Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I won my club's speech contest

Yesterday evening, I won my Toastmaster's club speech contest. I am going to post my speech here. I did stutter quite a bit, and of course at home I was completely fluent. But still they preferred my speech: I had a better meaning, more focus, and was better prepared than most. So take this as an example that we can be good presenters. Yes, stuttering is not helping at all, so we just need to be a bit better prepared, a bit more creative, and a bit more focused.
I had a dream

I had a dream - with an unexpected turn of events
A dream - that changed my attitude towards life
and might well change yours

Fellow toastmasters, honoured guests,

I was being chased
(not by beautiful women - unfortunately)
but by terrifying monsters
I was really scared. I was running for my life
And I came to a cliff
The sea 50 meters down below
The monsters came closer and closer
Oh my God! I was trapped!
Suddenly, I realized
Tom you are in the middle of a dream!
If you step over the cliff, you wont fall down,
Unless you imagine gravity to pull you down!
So I stepped over the cliff, walked on air and flew away.
leaving my monsters behind
I was so happy to have escaped. What a cool dream!
But why am I running away?
The monsters cannot really kill me.
It is a dream!
So I decided to face my monsters and fly back to the cliff.
Come on, monsters! Kill me!
As you can imagine, the monsters were a bit shocked!
But why am I scared of the monsters?
It is my dream. I decide!
So I took a sword.
And killed them!

How many times have we run away from a challenge and felt trapped?
Why didn't you apply for the job? I won't get it anyway..
Why didn't you talk to the cute girl at the party? She will reject me anyway...
Why didn't you speak out? No-one is interested in what I have to say...
But maybe you could have gotten the job, the girl, or people convinced.

Try. Try to face your challenges! Give it your best shot!
If you succeed, fantastic, you have beaten your monsters!
If you fail and the monsters killed you, at least you tried.
You don't have to tell yourself for the rest of your life: Why didn't I try? What if?

Yes, we can. We can suceed. Take Barak Obama.
He didn't say to himself: Oh, I have dark skin, so there is no point running for president!
Do not make yourself the victim. Be pro-active!

How many of us have been scared of public speaking?
We imagined the audiences turning into monsters chasing us.
But after a few presentations we enjoy talking in front of people.
In fact, it is impossible to get us off stage.
5 minutes, green lift, 6 minutes, amber light, 7 minutes, red light, and we talk and we talk...

Public speaking has been and still is a special challenge for me due to my stuttering.
When I am well-prepared and calm, I can be fluent.
But many times I am not...
I did everything to avoid talking in front of people.
Joining Toastmasters would have been like joining the devil.
My dream has changed my attitude towards my stuttering.
I realised that I do not have to run away.
I rather stand here in front of all you and stutter.
I rather face my monsters and be killed by them than being chased by them and remain silent.
Thanks to Toastmasters, I have faced my stuttering time and time again.
You see... Now it feels like... I am chasing the audience!

We all have our challenges. Try. Try to face them. Give it your best shot!
So tonite, I hope you dream of terrifying monsters chasing you.
You should not be scared of them, but they should be scared of you!


Greg said...

Awesome! My biggest congratulations on your victory...

Anonymous said...

Tom, congrats! Keep up the good work. Maybe you will be World Champion of Public Speaking one Day (soon). And help PWS!!!

Anthony said...

Tom, first of all, Congrats to u. I am a stammerer in Singapore. Currently looking for a job now. Imaging stuttering during the interview of a job that i am interested. Shugs.
Great site. will be bookmarking it.

Keep it up!

Unknown said...

An amazing speech, Tom! Well done, my friend!