In This Episode
I talk about Toastmasters and how I think it can help me in podcasting. I also share my most recent Toastmasters speech “You’re Better Than You Think” and feedback.
Hosted, produced, mixed, edited & scored by Mark
Welcome to ApexThis.Podcast. A podcast about…podcasting; or rather a chronicle of my journey to start a publishing media podcasting side business? This will be a behind the scenes look at what I’m doing to make that happen. I’ll share tips and best practices that I learned along the way. These tips and best practices will be something that you can use to start your very own podcast and share your voice with the world.
My name is Mark and this is episode 2 “The Toast”.
Toastmasters. If you’ve followed me this far along, you would have heard this word before. What is it?
Toastmasters Internation is a global communication and leadership program. You navigate through a workbook that takes you through various types of speeches to write and perform. You also step into various roles in which you take the ownership, learning invaluable leadership skills.
Don’t worry, the environment in Toastmasters is very supportive. You have mentors that guide you through your speeches. You receive feedback from everyone regarding your speech and you have a specific evaluator that records your overall speech feedback. This feedback tells you what went great, what to watch out for, and what to keep doing. Now, most people are absolutely afraid of performing their speeches, but if you start with Toastmasters, I believe you will build that confidence and it’s in thanks to the supportive environment of your Toastmasters Club.
While sounding a bit like an infomercial, I was not paid nor do I receive any kickback for my statement. It’s a club that I enjoy and one that has improved and refined my public speaking.
Today’s speech is speech #4 “How to say it.” This speech objective is to choose the right words and structure to communicate my ideas clearly and vividly while using rhetorical devices to enhance and emphasize ideas per the handbook.
Speech #4 is, as you guessed, the 4th speech when starting out. There are 10 total speeches in the first workbook, so I have a few more to go to advance to the next level.
My speech that you are about to hear is recorded at home. My goal was to record my speech live, but things had not worked out in that way for this one. Future speeches will be recorded, and you will be witness to all my nervous ticks.
What you will now hear is a 2nd draft of the speech after a full re-write. After the speech, you will hear a recording of my post-speech thoughts and feedback I received.
You’re Better Than You Think
My body was outstretched on the couch and as I slowly came to, I could hear the alarm playing, making me aware that my time to sleep had come to an end. As the house was sound asleep, I crept around, as quiet as a mouse, trying my best to not arouse those who dwelled within. I was soon on the road again having spent 11 hours on it the day prior. This trip was shorter. This trip was to meet my friends for some bicycling fun.
The horns sounded, which signaled that the ride had begun, but we were still getting ready. I took a deep breath recalling that for the past 3 weeks I’ve thought of nothing more than my first experience and how brutal the hills were.
And like that, I was snapped back into reality. Back to the present, with the close of a trunk. We were all ready to go. Our cars were locked. Our sunglasses were fixed to our faces to block the morning sun and I was clipped in. With a start, one pedal stroke beget a 27-mile journey. A journey that did not turn out like I expected.
I found myself pedaling slowly up a hill when I heard “Dude, you’re kicking our ass” – in the distance. I turned and saw two of my friends, mouths agape, struggling along with me as we climbed the hill to the distant top.
We stopped, as agreed, at the halfway point to rest, get water, and refuel. This is where the accolades flooded in. My friends patted me on my back, despite our ragged breathing, and told me how awesome I was doing. There was no place for me to retreat. There was no place to hide. At this moment I found myself unable to enter a mode of self-deprecation. I then slowly began to realize, that this time, unlike last year, I was in the front leading the group. I was cruising alongside my friends as they furiously pedaled to keep pace. I was, in fact, kicking ass.
This break gave me a moment of self-reflection to see how I arrived to this point in time. I remembered that I made a commitment to train every weekend. I recalled how I would push myself each time to be faster; to be stronger. And when I felt that I did ‘OK’ for that stretch of road, I would tell myself “you can do better.”
When I took a step back and looked at what I did to push myself, I smiled. And for that moment, the fear of failure, the perceived ridicule, and deprecation of one’s measure, left. When I looked down, I saw the small steps I’ve made to stand atop this hill. And in the distance lays peaks and valleys that signal the hard work and reward that awaited me, one pedal stroke at a time.
We continued onward. Mentally preparing ourselves for the hill of death. The hill that was on the verge of making us surrender the year before. The hill we shared nightmares of in the days since. From road to neighborhood, the police directed us. We yelled our thanks with bated breath. I picked up speed, shifting into a harder gear so that I could get as much run on the hill as I could and then I saw a school.
It was at this moment that I think we almost cried. Not because the dreaded hill was before us. It was because it was at this precise moment we realized that the course had changed to exclude the hill of death. We crossed the finish line, alive, and with smiles on our faces. And for all the times I kept telling myself how much I sucked at cycling and how slow I was, that hard work was realized by the words of encouragement from my friends, and by knocking 50 minutes off my previous year time.
Thus, I turn to you. If you are like me, don’t become too focused comparing yourself to where others are in their journey. Don’t cower to the unknown guardian that blocks your path. Don’t join the debilitating voice that tells you to not try because if there is one voice that should tell you to go for it, it is yours.
When you wake tomorrow, preparing yourself for the day. I want you to remember one thing. As you stray past the last reflection in your home to join the bustle of the world, look at the person that lives within your mirror and tell them “Don’t Forget To Be Awesome” because you’re better than you think.
And there we are, speech #4. What did you think? Before you tell me, let me share what others said about the speech and my own thoughts. Maybe it matches up to your own.
*Reviews not transcribed*
Thank you for joining me as I rejoin the world of Toastmasters to improve my writing, speaking, and presentation skills to apply to podcasts and storytelling, and I hope that it has sparked an interest in you to check it out. I will include a link in the show notes so that you can find the nearest Toastmasters club to you and become a silent observer and hopefully, a speaker.
Join me in two weeks, as I plot away on something that benefits me… And maybe you too.
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You can check the show notes at ApexThis.com for a link to the show music and anything else that I may have mentioned in this episode.
Until next time.