In January, I chaired a Toastmasters International Area Speech Contest. It was both nerve wracking and exciting. Since I recently posted about the value of lessons learned meetings after my own club contest, I thought I’d share a few thoughts on this latest experience.
I was asked. I was reluctant but said yes.
I was worried because I didn’t know the scope of the expectations. I was relieved when I found out.
I was grateful to have the opportunity to support the contest and excited to practice my chairing skills.
A lot of feelings went through me. I was fortunate to work with a very conscientious Chief Judge — someone who was responsible for the overall organization of the roles. My part in the planning was relatively small, but I knew I could ask questions and had all the support I needed.
There’s a lot to learn from an experience like this.
- Good leadership is important. Being available to answer questions makes everyone feel more comfortable and builds confidence.
- It takes a small village to deliver a great contest. Volunteers stepped up and made this one a success.
- Mistakes are ok and should be taken as good learning experiences. I made the mistake of complimenting a speaker on his speech — a no no in Toastmaster competitions. It was quickly recognized and just as quickly fixed. I received input with options on how I could proceed. I call that just-in-time learning!
- The contest presented a great opportunity to practice my interview skills while waiting for the judges to tally the scores.
Taking part in a virtual contest is a great way to meet new people and build confidence. If you ever have the chance, take it!