Last Saturday, 12 Nov, I spoke at a Toastmasters event organised by District 80, Division S.
Being the last speaker, I was originally concerned that the audience would be tired and less receptive to information by the time I got up to speak.
I therefore made sure that my presentation slides contained as few words as possible, filling it instead with thought-provoking and question-eliciting pictures. I also made extra certain that the flow of the session would be smooth, as I practised my segways and transitions.
The moments leading up to my turn were quite nerve-wracking. It really was rather difficult to concentrate fully on what the other speakers before me were saying. I was watching more for overlapping content (not much) and information (a fair bit) that I could point the audience to when it came to my turn. I was also looking out for what sort of things the audience seemed to respond to.
With all that information, I was working out, on the spot, how to tweak my delivery to better suit them.
When I was finally introduced and took the platform, it was part relief (Finally!) and part apprehension (I hope this goes well...).
As soon as I spoke, I felt myself kick into gear, and I knew to trust my body to do the session delivery. I've already done this in my head. It's simply a matter of letting them turn into action.
As I tested the waters of audience response, I found a certain frequency that certain people seemed to enjoy. With that mental note, I further tweaked how I would phrase future questions and perform future actions.
With about 15 minutes to go in my presentation, I knew that I had built a rapport with this audience. They were freely responding, laughing and nodding along to my points. The only regret I had was that I had very little time left with them.
I finally got to my round-off slide, gave them information for a future workshop and encouraged them to speak to me after the session as I made my final point.
As I somewhat reluctantly handed the platform back to the hosts of the event, I felt the elation of a well-executed presentation - the fruit of constant preparation and deep thought.
To you who asked about the upcoming workshop, allow me to do the necessary putting-together of things before I let you know when and where it will be. Let's keep in contact until then. It was a pleasure to have benefited you.
To the organisers and fellow speakers at this event, let's do this again some time.
To my guests (you know who you are), thank you for your never-ending support.