As a young ling, I abhorred the very thought of public speaking. The notion alone was enough to trigger my “fight or flight response.” I would sweat, shake, and get nervous. Consequently, I avoided any situations involving public speaking.

Eventually, I was forced to overcome that fear when I became involved with my fraternity, Omega Xi Delta. In a small fraternity of about 20 or so distinguished gentlemen, everyone has to speak in public in some way shape or form to promote the fraternity.

After college, I was hired into my current role as a Software Sales Consultant. As a Sales Consultant, most of my job entails giving presentations. I present to customers, peers, and other sales professionals. As you can imagine, I present a lot. Because of my job, I am now comfortable speaking in front of a crowd.

My fear of public speaking has shifted into a desire to become a better presenter. I enjoy speaking in front of a group of strangers, friends, and family. However, I know I have room to improve. I want to grow from the feedback I will receive. Related: The importance of feedback – NBA Playoff thoughts pt 3

That’s why I joined Toastmasters International. I officially joined Toastmasters International April 1, 2017. For those of you unfamiliar with Toastmasters International, it is an organization where people learn how to improve their public speaking skills, network, and ultimately become more effective communicators.

Here are some of the reasons why people join their local Toastmasters Club. Source: Toastmasters International

Typically, you would attend a local club in your area, or an area that’s convenient for you, that meets regularly. It’s a smaller, more personal setting to help you sharpen your speaking skills. As a member, you follow a guided path of speeches to deliver to your local club. The speeches range from introducing yourself, to telling a story, to inspiring others. There’s no pressure to deliver any speeches, but if you’re there to improve, then it would behoove you get up and speak. Related: 5 speech techniques learned from a Toastmasters competition

The “Icebreaker”

On May 30, 2017, I performed my first speech within the Toastmaster’s curriculum. It was an “Icebreaker.” My objective was to introduce myself to the club.

The way I introduced myself involved audience participation and three specific numbers.

I first asked the audience, “How many of you would say that you have a memory that’s good enough to recall 3 specific numbers?”

The numbers I wanted the audience to remember were 65, 89, and 5. See the speech below.

  • 65 corresponds to the number of Oreos and my general love of food
  • 89 corresponds to the year I was born and my love for hip-hop music and culture
  • 5 corresponds to the hour of the day I wake up to start my morning routine because I want to be the best version of myself

Readers, please let me know what you think of my speech. Any feedback would be appreciated.