I am a trained opera singer (failed).
Once upon a time I was singing in “The Marriage of Figaro” and completely failed to hear the note I was supposed to sing. Needless to say, I lost my opportunity. My lack of faith in myself finally resulted in my giving up singing. It was deeply wounding.
I joined Toastmasters when I was confronted with the need to do interviews about the work I was (and still am doing) around controversial environmental issues. The deeply wounding, embarrassing incident was still haunting me.
Table Topics became my favourite session as it was ideal for that part of my job, which is conducting interviews. Practising table topics enabled me to handle them far better and even managed to handle a difficult interview with Jeremy Maggs. To say that I was terrified in an understatement! Table Topics kept me online and I was able to handle the interview.
On the 9th August, my NPC Earthlife Africa celebrated 30 years of environmental activist. After lunch I was informed that I was to present on the Johansburg Branch. One speaker then spoke for 30 minutes. My colleagues from Durban and Cape Town followed.
Evaluation listening skills clicked in and then Table Topics presentation skills came into my speech. I was told, by a colleague, that she wished my speech had been longer – I did the 5-7 minutes. This is how Toastmasters empowers us!
I might just consider going back to Opera singing….