My participation at the toastmasters speech contest: compete, and get past your fear!

I just competed in the toastmasters evaluation, and humorous speech contests in Fort-Lauderdale this Saturday morning. I feel a sense of accomplishment to have been on the podium, making new friends, facing my fear, and understanding I could have been better.

This is my third participation at a speech contest. There’s a feeling I like at the beginning, and at the end of the process that I’d like to share with you.

It starts at the club level. My mentor DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster) Kip Barkley proposed me to represent our club. Club VOICE. ( I accepted and started with ideas about a speech from nothing.

I built it up from a couple of ideas and from other club member’s ideas. I made a speech which had at the moment feedback. I repeated two times at a mock contest in our club.

The more time is approaching, the deeper is that inside feeling goes. I can’t describe it. You have to be on the arena, as Truman said, to know it. 

This is that feeling you have a couple of seconds before the contest master calls your name, and the title of your speech. Your adrenaline pumps up. You’re by yourself on the podium with hundred of eyes peering on you.

But, the environment is supportive. Every body is wishing you well, and at the end they all tell you you did a good job. 

I wrote and rewrote several versions of my speech. I end up with this conclusion that an speaker pointed out. There are always three speeches in your speech: First, the one you prepare; second, the one you deliver; third, the one you wish you had delivered. You will carry the latter longer with you.

I came in third position and my mentor Kip Barkley shared his feedback with me passing me his notes and things I can do better.

I congratulate the winners. And I appreciate that I had an opportunity to compete and to be part of a community of winners looking to the best they can be.


Published by Roosevelt

Roosevelt JF is a Global Leadership Fulbright Research Scholar from Florida Atlantic University (FAU) where he taught Haitian Studies as an Adjunct Instructor (2005-2010). Roosevelt was also a senior admissions adviser at Kaplan University. Roosevelt JF is the President of The JF TEAM, INC; a full media marketing and business development consulting firm based in Fort-Lauderdale, FL. He is a sought out radio and TV business show host. He is also a guest for several mainstream medias including NPR, the Miami Herald and Newsweek. He also leads the Center for Communication of AIDS, a network of journalists committed against AIDS in Haiti and South Florida. He speaks fluently Creole, English, French and Spanish. He is the author Of "Leadership sur le vif: Des idées pour le changement et la création de richesse en Haïti".

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