I recently joined Sudbury Toastmasters

I've thought about joining for a while and finally made the decision in June.

Toastmasters is a wonderfully positive group of people who meet on a weekly basis.

Joining the group helps you develop self confidence, public speaking and communication skills.

I did my first ice breaker speech last week. I just winged it.

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I remember the first time I spoke in front of a crowd. I was in grade five or six.

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I'm in the front row, third from left and Brian is far left in the back row.

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I'm in the front row fourth from the right and Brian is in the back row far left.

During English class, we were all asked to read a paragraph from a story book in front of everyone. No problem. I spoke clearly. I enjoy reading. It was just my classmates.

The next thing I knew I was one of two to be chosen to recite a poem in front of an auditorium full of adults. It was some sort of competition for students from schools everywhere. I don't know where everywhere was but all I know is that I didn't want to do it.

I wasn’t given a choice, neither was my classmate Brian who was also chosen to compete.

Several times a week, we were both pulled out of class. We practised our speeches in the nurse's room as long as it wasn't occupied by a sick person.

Neither one of us wanted to do it. We thought of different ways we could get out of it. We even told the teachers we didn't want to do it. We were told if we didn't do it that they would be 'very disappointed'. In other words we had to do it.

The big day came and my dad came to pick me up at school. I didn't even write it down on the calendar so I forgot. I just wore my regular school clothes. No one reminded me. It's too bad my dad didn't forget about it himself.

So my dad drove me to this place in St. Catharines.

I felt out of place.

All the girls were dressed up in what looked like fancy bridesmaid dresses and the guys wore nice suits.

Here I was not dressed up and not ready to recite a poem I found impossible to memorize. We were not allowed to have notes.

My dad and I sat in the audience and watched the others compete.

I heard my name being called.

I got on stage and totally forgot everything. It was the longest two minutes of my life. The lady sitting at the end of the stage had to feed me my lines. Ugh. I couldn’t wait for it to be over.

They gave me a very low mark. I totally blew it. The teachers made sure when I went to school the next day to tell me how 'disappointed' they were that none of the students from our school won.

I didn’t really care.

It would have been nice to have wanted to do it. That makes all the difference.

So here I am, many years later trying to get the hang of it.

If anyone is interested in coming to check out Toastmasters, you are welcome to join me as a guest. Just give me a call or send me a message. We meet every Wednesday at noon at the Parkside Centre.

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On occasion, we meet at an alternate location like Memorial Park or Framagerie Elgin.

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Toastmasters is a warm and friendly atmosphere.

There are several groups in the City so if you would like to go to one with a day or time that suits you better.

You can check out our facebook page Sudbury Noon Hour Toastmasters Club

For more information go to

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