By Rhonda Rosand
My inability to say "no" led me there. It was the place I feared the most – a room full of people, all eyes on me, making a presentation to an audience of my peers.
So, how did I get there?
I had been approached by The Home Builders and Remodelers Association, of which I have been a member since the late 1980s. They had asked me to present a topic of my choosing – one that would promote my business and educate the members.
Caught off-guard, I’d said, “Sure. I’d love to.”
The words came out of my mouth so fast, it was as if I was possessed.
“Who said that?” I asked myself. “How did that just happen? What was I thinking? Now what?”
Panic began to set in. “Breathe in, breath out, 1, 2, 3…....breathe.” I had to remind myself of this over and over just to keep from passing out.
Thanks to Toastmasters, I’m ready to take on all kinds of exciting new challenges. I can feel the fear, and do it anyway.
After years of anxiety about public speaking, suddenly, there I was, facing my fear head on.
I didn’t know how I would pull it off, but I had made a promise, so I had to make it work. Little did I know, as soon as I’d committed, the Law of Attraction already had been set into motion.
Not long after, a friend of mine called to tell me that Toastmasters was starting a new club in town. She wanted to go. Perfect timing. Toastmasters was exactly what I needed, when I needed it. The universe had delivered for me.
The support was amazing. I found camaraderie with others who shared similar goals and fears. I practiced public speaking, received constructive criticism, and watched videotapes that helped me recognize and control my nervous movements. Through the Toastmasters experience, I began to build confidence and overcome my life-long fear of public speaking.
Today, two and a half years later, not only did I make it through that first presentation to the Home Builders Association, but I’ve also have given scores of other speeches: four tax conferences; the QuickBooks Boot Camp Series at the Granite State College Technology Center; the New Hampshire Tax and Accounting Professionals; a panel discussion in New Orleans at the Scaling New Heights conference; and the Successful Implementations at Scaling New Heights at Atlantis in the Bahamas earlier this year.
None of this would have been possible without Toastmasters. While I still get butterflies before standing in front of an audience, now, instead of panicking, I feel a positive sense of excitement and confidence, which complements my newly acquired public speaking skills.
I actually feel like I know what I’m doing. I’m more confident in everything I do, from client and employee interactions, to presentations at board of directors meetings. Thanks to Toastmasters, I’m ready to take on all kinds of exciting new challenges. I can feel the fear, and do it anyway.
Rhonda Rosand, CPA, New Business Directions LLC, is the Immediate Past President of the Mount Washington Valley Toastmasters, and finance manager of District 45 Toastmasters.