Back in the day when I had a full-time job in DC, I used to attend monthly meetings called, "Toastmasters." For those of you unfamiliar, it's simply a club where people come together and improve their public speaking skills by practicing in front of one another. Your prepared or impromptu speech had to be a certain length of time with as little mistakes as possible-- there was always a "grammarian" to count every single grammatical mistake and filler word. After a year of attending these meetings, you would think that I would be flawless in public speaking. Wrong.
This morning I was forced to leave a message on an elementary school's answering machine. My message went something along the lines of this-- "Ummmmmmmm. My name is Vim and I am a student uhh working towards my teaching credential. Uh. I need to sit in on two classes for uhh an assignment and uhhhh, I was wondering if I could uhhh schedule a time so I could come in. Uhh. Thanks."
With every "um" and "uh", the little grammarian that has been embedded in my head as a result of Toastmasters laughs and adds another tally on his imaginary chalk board. It taunts me and makes me even more nervous to speak in front of people. Did Toastmasters help me become aware of all of my flaws in public speaking or did it just make me more paranoid?
To Make Anything at All
7 months ago