Toastmaster Speech #1 (preparation)

May 31, 2006

I joined Toastmasters a while ago and after accidentally forgetting about my last couple meetings it looks like I'll be giving my first speech tomorrow morning at 9am.  The basic premise of the organization is that it's very cheap to join ($, is volunteer-run, and is all about stepping you through a series of 10 public speeches, each with a different focus, and receiving immediate peer feedback.  After your ten speeches, you become a CTM (Certified Toastmaster), and can move on to more ambitious advanced toastmaster stations such as bronze, silver, and gold toastmaster.

I found the group I'm going to by searching on this page for clubs in my area.  After trying a couple out, I settled on one that seemed regular enough, and had enough advanced members, to invest in for however long it takes to do 10 speeches (I'm guessing about a year perhaps, though I'm going to try to do them as quickly as possible, signing up for the next one as soon as I complete the previous one).

My first speech is called the "Ice breaker" and is a 5-7 minute speech that's pretty open other than that the speech has to be about myself somehow. I think I'm going to do it on the topic of how my answers to the question of "what I want to be" have changed over the course of my life.  There are a couple reasons why I want to do my speech this way:

  1. It's easy.  I'm much more able to talk about what I want to be than I am about who I actually am.  The first is accessible to my consciousness, the latter is not.  Who I actually am is easier determined by friends, family, and people other than myself… so rather than address this topic directly, I can talk about who I want to be, and let the evaluaters come to their own conclusions about who I actually am.
  2. It's a story.  Who I want to be creates a very colorful, yet simple, narrative of my life.  It's easy to explain what kind of drama and self-realizations had to take place for me to move from bug collector to video game tester, and from video game tester to genetic biologist, and from genetic biologist to painter, etc.  They are easy, but core stories in my personal narrative.
  3. It's informative.  I think about it a lot.  Few things take up more mental energy and time than the daydreams of our ambitions.  Few things have roots so deep that they can inform us on our own personal prejudices, biases, pet peeves, opinions, and ethical behavior than explaining who we want to be and why.

Well, I can say all of this because I haven't actually written out the story yet.  And my last weekend was a complete whilrwind of amazement that has my personal ambitions inflated to the size of giant parade balloons.  I'm going to record the speech and podcast it hopefully.  But first, I have to write it.


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