The Shyness Project

Impromptu Speeches- Table Topics

3rd Night of Toastmasters (6-22-11)

Guess who just gave an impromptu speech?  This girl!

On this night of Toastmasters each person picked for Table Topics had to go up to the podium and draw a piece of paper out of a jar.  Each paper had a few lines from a song on it and the speaker would have to make up a speech out of it on the spot.  I averted my eyes at first to avoid getting called on, but eventually gave in after I saw several others do it, including my dad.

My dad got a song lyric about dying and started it off by saying “I’ve never thought about dying much.”  He went on to talk about how everyone dies eventually, but he knows that he has a good daughter who will make him proud and already has.  He talked about how my mom’s parents aren’t doing well right now and are in the hospital, and all his talk of death made me tear up a little.  I thought “great, now I’m going to be all emotional before it’s my turn to speak.”  He spoke some more of me and said that I’m very smart, hard-working, and compassionate, and that he knows that I’m going to do some great things in the world and make a difference.

My dad and I have more of a relationship where we do more things together like tennis and softball but don’t talk much, so it was touching to hear him tell everyone how proud of me he is and how he thinks a lot of me.

When my name was called (gulp), I got up and shook the Table Topics Leader’s hand and reached into the jar for a piece of paper.  The first one I pulled out was Spanish lyrics from “La Bamba”, which didn’t trigger anything in me so I returned it exclaiming that it was written in Spanish which got some chuckles.

I reached in again and got a lyric that had to do with a poor boy and drugs or something, so I put that back and reached again.  I then got one about falling in love and put that back…

I could feel the apprehension in the room as I rejected lyric after lyric.  I began to panic and realized that the others were probably getting fed up with me and that I was wasting time.

Luckily, I pulled out one lyric supposedly from something like “dreaming on a river” that had a line about dreams.  I figured that was good enough and I could come up with some sort of speech about that on the spot.

I read it over once more as I approached the podium.  I then looked up, and greeted everyone with “Fellow Toastmasters.”  I read the portion of the lyric I was given, which was 4 or 5 lines maybe.  At first I was just reading it but then realized what I was doing and made sure to look up.

I talked about how this song lyric reminded me of how I am undecided about my major and career path.  I pulled everything out of my head that came to me while standing up there before the group.  I talked about how I wanted to do something that I was passionate about and don’t want just another job.   I told them how two of the careers I’m considering are occupational therapy and international business.     I expressed how I feel conflicted in whether to devote my time helping the people in poorer countries through volunteer work only or if I should try and incorporate that into my job as well.

I believe I used some ums, ahs, and spoke a little fast at times and didn’t sustain eye contact with each individual as long as I would have liked to have, and I basically repeated one of the things I said when talking about passion and making a difference.

After I finished, I paused, and said the typical closing “Fellow Toastmasters”.  Everyone clapped and I sat back down in my seat, feeling a little embarrassed because I didn’t think I did that great.  I did feel like I was just talking to them rather than giving a “speech” though, so at least I didn’t feel too nervous up at the podium.

At the end of the meeting the Toastmaster made a special announcement that my dad and I did an excellent job and said “let’s hear it for their first time up at the podium!” Everyone applauded and beamed at us, and I blushed and smiled, appreciating the support.

At the evaluation for the winner of table topics, Marcy won (who I voted for too), though somehow my dad and I got a lot of votes too and it was close!  I thought that was crazy, how would people vote for me when I’m up against so many amazing speakers?  The evaluator told me I did a great job to my surprise (I was nervous for the evaluations even) and only had a couple of “so’s” apparently though I thought I did more than that.  He said I did an outstanding job for a new member.  After the meeting was adjourned, Marcy complimented me and said I looked so relaxed and comfortable up at the podium giving the speech.  I was delightfully surprised and said really?  I told her that I was glad it came off that way because I thought I did really bad and was nervous for it.  She said I did excellent.  She was interested by the fact that I want to make a difference and that I’m interested in two very different paths like occupational therapy and international business.  She told me that she wishes she had done more research before deciding on a field.

Larry told me I did a really good job and I told him that I didn’t think I had the best organization but he said he thought it was very well organized and that he thought it was great how I turned a line into a speech about college and careers.  He said he voted for me!

Rebecca came over and talked to me a while about careers and majors and how it’s best to explore and take different classes too.

It was a great success, and it wasn’t so bad speaking in front of the group, especially now that I feel I’m among friends.  I volunteered to lead the Table Topics discussion for the following week, and everyone smiled and seemed happy that I was jumping right in already.  My dad volunteered to be the jokemaster too after he saw that I was going to do something.

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10 thoughts on “Impromptu Speeches- Table Topics

  1. Yay! I’m so proud of you….that sounded difficult and I don’t think I could have thought up anything on La Bamba either….Good job! 🙂

  2. I like the “La Bamba” comment… Ingenious of you!

    I clapped for you too! Applause coming from the East Coast! 🙂

    • Haha thanks yeah I originally didn’t mean it to be heard by everyone but I guess when you’re up at the front of the room your voice travels more and others heard it.

      Thank you thank you! 🙂

  3. I haven’t known you long, Brittany, but I’m actually proud of you!
    Well done.

  4. International business major..I think it sounds fun and challenging.

    • Yeah I’m all over the place, I’m definitely going to take different classes and see what I like the best. I’m signed up for “International Relations” in the Fall, and hopefully that will give me a good idea of what I think of that, and then I can take an International Business course. 🙂

  5. Cheryl on said:

    Good job, Brittany! That is so awesome! 🙂

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