By Krishna Mahesh Thacker
Winning speech for BVTMC Chapter Meeting on Thursday, 3 September 2020
Pathways Manual, L1P1 – Ice Breaker
Mr. Toastmaster, Fellow Toastmasters and Welcome Guests, a very good evening to you.
So, today is my first speech. When I started preparing for it, one thing that I kept hearing was that since this is my introductory speech, I should say things that are interesting about me that would captivate the audience.
This threw me in a bit of a hole. I was like Ha! What is it about me that could possibly interest all or even some of you? The resounding answer I got to that was ‘nothing’ – unless I share things that might not be right for this platform. Like I or most of us do not look at the mirror and think, ha! I am such an interesting person and people should know stuff about me. I find the idea of talking about myself awkward and I used that as an excuse to procrastinate until my mentor and chief mentor conspired to wake me up from this slumber by sending me a polite message which basically meant that – dude if you don’t do this, we will throw you out. I am like okay, I have to think of something now so here is what I thought I will do.
I will tell you a short story about an incident in my life which is linked to why I decided to join toastmasters.
This goes back about 20 years. I was around 17-18 or so (and now you know how old I am!) and I joined a group like this where we’d meet every week to do community related stuff, some meditations, debates, speeches etc. I was pretty okay with normal speaking so my group in one of their weaker moments where they showed a complete and collective lack of judgement, thought that I should represent our group in that public speaking tournament and I in my youth and naivety agreed. I prepared, I wrote down the speech – I edited and re-edited and I rehearsed too. Come the game day, I think you know where this is headed. I took the whole script with me and started off well but right at the turn of the second page, I paused and looked at the audience and then I forgot where I was and then I fumbled to find the next point and then I went into the panic mode, I said, thank you and left. Full credit to the audience, they were not mean at all but instead just confused at the first and sympathetic later, but I was of course embarrassed and relieved at the same time that it was over. I decided and told myself that hey this public speaking thing is not really for me and perhaps I should be way more experienced and knowledgeable about a subject before I step a foot on the stage. And I better don’t embarrass myself and others like this again. So, I thought that was the beginning and end of my public speaking journey and life moved on – just fine.
Between then and now, a lot of things happened (mostly good and some as or perhaps more embarrassing) and those stories are for another day but my current job requires me to do a bit of public speaking. Now, with 2 decades of experience in dodging embarrassing situations, and grey hair, I have not had yet another disaster like the one I had 20 years ago but I also think that I can and need to do a lot better on so many fronts like how to establish a connection with the audience in such a short span of time, how to modulate my voice, how pace my speech and several other things.
So, that is what brings me here! I feel like I am part of the right group and do hope I can get better at these things and that my subsequent speeches get less and less boring! Thank you for your time and attention.