As many of you might know, I am a member of Toastmasters International trying my bit at public speaking and honing my leadership skills. It has been close to 6 months now that I am a Toastie and I had this wonderful opportunity last week to take part in a speech contest at my Toastmasters Club.
The Humorous Speech Contest
The contest was ‘Humorous Speech Contest’ and I just took part to get a feel of a contest and of course to have fun and learn. I took almost 2 days to write my speech as it had to be humorous without hurting anyone’s feelings or beliefs. The title of my speech was ‘Secrets of an Indian Woman’.
The day before the contest, I was a little anxious but also wanted to finish off the contest and resume my routine life. Confession time – I am a very competitive person and always prepare to win. One of the reasons I just cannot digest losing. To be very frank, I suck at taking a loss in the right stride. I am working on it and yet I have a long way to go. But sometimes, someone else prepares better than you and you have to accept that and learn from the situation. However this contest I was not expecting to win at all as the other contestants were seasoned Toasties while I was a relatively a novice Toastie, with just 5 speeches old in the Toastmasters journey.
The D Day
The contest had 4 other speakers and we had to draw our numbers before the contest in order to determine the speakers speaking order. The number I got was 5 and I was thinking to myself, “Oh God. I will have to listen to all the good speakers now and then give my speech at the flag end of the meeting. Everyone will be so bored to listen to me after all the good speeches.” Nevertheless I went back to my seat and waited for my turn.
The speeches which happened before me were hilarious and in my mind I had already picked up the winner for the evening. Then was my turn. I always have butterflies in my stomach before I go up on the stage. I went out there and gave my speech. Surprisingly the audience was laughing and I felt a little better.
When the speeches were done and the ballots were being counted, all the participants were called upon the stage and awarded certificate of participation. And I was thinking to myself, “I have at least a certificate for me”.
At the end, results were announced. The second place was announced first and it was not my name, so I was like no hope now. So I was toying with my book and pen and scribbling about my next speech when the winner was announced. I was still scribbling when my neighbor informed me that they announced my name. WHAT? WHEN? WHERE? REALLY? I just could not believe the announcement. I went up there still not being able to digest the fact.
So, I won. I won my first ever contest. But more than winning, do you know what touched my heart? All the participants came to me after the session and congratulated me personally. Patty even gave me a big hug. This was the biggest compliment. And I wondered to myself if I could have done this, being so generous and went out and congratulated the winner. I might have won the contest but the real winners were the other contestants who have learnt the art of growing beyond disappointment and whole heartedly wishing good for the winner! I have so much to learn and assimilate!
Wish me luck as I get ready to represent my Club at the next level coming month!