The day of the Area 13 Humorous Speech and Table Topics contest had arrived and I was ready. I had a few weeks to polish my speech in accordance with the suggestions of my mentors and I felt confident about the outcome.
I arrived at the Wyomissing Library, where the contest was held, and found that, much like the Area 13 International Speech Contest, there would be only two contestants. The other contestant was a relatively new Toastmaster from Community Toastmasters, another Reading area club.
Before the contest, we picked the speaking order and I pulled the second spot. The Community club member spoke first and gave a very entertaining speech. I began to wonder if I was deserving of the confidence I had when I first arrived at the library. I “chose” to be confident and when it was my turn, I walked to the front of the room and stood for a moment and looked at the crowd. They were ready to be entertained and I “decided” that I had exactly the speech that would do the job.
I spoke confidently and clearly and I felt good. I got great reactions from the audience, in fact, the reactions where better than at the club contest. As I spoke and as the speech flowed, I found myself with more and more confidence. I felt good when I sat down, but I still wasn’t shore if I had won. The other speaker was very talented.
The 2006 Area 13 Humorous Speech Contest was the first experience I had with a particular public speaking phenomenon. Although at the time I couldn’t explain it, in future contests and speaking events I began to notice that, the bigger the crowd was, the easier it was to get the reactions I wanted. As I later found out, there are specific reasons for this and I will be exploring them in future posts.
At the end of the contest, I sat waiting for the final announcement. Since there was only two contestants there would only be one name announced. According to Toastmasters international this is so no one will know who came in last ……………
…….…Anyway, I sat with total focus on the Contest Toastmaster, when she read the name of the first place contestant who would get a chance to compete at the Division A Contest to be held in Lancaster. I was surprised by the name I heard. “The winner of the 2006 Area 13 Humorous Speech Contest is … Michael Donlan from Reading Toastmasters!”
I had now won two contests in a row and I felt I was on my way to bigger and better things. I was confident about my chances in the Division A Humorous Speech Contest and in the end I definitely would not walk away empty handed, although, what I walked away with was not what I expected.