I believe I mentioned that one of my brave May acts was to join the Toastmaster group that meets where I work. The Ambitious One was already a member, and although she wouldn’t allow me to come to meeting until after she’d given her first speech, she has encouraged me to attend.

But now, it’s official. Yesterday I gave them money. I am an official Toaster.


About ten years ago, I lived in LA. As you know. And I had a friend (just the one) that I hung out with ALL THE TIME. A lot. I’m pretty sure his neighbors thought we were an item, because I was always there. (We weren’t an item.) We had much fun together, but there were a few…quirks…that I liked to mock.

For starters, he was 10 years older than me. (Right? He was in his 30’s! That is SO OLD!) And had these weird ideas. And one of those weird ideas was that he should join Toastmasters so he could improve his public speaking skills. I’m pretty sure I mocked him every time he toasted. (We also referred to is as Toast – no master – because I also hate burned bread.)

So, here we are. Ten years later. And now, I feel like I should improve my public speaking skills. So I will be toasting twice a month.

***end flashback***

So, you may be asking (if, indeed, you are still reading), why are you talking about this.

The reason, gentle readers, is that I’m absolutely, nauseatingly terrified of Toast (the organization, not the bread product – the bread product makes me feel mildly nauseated, but not afraid). Yesterday, as I walked to the meeting, membership application and check in hand, I wanted to turn, run away and hide.

And when the Ambitious One said (jokingly, I hope) that she was going to volunteer me to stand up and talk for one-two minutes, I almost passed out with fear. And then I threatened to vomit on her (also jokingly?).

My fear, it paralyzes me. I am in this club to get over the fear, but am afraid that the fear may prevent that. (It’s like when I was prescribed anti-anxiety meds to help with my flying anxiety, but the thought of taking them & getting one of the 11 million side effects caused a panic attack.) (It is possible I need help.)

So – any tips on how to get over the nerves? This is speaking in front of a small, supportive group. Not angry sharks who are both hungry and hate listening to speeches. I think that taking a valium at noon on a Tuesday might not work out as a solution. (I already went over the pros & cons of that one in my head.)

I want to be a successful toaster. and a person who doesn’t feel like vomiting when asked to speak. I feel that will be handy for my career.


  1. CilleyGirl

    I learned in a college argumentation class that if I have to stand still at a podium I get incredibly nervous and can’t remember what it is I’m supposed to be talking about. But if I can move around, even just a bit, I can go on like I’m rallying the troops to battle. I only found it out when I was trying to rehearse a speech and was pacing back and forth lecturing my cat; doing that, I knew the whole thing by heart, but if I had to stand still my mind went blank. My advice would be to see if different things might work for you — picking one person to focus on for a short time then another, using your hands, not using your hands, moving around, not moving.

    Good luck! And have some fun!

  2. Kristen

    You are brave – is it sad I am still scared to even join a club that wants to help me get over my public speaking fear!!

    In all seriousness I struggle with this all the time and even on my last training I gave for work – the SAME one I had done the past 5 years – STILL made my stomach turn. Hmm, maybe I picked a bad career?

    I wish you lots of luck and can’t wait to hear if you think it is actually helping you!

    P.S. I am the same way with medicine – I would rather suffer my current aliment than risk an unknown side effect from the medication.

  3. Eliza

    Just go all out and do it. It will be terrible and scary and you likely won’t do very well. Then… every time after that will HAVE to be better. It will be unpleasant, but it absolutely will not kill you.

    I took this approach to learning to drive. I do not recommend it when machinery is involved; that could kill you.

    Congrats for conquering old fears! I know it’s hard and scary, but you should be so proud of yourself for even taking the first step. And you can be REALLY proud of yourself later when you are a kickass public speaker!

    1. Fortunately, when I learned to drive I was about 11, so I did not have fear, and it wasn’t even a tiny bit scary.

      I had my annual review today, and added doing some talks in front of my department, so now I’m super committed to getting through this.

      1. Eliza

        My boss did the same thing to me with my annual review this year — more sales work. Which I hate and is so not in my job description.

        You will do great, especially with friends like the Ambitious One and a supportive boss to help you.

  4. Alisa

    Hey you changed your layout! Sorry I’m a bad friend and haven’t been reading blogs.

    You’ll get over the fear. Slowly but surely I am getting over mine.

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