Category Archives: Toastmasters

First Meeting as Toastmaster & Wordmaster: Being Nervous

Tonight I was inducted into Capitol Speakers Toastmasters Club of Benicia, CA, Club #2080 District D57.

I joined Toastmasters so I can get used to public speaking with intention of leading educational webinars thus adding another stream of revenue to my business.

I had the role of Wordmaster for tonight’s meeting. The Wordmaster chooses a word for the meeting, introduces it to the group and counts the number of times it is used throughout the meeting. It is designed to help improved the vocabulary of the members of the meeting.

I was compelled* to do the Wordmaster role at the last meeting when my friend & mentor, encouraged me to do it. I was planning to volunteer for the timer role as it seemed easier. I would not have to get up in front of the group as the timer. But there I was being encouraged to be the Wordmaster before I had a chance to volunteer as timer.

That night went I returned home I had a link on my Facebook newsfeed to an article of “10 Words That You’ve Probably Been Misusing.” “Perfect,” I thought. I’ll choose one of these words

(*Compelled was one of the words, true meaning: to be forced to do something [willingly or unwillingly])

I chose the word “perused.” Meaning, “to review something carefully/in-depth.” Many people, including myself, use it to mean, “to skim or glance over something.”

I was nervous before presenting the word to the group. When I was introduced, I walked up to the lectern and began. I didn’t like being nervous. I wanted to be more relaxed, natural and in the moment. I had a stack of papers in my hand with the word and it’s definition, one to hand out to each of the group. I could see as I looked at my hands that they were shaking a little.

I kept my cool and presented the word. I even used it a few times myself adding a little humor. As I was finished the Toastmaster (leading this part of the meeting), instructed me to write the word on the board. Yeah, right, my hands were shaking. I took a deep breath and wrote the word as best I could with my shaking hands. “Someone gave me a vibrating pen,” I brought attention to it and made them laugh.

During the break my friend came up to me and with a surprised voice said, “Were you nervous?” I told him I was. He said I didn’t appear to be at all. This made me feel a little better. It’s one thing to feel nervous, but then if I start feeling self-conscious about being nervous, that adds more complexity to the difficulty of public speaking.