You can go ahead and congratulate me if you want. I don't mind.
I attended the 2009 Area 9 International Speech and Table Topics Contest this morning at CFB Greenwood in the Annapolis Valley. Turns out that there were six contestants for the TT contest. I came in second!
Because there are only 4 Areas in what we call Division D, we are allowed to field two contestants from the Areas at the Division D contest in early May. Division D is all of the clubs in Nova Scotia. The competition will be fierce. I am allowed to participate and I'm gonna do my best.
It occurs to me that many of you reading don't know what the heck Table Topics is, and how much this means to me. I will take a paragraph or two to let you know.
In Toastmasters we do many things to help people control their fear of public speaking. Table topics is one of them. It is a section of a meeting where you are given a topic, and you must improvise an up-to 2 minute talk on that topic, on the spot.
At the contest level, the rules are formalized. It is the same question for each participant. All but the first participant were not allowed in the room. I was the second to go. When it was my turn, I was escorted into the room by the Sergeant At Arms, given the question on a piece of paper, and the Toastmaster read the question to me as well, twice.
Any sign that I am communicating with the audience, even non-verbally, is an indication for the timers to start the stop watch. If you want to take a few seconds to think about the question, you must remain implacable, inscrutable, doing nothing to tip off the timers.
I heard the question, read it over, and started talking.
The question was along the lines of what advice would you give a young person starting out today. I spoke about the mistakes I had made as a young fella and would urge a young person not to do some of those things. "You should always ask your boss two questions each and every day. 1: How high? 2: What colour? "
I went on to say things like you should always do what your boss asks you to do. Dress appropriately. Get the rings out of your nose, your lips, your face.
I summed up by saying, "Do as I say. Don't do as I did."
I got a nice round of applause, went to my seat, sat down, and started breathing again. I thought I had done well, or at least as well as I could have done.
Imagine my surprise when I came in second. The woman who came in first had spoken ahead of me, so I really don't know what she said, but it must have been good.
The next step is the provincials on May 9th. I am looking forward to them. I will be psyched.
If you want to, and are in the Dartmouth area on May 9th, it should not be a problem for you to attend this event. Let me know and I will let the power that be know.
Long day. Going to bed soon.