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Wayne’s toasty story

Wayne Buck, a member of Wairarapa Toastmasters, shares the terror he felt while speaking in front of an audience and how Toastmasters eased his fear.

I crept up to the stage, my heart imitating a flying sparrow.

I turned and faced the audience, looking at the floor or the ceiling – never at the eyes – too intimidating.

I started with the world’s loudest “Uummm” showing the crowd they were in for an awkward few minutes. I could hear people shift in their seats, embarrassed for me yet also somewhat annoyed that they had to bear witness to a shambling, stuttering mess of a speech.

I was looking for a dark hole that I could dive into, to escape the acute sense of deep shame.

Well, that was my first stint at public speaking.

I resolved never to do it again. Complete avoidance was the easiest solution.

This strategy worked rather well for a few years.

Until, well, life caught up with me and unless I had a more permanent reason, such as death, I ended up at some horrible stage, having to speak to a crowd in a semi-formal or [worse] formal setting.

Someone suggested Toastmasters. This someone had heard me try to articulate noises from my mouth on a previous occasion.

So I went to Toastmasters [admittedly a whole year afterwards] and learnt how to speak, well, properly.

Toastmasters has since become a source of continuous learning, self-challenge, friend making, leading and more importantly has removed my biggest fear – public speaking [well, next to biggest fear – being eaten alive by rats is right up there, along with exsanguination].

That journey took quite a few years.

There is a fast track. It is called Speechcraft.

This gives the basics of everything you need within a short timeframe.

Totally recommend this to get started in the fast lane.

Wairarapa Toastmasters is running a six-week Speechcraft course on Wednesdays from February 7 to March 13 at the Salvation Army Hall, Carterton, 7.30pm-9.30pm. $100. Email: [email protected]

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