I attended my first Division’s conference and Contest, at the Imperial College London on Saturday 15 October. Julie, our President, encouraged me to attend. I am so glad she did. There were Toastmasters mainly from London, but there were also Toasmasters from around England, Ireland and Europe. The atmosphere was warm and the event was very well organised (as you would expect for a Toastmaster event)!
I attended two workshops; Body language & speaking and Modelling success.
In the Body language workshop, after a very interesting discussion, attendees were invited to take part in a table topics session, with a twist, each speaker had a different topic. After each speaker, the group would give verbal feedback otherwise known as ‘commendation, recommendation, commendation. Julie was one of the early speakers. Her topic was to talk about her ‘first kiss’. The group found her speech humorous and her body language most appropriate for the topic.
I listened to many other speakers and on the final request for a speaker, I felt that I couldn’t let Lewisham Speakers down, if Julie could represent; so should I. My heart thumping, my little hand punctured the air. No turning back now, I was on my feet heading to the front of the room. My topic was “If I could change my name, what would it be?” To my surprise, after a moments thought, my mouth opened and words came tumbling out! I actually enjoyed the experience and the feedback from the group was very encouraging. So at least I have now taken my first courageous step in Table topics and I hope many more will follow.
I learnt two lessons from the Body Language workshop. Firstly our body language has to match our verbal language and secondly, if you walk on to a stage timidly, you will lose your audience’s attention before you even start to speak.
The Humorous Speeches and Table Topics contest in the afternoon were of a high standard and very entertaining. I discovered that props used in speeches can enhance the dramatisation for the speaker as well as the audience. The speakers who took the top three prizes all used props very effectively.