10.10.2005

Vince and Table Topics in Toastmasters

Sometimes, just showing up is half the battle. We may make ourselves think we have no chance of winning, but when we do show up, we actually win because we are the better one at that particular time, despite our thinking. That is what happened to a member of my Toastmasters club. For those who don't know, Toastmasters is a public speaking club, and Table Topic is the portion of the meetings where we pratice impromptu speaking.

We held a club level competition to select the winner of the Table Topic Competition. Out of four competitors, Vince didn't place first or second place. However, the first and second place winner could not go to the next level of competition (the Area Table Topic Contest) due to both of them being out of town during that time.

So when asked for volunteers, Vince agreed to represent us in the Area Level Contest. One would think that since he didn't win first or second place in our club, he wouldn't have a chance against the winners of other clubs. I admit to thinking along those lines - I sure know I'd have been intimated if I hadn't won first place and had been sent to the Area Contest.

However, to his credit, Vince didn't let that keep him from giving his best at the Area Contest. He competed against 3 other competitors. He was even giving a subject matter (subject matter are given to the contestant right before they are to speak for 2 minutes on the subject matter - so they have absolutely no preparation time)that he knew absolutely nothing about - video games. Yet he managed to weave a speech about that topic. When he sat down, he had the look of someone who seemed defeated. Yet, when it came time to judge, the judge selected him as the winner of the Area Table Topic Contest! He defeated all of the other first place club contest winners.

So, sometimes, we must just show up - we never know what might have happened. I've heard it said that showing up is half the battle, and it sure proved right.

The story doesn't end there, Vince went to the next level of competition - the Division Level to compete against several other Area Contest winners. He also won that contest. He is now waiting for the next level of competition at the District Level. Whether he wins that or not doesn't matter in regards to this story - he's already shown that we must not limit ourselves and just go for it without imposing mental limits on our minds.

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October 22 update: Vince went to the District Contest. The other two contestant did not show up, with one of them breaking her leg the night before. Since Vince was the only contestant, he automatically won the District Contest...!

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