At noon we had the dress rehearsal and sound check. There were several interesting things I saw. First, I was the only one in my heat dressed in something other than black or brown. I was, by far, the prettiest peacock on the stage. Actually, the only peacock on stage. Second, everyone else had a fairly standard speech. Nothing suprising, nothing that pushed the envelope. Again, the only peacock on the stage.
I told Emi that everything would hinge on what the judges were looking for. If they wanted a standard, safe speech, I had no chance. But if they were looking for something fresh, I was a shoe-in.
Well, they weren’t looking for something fresh. The guy who won has competed in the finals before. And he competed with this same speech. It’s a nice speech. But… a retread wins? Definitely playing it safe. Seeing that, I can’t be disappointed. It wasn’t anything I could control. I was me, and my speech was me, and it wasn’t what those judges wanted.
[I do want to be clear that the winning speech was a very good speech. I definitely would have placed him in the top 2 for the heat. I bring up the retread aspect only because of what it reveals about the judges for that heat. Good learning there.]
I have to say that despite not winning a trophy or the chance to advance, I know that I performed to my best ability. I’m really happy about that. I met the challenge, and I conquered it. No choking. And, how about this…
In the middle of the speech, my wireless mic transmitter fell off my waistband and dangled at my knee. I calmly pulled it up and reattached it without missing a beat. I can see myself completely losing it if something like that had happened 10 years ago. Even 8 years ago. Maybe even 6 years ago, 2 years into my Toastmasters experience. Today? It was just something that happened that I handled without even thinking about it. Now that’s growth!
Many people said very complimentary things to me afterwards. It’s clear that the message was appreciated and touched some hearts. In the end, I know that I really was a winner.
I’ll get a copy of my speech today, and there is talk about posting it to the District 3 web site. After all, I am rooming with the District
Governor and the District Webmaster. There is a lot of arm twisting right now, and I’m about to cry uncle. If they do post it, I’ll share a link here for you to enjoy it.