The Shyness Project

Bringing the Story Game to Table Topics

4th night of Toastmasters  (6-29-11)

On this night of Toastmasters, I was the table topics leader.

My dad kicked off the meeting with two jokes.  He told a golf one and used his arms and gestures to make the joke more animated.  He didn’t look at any notes and I was impressed considering he told me he hadn’t practiced much.  Then the wordmaster explained the word of the evening, languid, and then my name was called to lead the table topics.

I felt nervous the moment I entered the building, and even more nervous as it got closer and closer to my time to stand up before the group and give my little introductory speech.

But I smiled, shook Marcy’s hand, and stood at the podium.  I started off by saying I hoped this wouldn’t be a languid table topics discussion, which got some chuckles.

I said what I had planned to say without looking at my notes, I smiled, I used my arms, and even leveled my voice a little.  The big smiles of my fellow toastmasters put me at ease and comforted me.  Beforehand I had tried to imagine this going well and people enjoying my table topics, and I think that helped.  I practiced in front of the mirror quite a bit too, and once in front of my mom before I left.

I explained what the purpose of table topics is (to practice impromptu speaking) and introduced my topic.  I told them how earlier in the summer I had gone camping and was introduced to a game my friends called “the story game.”  I explained how it worked in detail and summarized it once more to make it as understandable as I could. (*Basically, you’re given three words selected by the audience and have to make up a story using them.)  I then called Houston up to be the first speaker.  She did a great job as she always does.  I then called up another person, one by one, until I had pretty much called on a majority of the group.  If people weren’t called on to speak I at least included them by asking for the three word suggestions for the speakers to use, which got everyone involved during the 15 minute segment.

After each speaker spoke, I led the applause, shook hands with them, picked another person, and asked the audience for three more words.  Everyone really got into it and they all did wonderful.  Some stories made the group roar with laughter and I felt like everyone was really enjoying themselves.

Afterward during the break and at the end of the meeting, I was told that I did an excellent job and that I looked very comfortable up at the podium already.  I received big smiles and Larry (our new president) told the group that was a very innovative table topics, and that he’d never seen anything like that done before.  (Wow!)  He said it was a lot of fun and it involved everyone in the group.  Others told me that they thought that table topics was a lot of fun too, and I was happy to hear that.  I didn’t even know if I should use it for a table topics or not because I didn’t know if telling stories would count as practicing impromptu speeches, but I’m glad I went for it anyway.  I was very happy with myself afterward, and I volunteered to be the jokemaster for the following week.

My dad and I were made official members this night too.  We were presented with a toastmasters pin, card, and certificate.  Everyone had to approve our joining and they all clapped for us at the end.  Several said “Welcome, new members”, with a smile.  I am now an official Toastmaster!

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15 thoughts on “Bringing the Story Game to Table Topics

  1. Cheryl on said:

    Congratulations, Brittany! That is awesome!! 🙂 What a great game, and what a great way to break the ice in a new situation, too! Good for you!

  2. You sound like you’re finding your stride already in the toastmasters group. Think it’s a great fit for you and you’re acquiring skills that will benefit you for a lifetime. Would love to see you facilitate that in person. I’m sure your dad is proud and is enjoying watching his daughter in action.

    • Yep I’m actually enjoying it! I think this is the biggest step I’ve taken so far and I’m noticing some changes already. Even the idea of public speaking is less frightening now, amazingly enough Toastmasters makes it seem doable and not so bad. I think my dad and I are both proud of each other, because this is something neither of us is naturally comfortable with! But we’re doing well. 🙂

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  4. Wow! You have come so far! Great job! You sound like a natural! 🙂

  5. Does being an official Toastmaster make it more likely that people will turn to you at weddings and expect you to give an awesome toast?

    • Haha I suppose the name implies that! It was funny, our Sergeant at Arms was joking about how we like to boost ourselves up in Toastmasters by following each of our titles with Master! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by The Good Gatsby! (not the great ay?)

  6. Way to go, Brittany! Don’t let the power go to our head!

  7. wow I am very impressed with you efforts. I was very shy and then picked a career where I just had to be outgoing – I just used to focus on others and getting them to talk about themselves and what they thought and tied everything together in a summary at the end. I liked your idea of 3 words sharing game.

    I wondered if you knew this blog by Susan Cain…Quiet the Power of the Introvert…I think I have it correct. She has written a book that will come out the end of the year. Her blog is fascinating and she has just finished discussing the difference between shyness and introversion. Fascinating.

    Thank you for you kind words on my blog.

    I am writing today about a young woman taking on her juvenile diabetes – her story and video are up and a woman at a meeting I was at tonight said she would give a $1 for every visitor who read the post between now and Sunday night the 17th of July. It is over on Patricias Wisdom

    • Thank you Patricia! 🙂 I’m glad you didn’t let shyness interfere with your career choice, that’s something I don’t want it to interfere with too! It’s good that your career has helped your personal growth and has helped you focus on others. And I’m glad that the game worked out, I was hoping it would be a manageable one for everyone and would be an easier one! It certainly left a lot of room for creativity, which I think is good.

      Yes I’ve been reading a lot of her posts and comments lately, I think that might have even been where I discovered your blog. I’ve noticed that a lot of the people who write to her are introverts so I find that I can relate to many of the commenters. She has a really good blog and I am planning on reading her book too!

      Of course, and thank you as well for writing to me! I really do appreciate it! I hope I see you around more on this blogging world!

      On my way to read it right now! Good luck to her!

      • Thank you for coming over and supporting Lianna – she is quite an inspiration to us all.
        And thank you for you lovely reply….and comment…Susan Cain’s site is quite wonderful and she has referred me to several other books one written by a fellow within my profession who has made quite a success of his work career and still is an introvert.

        Gracious knowledgeable women that Susan!

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