It was October 2020. Renee and I were preparing for an evaluation contest. We were going through one semifinal speech after another on YouTube. During the speech evaluation of Lindy MacLaine, Renee broke into tears. I could see the impact of Lindy’s speech for myself and Renee. I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to hear Lindy’s story and share it with everyone?
A week later, I saw a meeting invite on a facebook Toastmasters group where she was giving a keynote. Though I had another meeting at the same time, I decided to attend it. In the meeting, I got a chance to connect with Lindy. In the follow-up email, she graciously accepted the invite to run the workshop for us at Women L.E.A.D. on January 13th.
It was morning of the day of the workshop. I was giving a speech, “Win your power back” at my San Jose Toastmasters club at 7:15 am. I got up early at 4 am, meditated, and practiced the speech 7 times. The day before, I had given the same speech at Cisco Speaks and was in the moment while delivering the speech. My evaluator said my vocal variety was operatic.
Since everyone was asleep, I decided to set-up in the garage. It was a new environment, away from my bedroom, and cold. While delivering the speech, I was slightly nervous, forgot a few lines, had long pauses, and was shivering. The delivery was nowhere compared to the day before. The feedback from the night before was that did not feel authentic. My mentor said it needed work if I plan to use it for the international speech contest. I felt sad and decided to bury that speech even though it has a strong message and emotionally meant a lot for me.
Before the start of the workshop, I shared with Lindy the story of what happened. During the workshop, Lindy said to share the message with the audience which you want to hear. Then your true passion and authenticity connects with the audience. It resonated with me from the bottom of my heart. I knew I had a good message which I want to hear and would mean a lot for an audience, too. A ray of hope and the plan to revive the speech was taking place. I felt hopeful.
Lindy lit a fire under my belly. I decided to not accept the defeat for something I can repeat. I have many opportunities to repeat the same speech. I am going to ensure that I practice many times until it sounds natural.
Join us this Wednesday 7-8:15pm PST to take your Toastmasters journey to the next level. Our next meeting theme is Radical Candor.
Written by Abhijeet Joshi, VPE of Women L.E.A.D. Toastmasters