I recently wrote about Toastmasters and how I had taken on my first major role in a meeting as the General Evaluator.
Yesterday I took on another major role: The Ice Breaker.
The Ice Breaker is the first prepared talk to “break the ice.” It’s supposed to be the easiest because it is about the person you know the best, yourself.
Funny thing is everything I talked about I am comfortable telling anyone one on one or in a small group. But standing in front of a crowd of people who are all looking at you and listening to you … well, that’s another story.
I hate the anxiety I feel right before and during public speaking. And I want to find ways to be more comfortable in those situations. That’s why I joined Toastmasters.
Public speaking is considered the greatest fear a person can have, even greater than the fear of death.
Challenging myself to get out of my comfort zone takes a lot of convincing. But I know it is important. Toastmasters is a great venue for this. The support is amazing. And I have to say I ended up with an awesome mentor. He is so enthusiastic and supportive and encourages me.
I am also trying to learn to focus my anxiety and fear into a more positive experience.
Fear and excitement have a nearly identical physiological response and chemical reaction in the body. According to Ann McMaster fear and excitement are the same emotion.
According to Catherine Hanrahan, who wrote Lost Girls and Love Hotels, “Fear and excitement are chemically the same. Sadness is a hair away from melancholy. Melancholy is almost pleasure, brushing against happiness. …”
Yesterday I faced my fear and gave my Ice Breaker. I was as prepared as possible. I wore something that I felt good in and, frankly, looked good in, which helped boost my confidence. The dress I wore is my favorite color and coincidentally matched my toe nail polish. Not intentional. But the matching dress and toes received a lot of compliments.
I was so nervous while up there. My legs were shaking and eventually I had cotton mouth. But I got through it and received two standing ovations. For your first speech you receive a standing ovation. The Toastmaster asked the audience to give me a second one as the event was a little bigger than normal and I was the only speaker (usually there are two).
And the best part, well, besides facing my fear, Go Fit Girl! got a major plug during my speech. Afterward I got a ton of praise. Someone (who was visiting from another Toastmasters) told me they would have never known it was my first time speaking at Toastmasters. I had so many questions about GFG!, too.