A Monumental Contest for Yvonne Hall

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2016 District Conference
Humorous Speech Winner,
Yvonne Hall
I tiptoed into the land of the unknown and entered my very first Toastmaster speech contest: The 2016 Humorous Speech Area Contest.  Choosing the humorous life event was a no-brainer.   I would finally confess to the world the most embarrassing moment of my life.
In my mind, I had no chance of winning and decided to approach it as a learning experience.  The research began and so did the questions.  “Can I use props?”  “Do I shake the Toastmaster’s hand at the start?”  “Afterward?” “What happens during the one minute of silence?”  Thank goodness for my fellow Toastmasters’ years of experience!   I searched YouTube for past winning speeches and the Toastmaster International website for the rules and judging criteria.   I was well-informed.  A fellow Toastmaster had generously offered to drive me to the Area contest.  There was no backing out.
Now came the construction of the story.  A true event with exaggeration.  My prop, a chair, would transform into a car and then into a motorcycle.  I practiced over and over again in my living room, refusing to look in the mirror.  I knew I would become self-conscious if I watched myself perform.  I repeatedly timed the speech and cut words until I was comfortable with the pauses for laughter.  But would they laugh?  I hoped so!
As the moment drew nearer for my turn to take the stage my heart began to pound like a jack hammer.  My mind went blank and then the minute of silence began.  I took a deep breath and stepped on stage.  Once I was done, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.  I did it!  It didn’t matter if I even placed.  I had stepped out of my comfort zone and into the unknown.  That, in itself, was an accomplishment for me. 
I won 1st place!  It wasn’t until the drive home from the Area Contest that I learned I would be competing again at the Division level.  Excitement was followed by trepidation.  Over the next 2 weeks I presented at each of my dual membership clubs, listening to the evaluations and feedback of my fellow members.  I won 1st place again!
Yvonne with District Director, Jodie Sanders (left), Program Quality Director, Greg Pick (middle),
and Club Growth Director Robi Ley (right)

When the time came to attend the District 25 Fall Conference, I had finally stepped into the realm of “having fun” while delivering the speech.  Winning 1st place at District was great, but gaining confidence and belief in myself was monumental.

Article submitted by Yvonne Hall, 1st Place Winner in the Fall 2016 District Humorous Speech Contest.