I vaguely remember what I studied in the first year of college, however I do remember how it felt to be there in the year 2012.
Being a shy and a submissive person, I was often told that since I was not good at studies, I need to work harder to ‘make my career’.
I was a 19 year old girl when I first visited a Toastmasters club. Knowing that ‘Public speaking’ often caused fear amongst people, I sensed that my fear was slightly lesser than most of the people out there.
After a month of continuously running away from the idea of joining the club, I was made to register as a member by my sister. The scariest moment for me had to be when I was asked to come on the stage and give an impromptu speech for a minute. I ran away in the funniest ways possible, by figuring out excuses to not go to the club. Some days, I said I had a stomach pain and some other days, a headache. While my sister regularly attended all meetings every Friday, I comfortably chose to stay back home, feeling relieved to have escaped the horror of ‘Impromptu Table Topics Round’, but also feeling feeling unsettled and unsure of the choice I made.
However, it was one of those days when my sister and I together headed to the club. I think she was the Emcee that evening. As we reached, I started to sense a great bonding amongst the people present there. They had a unique charm to them as they gracefully greeted me. I was overwhelmed by their welcoming gestures, and I could very well remember this from the first meeting itself. I thought to myself, perhaps I am missing out on the opportunities of being here and experiencing a friendly exchange like this, and so I decided to head there another Friday.
The old, the young, the suited men and women, the homemakers, the middle aged ones, I met them all under one roof. Never in my life, had I ever witnessed a diversity like this come together at one place, and be so accepting and encouraging.
I gave my first speech ever that summer, where I introduced myself to the audience. Despite the video link not being available with me, I remember I had sung ‘Dream On’ at the end of my speech. Since that day, I have never looked back. My journey in Toastmasters continued as I gave speech after speech, took up roles of emcee, and went on to evaluate other speeches.
Toastmasters not only taught me the various aspects of public speaking, but surprisingly guided me on how to be a better person. I turned a good listener, a better speaker, and a thoughtful person. And so did other members. A lady member who had gone through a divorce began to make sense of things around her, and transformed into a tough, yet cheerful person. A university professor who had conquered his life and overcome the challenges he faced being visually impaired, was looked upon as one of the best speakers, and awarded for his exceptionally amazing speaking skills in the club as well as internationally.
The voices inside us may have at one point, been suppressed by a person, a thing, or even an experience. To me, Toastmasters was the platform where I voiced my opinions and thoughts, told my audience how my Parents have nurtured me and made me who I am today, shared some serious facts about Acid attacks, and also persuaded my audience to practice self love.
Toastmasters really did help turn things around for me. I hope that my experience helps you to get yourself out of your comfort zone, do things that you love and choose happiness!
Hi, my name is Bhavana and I love to meet people, have new experiences and share them with you! Join in and get ‘Happening to be Happy’!