Updated: Sep 30, 2022
Black men can blush
I went to my Toastmasters meeting tonight, and I embarrassed myself. It was weird because I usually do not get nervous speaking, but I guess it can happen to anyone. I was shaking, disorganized, and confused. I didn't even do a speech tonight. My role was the grammarian (the person that evaluates the speakers solely on their grammar and proper use of the English language.) I was all over the place attempting to evaluate the speakers, the evaluators, and the people who did the table topics. I rehearsed and looked over the criteria, but obviously, it was not enough, and I must find a way to ensure I am better prepared when doing anything. I felt so embarrassed that my hands were shaking; mind you, all I had was a role. I was not speaking, Toastmaster of the evening, nor an evaluation of speeches. My only real job was to listen and jot down flubs or grammar of high praise.
I evaluated so incorrectly. I was supposed to assess the grammar only, but instead, I considered the speakers. I didn't even introduce the word of the day (My job, and especially since I was the person that recommended the word, I should have been the person to define it to the audience. I straight up became the dear in the headlights. I was so embarrassed that I began rambling, which is a big No, No with Toastmaster. I ran over time. I was a pure mess. On the ride home, I started reciting my parts perfectly. As I did this, I became more upset with myself. A few minutes later, I received a moment of clarity. That was such a good thing. I realized that even though the role was minor, it was new to me, and there would be an extreme learning curve. Also, embarrassing yourself is the best way to learn not to get embraced.
Lastly, it taught me that I must prepare better. Toastmasters is a class "A" organization, and my club is very good at helping. I want to make sure I am lending a hand, also. Being prepared and knowledgeable is key to not embarrassing myself again.
The great thing is that the club is a safe learning space, and all feedback is positive, even if it is performance-related feedback. It was an excellent place to fall on your face; the blessing is that this phobia is a nugget of knowledge. Learning that I must improve is the first step to getting better at anything. The next is repetition. I have signed up for the timer role next week. We will see, but I will not stop attempting. Doing this is confronting fears; the best way to get over fear is to engage it.
All that came from me messing up. Imagine what the post will sound like when it is all together, and I get better at this. I will keep practicing and paying more attention to my roles. I will get it right, plus I am having so much fun learning how to overcome my fears.