New Picture

New member Louise Paton receives the Evaluation Contest runner up’s certificate from Club President Stuart Byfield at Toastmasters Inverness

About a year ago, I was asked to deliver a presentation at work.

I had no problem researching the info and putting a PowerPoint together but, when it came to delivering it, I started to become increasingly nervous.

Altogether, I delivered the presentation 3 times and every time it was torturous.

No one attending the presentations realised I was so nervous but, to me, it felt awful.

After that, I developed an issue about speaking even to the point that I did not want to talk in meetings. This fear of speaking was crippling my career and self- confidence.

I researched techniques to overcome my phobia and tried hypnosis etc. but I knew the most effective way to overcome any challenge is to just do it.

I googled ‘public speaking groups’ and Toastmasters Inverness came up.

I downloaded Toastmaster magazines and watched a few videos on YouTube and decided to attend a meeting.

As I don’t live in Inverness, travelling to the meeting was a 300 mile round trip, so I had to organise my time off from work around it. I turned up at the club confident that I could sit in the background and watch the meeting and speakers without feeling pressurised into doing anything.

On the night, the member who was carrying out the role of grammarian made me very welcome. She told me of her experiences in Toastmasters and explained how the meeting would unfold.

As the other members arrived, they introduced themselves and made me feel part of the group.

One particular member, Christine, sat beside me and explained all the different roles and befriended me for the evening.

In fact, I felt so safe that I had no nerves when introducing myself, and as the meeting unfolded, I really enjoyed it.

The two main speakers were great and very relaxed.

Everyone joined in Table Topics, and I felt so safe that I volunteered too. I had no nerves and felt absolutely great.

I knew that I would be back.

One of the members took my email address and gave me access to the Inverness Toastmasters website so I could see the agenda for the next meeting as well as links to websites to demonstrate the Ice Breaker speech.

After just one meeting, I gained the confidence to speak up at meetings in work and deliver presentations to my team of thirty.

I think Toastmasters may be one of the best things I’ve ever attended.

Louise joined Toastmasters Inverness a few weeks ago. She still makes a 300 mile round trip to meetings.