by Angela Chapes – Manhattan Toastmasters, Member #07855147
District 22, Division T, Area 13, Club #2570 – Manhattan Toastmasters – Established 01 Sept 1957
I have been in Toastmasters five months and it has been a really good experience for me. Toastmaster’s is allowing me to become more confident and challenges me at the same time.
Shed Mayberry and Maslyn Prosper-Mayberry are great mentors and leaders in District 22. They encourage me. They also encourage others who are in Toastmasters. Shed always listens. Masyln always makes time for me. They have made it possible for me and others to be in this group. They just want others to succeed. The first time I came to the group I was welcomed with open arms. Since then I have found Toastmasters to be a comfortable family atmosphere. Toastmasters are my friends.
Shed and Masyln are the mission statement. They provide a supportive and positive learning experience. Under their wing I have developed confidence and leadership skills. I am showing much more confidence at work. I went to a mental health recovery conference where I actually met and talked to people. At previous conferences, I went and never said a word or met anyone. Maslyn has been my main mentor and she has told me I am mentoring her which is nice to hear. I am told I am what Toastmasters is all about. I am a Toastmasters student who is learning new skills.
I have given three speeches and my common critique is that I need to slow down and take a breath. This is changing my life. I am working hard to improve. It may take me twenty speeches to accomplish that. I know I can do it because I am encouraged by Shed and Maslyn. I often work with Masyln and she always gives me pointers on how to get better. She points out that I need to talk from my diaphragm, talk slowly by using different colors of highlighters for my speech. Take a breath and use note cards. She shows me how to speak. It can be hard to apply that to my speech when I am in the moment. Little by little I am getting better. She has also told me that this is not do or die. I am going to keep working hard with her wise words.
Being an Evaluator for speakers has been really tough for me. I have been struggling at it. Just like my speeches I need to slow down and take a breath. During my last evaluation there were sound issues with zoom and so it was hard to hear. When it came time for my evaluation of the speaker I had written very little and didn’t know what to say. I tripped over my words. I was at a loss for words at the same time. I felt like I was stupid and after that I called Shed. Shed encouraged me. I learned that if something happens like that again, I can read what I wrote down. I don’t have to worry about timing or that people will laugh of me because of hiccups. I can also message somebody like Shed if I need to. Toastmasters are positive learning environment and everybody is there to support me. I am there to support everybody else, too. The positive feedback that I have received from evaluations is that I listen and take good notes.
I have taken on roles such as timer, general evaluator, table topics, reading the mission statement, thought of the day, grammarian and evaluator. I like to volunteer for roles because it helps with growth.
I have liked coming up with table topics to ask to people because it is always fun to see how others would answer the questions. I also like to answer the table topic questions because it challenges me to think on my feet and come up and answer right away. This has helped me when I am stomped for words. I am sure when I answer more topics in the future that problem I have will keep getting better and better. It also lets my personality shine because I am funnier than I thought I was.
Another role that I think is challenging is the time keeper. It is hard to pay attention to someone speaking and time their speech. With more practice I shall achieve being able to time and listen to someone at the same time.
One role I would like to do in the future is being Toastmaster of the day. I have been hesitant to do that because it to me is a big job. I just have to remember what Shed tells others is to follow the agenda and it will be just fine. I also have to remember if I mess up it is fine nobody is going to make fun of me or laugh at me. This is about doing it and learning from it with Shed and Masyln behind me. Other members are behind me too.
I am glad I am in Toastmasters International because it is preparing me for my future endeavors. I am enjoying it a lot. I never thought I would say that about public speaking. That’s because it’s Toastmasters International which is a positive influence. The people who are involved are inspiring.