As a new member of a Toastmaster club, sometime you feel intimidated by the speeches delivered by more experienced Toastmaster speakers.
Through my own experiences at Parramatta Toastmasters, I must confess that at the beginning, that feeling overwhelmed me as well. As a new member, despite lots of preparation, I found myself making lots of silly mistakes.
But, when I feel that I am about to come crashing down, suddenly there are invisible hands supporting me. These invisible hands are not only specific to me, but also to other Toastmaster speakers who are in need of help. This reminded me on an old story about a tiny little wave.
Once upon a time, there was a little wave bobbing along in the ocean, having a grand old time. One day, the little wave noticed that before the tiny wave ahead of it could roll up, a bigger wave rolled down upon it, and crashing it on the shore and it dissipating it into nothingness.
The little wave saw wave after wave suffering the same fate and this made the little wave fear that it too will soon ‘crash down onto the shore’ and die.
While pondering upon its fate, along came another wave. It saw the little wave looking sad, and it said: “You look so afraid and very unhappy. May I ask, what is troubling you?”
“Don’t you realise that, before each tiny wave can roll up, a bigger wave always rolls down upon it and crashes it down to die?”, replied the little wave sadly.
“Oh, if that is the reason of your sadness, then I want you to know that we are not waves, but water. We are all part of the bigger ocean! Since we are all water, waves cannot be born and cannot die. Water simply changes its form, trickles onto shore, and then rolls right back into the ocean.”
Soon, the little wave began rolling up and up, higher and higher. As it finally rose to the top, about to come crashing down, it realised that the other waves were simply changing form! They changed from waves into spray and drops then rolled back into the great ocean, but the whole time, they were still made of water. The little wave realized that it was really water … and it wasn’t afraid anymore.
So, if next time you feel overwhelmed by the speech delivered by more experienced Toastmaster speakers, just remember that you are part of something bigger. You are a part of Toastmasters. Other Toastmasters were simply changing form! They were tiny little waves too, before they changed into skilled Toastmasters.
You have made the first step, keep going and follow Robyn Peck’s advice: “Put your hand up, always!”