Scaling New Heights with Toastmasters

by  September 6, 2016

My inability to say “no” led me there. It was the place I feared the most – a room full of people, all eyes on me, making a presentation to an audience of my peers.

So, how did I get there?

I had been approached by The Home Builders and Remodelers Association, of which I have been a member since the late 1980s. They had asked me to present a topic of my choosing – one that would promote my business and educate the members.

Caught off-guard, I’d said, “Sure. I’d love to.”

The words came out of my mouth so fast, it was as if I was possessed.

“Who said that?” I asked myself. “How did that just happen? What was I thinking? Now what?”

Panic began to set in. “Breathe in, breath out, 1, 2, 3…….breathe.” I had to remind myself of this over and over just to keep from passing out.  Thanks to Toastmasters, I’m ready to take on all kinds of exciting new challenges. I can feel the fear, and do it anyway.

After years of anxiety about public speaking, suddenly, there I was, facing my fear head on.

I didn’t know how I would pull it off, but I had made a promise, so I had to make it work. Little did I know, as soon as I’d committed, the Law of Attraction already had been set into motion.

Not long after, a friend of mine called to tell me that Toastmasters was starting a new club in town. She wanted to go. Perfect timing. Toastmasters was exactly what I needed, when I needed it. The universe had delivered for me.

The support was amazing. I found camaraderie with others who shared similar goals and fears. I practiced public speaking, received constructive criticism, and watched videotapes that helped me recognize and control my nervous movements. Through the Toastmasters experience, I began to build confidence and overcome my life-long fear of public speaking.

Today, two and a half years later, not only did I make it through that first presentation to the Home Builders Association, but I’ve also have given scores of other speeches: four tax conferences; the QuickBooks Boot Camp Series at the Granite State College Technology Center; the New Hampshire Tax and Accounting Professionals; a panel discussion in New Orleans at the Scaling New Heights conference; and the Successful Implementations at Scaling New Heights at Atlantis in the Bahamas earlier this year.

None of this would have been possible without Toastmasters. While I still get butterflies before standing in front of an audience, now, instead of panicking, I feel a positive sense of excitement and confidence, which complements my newly acquired public speaking skills.

I actually feel like I know what I’m doing. I’m more confident in everything I do, from client and employee interactions, to presentations at board of directors meetings. Thanks to Toastmasters, I’m ready to take on all kinds of exciting new challenges. I can feel the fear, and do it anyway.