By Mary K Spencer
“This question’s for you,” Table Topics Master said.
I closed my eyes and lowered my head.
Couldn’t he ask someone else instead?
My body tensed with instant dread.
“When have you practiced FAITH OVER FEAR?”
“Oh, that’s easy,” I said with a cheer.
“It’s happening now, it’s happening here,
ever since I joined Toastmasters last year.”
Public speaking caused me terror.
I was always afraid that I’d make a huge error.
But since I’ve learned some tricks of the trade,
some of those fears are starting to fade.
Peace and serenity can be within reach.
My faith became stronger after my first speech.
With positive feedback, my confidence grew.
Here’s my personal story, I’ll share it with you.
My first Toastmaster meeting was an open house.
I came alone , without my spouse.
Not really sure what I thought I’d find,
I joined that night. “Had I lost my mind?”
I had little faith, but plenty of fear!
Could I manage to speak without drinking a beer?
Could I face the crowd without shedding a tear?
What in the world was I doing here?
I stressed myself out with each role that I played.
You’d think it was a test and I was getting a grade.
Pages and pages and pages of notes,
and that was just practice for counting the votes!
I enjoy my role when I serve as the greeter.
I like to meet people, what could be sweeter?
CLE can be a bit much,
but Invocation has a really nice touch.
Grammarian words are not used everyday.
They improve our vocabulary, or so they say.
I learn to think quickly on my feet.
To add in the word without missing a beat.
Wizards are known for casting a spell.
Our wizard of ahs merely rings a bell.
Now that’s a role I can handle well!
Camera operation takes technical skill.
For that role I take an anxiety pill.
Technology skills are foreign to me.
When it comes to mechanics, I’m ADD.
The timer’s role you’d think would be easy.
But sometimes it makes me a little queasy.
I find myself in a bit of a plight
because sometimes I forget to turn on the light.
Geez, can’t I get anything right?
When the Table Topics Master calls on me,
I lose all sense of spontaneity.
Seems I always have a great suggestion.
Unfortunately it’s someone else’s question
My answers are always clever and fun,
When I finally think of them, my turn is done.
The joke master role is my favorite of all.
I’ve been telling jokes since I was 3 feet tall.
The joke can be corny or just be a pun.
Doesn’t matter to me, I think they’re all fun.
The Toastmaster role I thought would be rough.
But the evaluations are a lot more tough.
I need more time to write things down.
My notes are disorganized and scattered around.
It takes me time to gather my thoughts.
When it’s time to speak, I’m all distraught.
I look for the positives in people I see.
Constructive criticism is hard for me.
But I learn from the Masters as I hear them critique.
I’m slowly finding some areas to tweak.
My icebreaker speech made me a nervous wreck.
Now, I ‘m chilled out and think “oh, what he heck?”
At the beginning I was really scared.
Now, I find, I’m much more prepared.
I tried to memorize every line.
Now I use que cards, they work out just fine.
I’d memorize phrases and sip some wine.
Now I drink coffee, guess that’s a good sign.
I’d stand on the stage, my feet flat on the ground.
Now I’m comfortable walking around.
I learned to use gestures and facial expressions.
Not always sure they make the right impressions.
I’ll practice them more at my therapy sessions.
I started out just wanting to run.
Now I’m really having fun.
Thanks to my colleagues, they’re patient and kind.
Without their support I’d have lost my mind.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t have far to go,
but that, I’m sure, they already know.