Shy and Afraid!

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As I started my speaking career, I was a nervous wreck! I was very shy and introverted but when I applied for a new job, one component was public speaking. I was not ready for that! I almost ran back to my other job. You see not only did I have to speak in public but I had to talk about Sex!

There were two of us and researched our topic thoroughly and we delivered a good speech while shaking behind the lectern. The parents were grateful though and encouraged us to keep going. That is where we learned one of the first principles of public speaking.

What I learned at Toastmasters is this: “ Your audience wants you to succeed.” We found that out when the audience surrounded us with gratitude. We spoke 110 times that first year and without any formal public speaking training.

Then six years later, a Toastmaster’s Club started in our workplace and we were invited a few times to join. Once we joined we learned a lot about ways to improve our talks.

We had some bad habits formed already. Things like filler words. Those are words you use when you just need to think. Our favorite filler word was: “ Ok” At the end of several sentences we inserted the OK. We used a lot of “um’s, ah’s and other filler words too.

We were grateful to get the positive feedback and suggestions from our new toastmasters club. Our speaking got better and better. After a year and a half the club closed and I never went back until 20 years had passed in my speaking career. I will have more about that next time.

Find out more about toastmasters. Contact me.


Maureen has been teaching this ideas for over 35 years. She is a Senior Faculty Member with William Glasser International, A Licensed Counselling Therapist and Certified Personal and Executive Coach.