Monday, March 24, 2008

A new way of talking...

.

...in front of groups.

Today I had an interesting experience. One that I've been looking forward to (and somewhat dreading) for a while. At my work, personal, educational, and professional growth is a plus - and pretty much a requirement if you want to be promoted. Recently, a few of our managers have shown interest in a public speaking group called Toastmasters. After getting authorization, they set out to create a new chapter of Toastmasters, primarily for those who are employees where I work, but not limited to it. An email introducing the concept and inviting employees to a kick-off meeting was sent in early February. I happily replied.

Okay, so what is Toastmasters? While I don't know all the details, it is a group aimed at gathering individuals who like to become better at (and possibly overcome the fear of) public speaking. The group is very organized with officers like the "ah" counter and grammar official.

Today was our first meeting - our kick-off event. Today, I became a charter member - well, I still have to turn in my information sheet (we ran out of time). The meetings are structured, there is an aim to learn and improve, and its an all out good time.

While completely nervous, I went out on a limb to volunteer to do an impromptu speech. I had two minutes to talk about passion. So, what did I ramble on about for 1 minute 55 seconds according to the person timing our speeches? Blogs! I said that it is a new passion of mine. I should have said sharing my experiences and life with others using the internet. This is more truthful, since I only just started this blog but I've been on other sites like Friendster, Flickr, Windows Live Spaces, Yahoo! 360, LiveJournal, YouTube, and so on. I love this internet craze to reach out to people you don't know and somehow connect. I love reading others' experiences. I love seeing how much talent (whether useful or not) is out there. It is amazing how much the people in this world open up their hearts and souls for others to read, watch, hear, and experience. Immersing myself in this culture, while slow, has been awesome. I can share my little, almost mundane experiences with my cousins and other family halfway around the world. They can see pictures of my son growing up and I can see pictures of them. The internet has giving us a less expensive means of communicating and reaching out to one another - despite being half a world away. Wow, I wish I said that in my speech - too bad it was only two minutes and impromptu. Anyway, enough about blogging. If you're reading this you are either one of the very privileged (or should I say, cursed?) people I've shared this with or you've accidently stumbled upon it while searching around for interesting blogs to read. And if you are the latter, reading about the art of blogging and how wonderful it is will undoubtedly lead you astray to the next uninteresting blog you may stumble upon. For those of you with whom I've shared this blog with, it may just be one entry you could do without. Either way, you've gotten to this point and made your decision - either keep reading or wish you never laid eyes upon this site.

Well, I forgot to use the word plethora in my speech. Apparently, the grammar checker person does more than check your grammar usage in your speech. And if she were reading this, she might have a thing or two to say. The grammar checker (I cannot remember the official title of this role) also comes up with the word of the day. Today's word: plethora. It means abundant, plentiful, many. If possible, it is wise to use this word. It isn't a requirement, but using it always gets you extra brownie points. The "ah" checker will count (and click out loud using a pet training clicker) every time you have a pointless "ah", "um", "and", "so", etc. Apparently, I did very well. I was the closest within the prescribed time limit. But as far as interestingness and structure go, I wasn't quite up there.

Our most notable speech was given by our only speaker (the impromptu speeches don't count). He did an icebreaker speech. It is a three to five minute speech introducing yourself to the audience. Our speaker was amazing. He turned his fairly average, unexciting life into something the whole audience became immersed in. His sense of humor gave his speech pizazz. He knew how to make his audience laugh and give them time to let laugh it out. He had structure and he had the ability to capture his audience. It was absolutely phenomenal.

At the meeting's conclusion, I myself concluded that continuing this journey of public speaking would be a great one. I can learn much about myself, as well as others within the group. We can better ourselves and help each other to become better. I like the idea of growing and learning. This experience will be enriching and I cannot wait until next time.

For more information on Toastmasters, please visit: www.toastmasters.org.

To be continued...

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About This Blog

My name is Mary and I'm a working mom with two beautiful children. I've worked for over seven years at a credit union, currently as an administrative assistant. Last fall, I went back to school and started on a Bachelors in Liberal Arts with an emphasis in Elementary Education.

My hobbies, when I have time, include photography, sewing, photo processing, digital scrapbook, online gaming, reading, role playing games like DnD, and board games. But what I really love doing is just being a mom to my two children, Tristan and Melayna.

Tristan, whois four, is an awesome big brother and such an intelligent little boy. He loves Transformers, animals, Dr. Seuss books, and eating.

Melayna, who is one and a half, has definitely taught her momma patience. Unlike her easy going brother, she is curious and persistent. And if something stands in her way, she will definitely let you know her displeasure. Regardless, she is a sweetheart and daddy's little girl.
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