I went to a Toastmasters meeting today. I have wanted to go to one for a long time, but was a little intimidated. And I didn't have a clear reason to go other than curiosity.
Well, now that I've been doing some public speaking and I'm working on a book (isn't everyone?), I figured that now's a good time to check into it and see if it could help me with my public presence.
I am a rather quiet person in general. But get me in front of a group, or in a situation where I get to make some kind of schpeal, and I'm OFF. blah, blah, blahdiddy blah blah. You can't shut me up. I'll even jump on the table if I gain enough momentum.
Funny enough, I'm hoping Toastmasters will help teach me to SLOW DOWN a little more when I'm talking. And from the speeches I heard today, and talking to the people at the group, I think it just might.
I only get 3 minutes to talk, I'm not supposed to repeat myself, avoid filler words, and leave space between my words and thoughts. So many concepts that I always knew would help me speak, but this practice might help me integrate it all.
I'll be attending again next week. When I sign up, I'll get a package with all the Toastmaster information.
This venture, on the surface, seems somewhat opposite from my spiritual quest - I've spent a lot of time working on my insides, and being in the moment, being quiet while being alone, and when I'm with people, allowing the situation to unfold without feeling the need to control it or direct it. And now, I'm stepping out and placing myself in the middle of this group whose purpose is to practice being "on", and directing the group, at least for the duration of my speech.
But ultimately, these two practices - meditation/spirituality and public speaking - are the same thing. Both focus on being in the now, acceptance, being unattached to the results and helping others. Perhaps it's because I'm learning to put myself into the now and accept things as they are with less expectations that I'm ready to try Toastmasters. I don't think I would have been ready a couple of years ago.
Who knew that I could grow so much in my 30's? I thought that teens and twenties were the time for growing, but I'm finding, that it's always the time. Being awake means non-stop growing.
I LOVE that. And for that reason alone, even if I didn't count all the other benefits, I think Toastmasters will be a good experience for me.
I'm ready. For whatever happens.