Table Topics Contest…

Last night I participated in a table topics contest at OMNI Toastmasters. Table topics are short impromptu speeches (two minutes in length). The topic for the contest was predetermined by the contest master, but not known to anyone until read to the 1st contestant.

There were seven of us involved in this contest; we drew numbers for our order, I was number five. The first contestant remained in the room, while the remaining six of us were escorted to a holding area; you see the topic is unknown to the contestants until their turn as well.  Not realizing that two minutes speeches and one minute judging goes so quickly, my turn had arrived before I knew it!  I was escorted back in to the main meeting room, took a swig of my water and was introduced, given the topic…”If I had the power to improve this country I would…”  Wow, a two-minute speech on a topic that can be inflammatory and controversial, how was I going to pull this off?  Although I didn’t win or place, I feel that I performed well, I caught myself using ‘um’s’, realized didn’t move and kept my hands behind my back the entire time.  I did however notice the timing indicators and I hit the mark I was aiming for (green light 1′, yellow 1’30”, red 2′ and beyond), I concluded on yellow.  I felt good when I was done, and happy that I made it through okay, knowing bigger and better things are to come.

The rest of the evening was an International Speech Contest and accomplished members gave prepared 5-7 minutes speeches.  We heard about “Found Treasures”, “Defining Moments”, “Courage” and “Perspective”.  I was impressed with all the enthusiasm and excitement of the event.

Embarking on this, I feel like entering 10th grade oral communications or a similar course in college, but this opportunity is not required or mandatory, for me it is an opportunity for myself and become a better communicator, a better listener and grow as a leader.


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