Confessions of a Test Speaker

Julie Cosgrove ACS/ALB

Two years ago, an area governor in my home club approached me and asked if I would consider being a test speaker for his area contest.

I gulped. I had just completed my CC manual, but that was within the safety net of my own warm and fuzzy club, Top Notch Toastmasters.  This was different. I would be speaking to strangers, and several of them – maybe three, five, more?- would be judging that speech with a fine tooth comb so they could evaluate me and impress the judges. Forget the soap box, to me it felt like the chopping block.

But, I got past it being about me and saw it as being about helping out fellow Toastmasters. So, I swallowed and agreed. The relieved look on my friend and fellow club member’s face was my confirmation it would be okay.

Looking back on it, it was really rather fun. I was treated like lower royalty and everyone greatly appreciated me driving to another area and giving of my time. The evaluations were amazing. I learned so much about my speaking skills – both the strong points and room for improvement. The food was great, too. I met a great many of the district level leaders and earned credit for one of my advance manual speeches – a bonus.

Last year, I didn’t wait to be asked. I volunteered to be a test speaker. The experience was even better.

This fall, why not consider volunteering to be a test speaker for another club, area or division? It really is not as daunting as you might think. Plus, it’s a great way to see your public speaking from a whole new perspective, a way to interact with other D25 folk, and to see the bigger picture outside of the confines of your own club. I am comfident you will be glad you stepped up to the plate.

Julie Cosgrove
Top Notch Toasmasters