Thank you madam toastmaster. 

Hello fellow toastmasters! I enjoyed the first two speeches today and I’m not excited to be the closing act. But here we go! 

My name is Christa and I’m a graphic designer.

When the invite for that first introductory toastmasters meeting went out, I accepted, thinking “oh wow a work club centered around drinking! Sign me up!”

Then I discovered it was about becoming a better public speaker. Talking in front of strangers every week AND there is no alcohol? My Worst Nightmare. My immediate reaction was: Nope see ya later I’m outta here byeee. 

Something kept poking at me though, after that first meeting. It was the underwire in my bra. The car keys in my pocket? My son’s legos in the couch cushions. Whatever it was, it got my attention.

There I was at my computer, firmly dead set against joining toastmasters, filling out the form to join toastmasters. 

What was I doing?

It was because my boss encouraged me to do it. She believed I could benefit from toastmasters, that it could help my career by bolstering my confidence and leadership skills. She is a mentor and has a strong influence on me. Deep sigh. okay. Fine. I WILL JOIN.

I hit submit on the form and so began my Toastmasters journey. 

I still didn’t know what I was thinking, I guess I was just looking for new ways to fuel the furnace of my unrelenting anxiety. A weekly meeting doing the thing I hate the most? Chef’s kiss.

I signed up for a few functionary roles, but I kept putting off this first icebreaker speech. I finally filled in my name for the last meeting in April. I thought surely the world will have imploded by then. Maybe earth will collide with an asteroid. Or a crazy Russian dictator will start world war 3. Or Elon musk will try to buy Twitter for like 46 billion dollars and civilization as we know it will collapse.

While some of these things might actually be happening, it’s not happening quick enough, and that darn sun keeps rising. As today’s date crept ever closer, I brainstormed ways to fake my own death. It’s not as easy as they make it look in the movies, and it was requiring a lot more work than I was willing to give.

How can I get out of this? I am sick. My kids are sick. The dog has diarrhea. The cat is throwing up. I broke my vocal cords in an accident. My video camera is broken. My computer is broken. I’m broken.

No one will believe any of this. It’s time to start thinking about actual ideas for your speech, Christa.

I started going through the list I made the first week I signed up. The benefits of veganism? Buzz. Thanks a lot Gwen.

How empowering it was when I won my first weight lifting competition? Bzzz. Sydney stole my thunder with her speech about when SHE won her first competition.

They always say write what you know. I’ll get up and talk about being a designer but in a really fun, creative way. Bzz. See: Lily, the other designer in this group, who destroyed my future amazing speech with her own.

Let’s see. What else. You work in CANNABIS and people love cannabis. Use your four minutes to talk about that! And how all my friends say to me, every single time they talk to me, “so are you all like totally stoned right now man?” Yes. Yes, we are all stoned, all day long. 

Only I was betrayed by my very own colleague Georgia, who spoke so well about the benefits of working in the industry.

I cannot catch a break! 

Maybe I’ll explore my favorite hobby, crochet. I could even use props and display some of my recent projects. I have a baby yoda and a covid nurse and a llama and this F bomb and a winter hat and this moose, I even made a cold Brrnie on Inauguration Day.

Only this feels too much like show and tell. 

Then it came to me. Essential oils.

I’ll dazzle you all with the fabulous and rich world of essential oils. Someone name a problem you’re currently struggling with. I have an essential oil that will fix you right up. There’s rosemary and peppermint and lavender and eucalyptus and sweet orange and sandalwood and… 

How great does that sound? Pretty great right? Let me tell you about the deluxe distributor package then! Imagine the joy you will bring to family and friends and total strangers you corner in the grocery store.

Don’t worry! There’s a payment plan!

Okay I’m kidding. I’m not going to use my first toastmasters speech to rope you all into my multilevel marketing scheme. Possibly for project 2. 

Oh wow, look at the time!

There you have it. My journey on how I finally settled on my speech topic today: How to Give Your First Toastmaster Speech. 

In all seriousness, I signed up because I really do hate public speaking and it causes me such anxiety. Only I don’t like feeling this way, so I challenged myself to just feel the fear and do it anyway. If I can conquer this, what else I might be able to accomplish? Who knows, maybe I can even get my essential oils business off the ground.

Thank you everyone! Back to you Madame toastmaster.