I don’t know if I can commit to one Saturday a month or not.

I met a guy there who’s into magic. He actually had several tricks in his pocket and he pulled them out. I used to do magic tricks when I was in high school…in fact, I did a magic show for one of my little brother’s birthday parties once. This guy really inspired me. When I do school visits, I usually just stand there at the front of the room while the kids file in. Once in a while, if a kid in the front row smiles at me I’ll wander over and strike up a conversation. But most of the time I just stand there.

Well…what if instead of standing there, I go over and do a couple of tricks for some of the kids? Would that be a good idea or a bad idea, I wonder? It’s nice to connect with a few kids before I start my presentation, but what about all the kids who aren’t right in the front? Would they feel left out? J. (the magic guy at Pro Achievers) had a dice trick that kids would LOVE (if I can find it). Maybe what I need to do is find a way to include everyone in the magic as an intro to my presentation?


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