The Toastmasters Speech I'll Never Give

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I'm a member of Lighthouse Toastmasters Club. I have been a member since October 2011. I have been the Club's Sergeant-at-arms, Secretary, and now, the VP Membership. I have only missed meetings thrice since joining. But I have only given 6 prepared speeches. One of my mentees has already completed the Competent Communicators Speech projects, all 10 of them. And the VP Education is not happy with me. I take about 6 months to give 1 speech. And I'm becoming a bad influence on my mentees. In fact, she has stopped giving me mentees.

That's me at the extreme left.

So I have been thinking really hard about it. Why am I finding it extremely hard to give a speech?

And today, I'll be sharing the answer in form of a regular Toastmasters Speech. In fact, I'll be delivering it to you as the Speech 1 I should have given. What we call the Ice Breaker's speech.

And here it is: The Toastmasters Speech I'll never give. I have titled it: The Real Me.

The Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters and guests.
We run away all the time to avoid coming face to face with ourselves. Author, anonymous.

Some of us are created as generalists. And others are created as specialists. The main difference is that the specialists are extremely good at a few things and terrible at everything else. While the generalists are able to acquire proficiency at any skill they desire, and are usually average at every other things.

Unfortunately, I fall into the Specialist category. And it's a misfortune Toastmasters constantly remind me of. I'm mandated to give a speech. A speech that will be very engaging. One that won't make you snore. It's the same as telling me to not talk about the things I'm most passionate about. Because you'll find them extremely boring.

Then I must put some life into my speech. Make it very passionate. Use body gestures. Use voice modulations. And use pauses creatively.  And these are my biggest pain as a Toastmaster. I don't do any of this in real life. If you see me talking passionately, it must that I'm under the influence of a drug. Or there's an Evaluator to please. And as for body gestures; I'm used to moving only my lips when talking. The only real life situations I use body gestures are when conversing with a deaf man and whenever I'm trying to speak French. And voice modulations. I'm yet to figure out what a preacher will say that will make me genuinely scream at the top of my voice. Even while I was drowning in a river in Bayelsa state, I wasn't screaming. I was just there with my hands up and sinking. Even when I try hard to fake being excited, shouting for joy has always been beyond me. Even the less strenuous voice modulations, ones that involve subtle change of speech tone to give more effect to the words spoken has always been irrelevant to me in my day-to-day life. I let my choice of words create whatever effect I want, and not the way I say those words.

So every time you see me behind this lectern giving a speech you can relate to, modulating my voice, moving from one side of the lectern to the other, generously using my hands, and doing a mini drama to give you a speech that wins your applause. You can be sure that it is not me you are seeing. The real me will do nothing of that sort.

So who is the real me?

If the world was perfect, I wouldn't be here giving this speech. I wouldn't even join a Toastmasters. I would be in a big electronics lab making embedded systems. Hacking hardware and automating all I could. Because the real me is an extreme introvert who loves making things do more than they were originally designed to do. Who loves building new things and automating mundane tasks. And that's why I love programming. A 15mins phone call gives me headache, but 8 hours of writing codes makes me energized and happy.

The real me is not the one right in front of you giving this speech. The real me is lost. Perhaps, forever.

The Toastmaster.


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