The Area 13 Contest

Last night was the Area 13 contest.  Along with Area 13 it was also the Area 18 and 24 contests.  It was an interesting event.  I got to see three-fourths of the Division E Contest take shape.  I have now seen two other speeches I will be facing on April 26th and they have seen mine.  Both of the winning speeches are extra-ordinary.  One was on a simple subject, the wonders of Steve Jobs and Apple and the other was on the scurgges of harroin.  The former was a very funny yet very useful speech about the many things we as Toastmasters can do with the iPhone and the iPad.  The latter was a very emotional speech about how harroine took the life of a dear friend’s son.  Emotionally, my speech sat in the middle.  I have humorous parts and serious parts in my speech.  Besides last nights speeches, there is one more out there.  The wild card speech; the contestant from the area that was not represented last night, Area 28.

Last night’s contest was very special.  Most times when you watch a contest, there is at least one speaker who you have to wonder how they got to this level.  There were seven speakers last night and every single one of them could have been in division level contests, let alone area.

The contestant I competed against, is a returning member of Community Toastmasters and has been returned for not quite a year.  He was excellent.  He spoke first and during his speech on the pitfalls of multi-tasking, I couldn’t help but worry.

I took the stage and things went basically as I planned.  I did stumble at one point, and unfortunately it was noticeable, however, as I looked into the eyes of the audience, I could see I was connecting in a very deep way.  I’m sure many of them had experienced unemployment as well, and they were remembering their own tribulation.

After the contest was over, I realized I had a hug lesson in humility.  Practicing my speech in front of familiar faces is a good way to learn my speech, however, without a measuring stick, I didn’t know how well I was really doing.  Last night my presentation was measured against abnormally good speeches and speaker and, although I don’t think I was found wanting, I’m definitely not as far ahead as I had envisioned.  In fact, at this point, I don’t even know if I’m first.  Over the next three weeks I have a lot of work to do and have to share my speech as much as possible.  I need to rework my speech … again and practice hard, because I know that is what the other two contestants will be doing.  All three speeches will be better come April 26th and I’m going to have to recommit myself to see that mine is the best.

I know what to expect from the two other speaker, but at the moment, I’m most worried about the speaker I have not yet heard.

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