If I give the universe a chance, it does its best to be absolutely wonderful. =)

I had misgivings about the Toastmasters speech contest held Thursday, but when I gave myself permission to just go ahead and do it, I had tons of fun. I gave a speech entitled "I Will Learn How To Cook... Or Die Trying". Frequent readers of my blog (none of which were among the audience) would recognize some of the misadventures I've had. =) I'll post the MP3 one of these days. (I really should start an infrequent little podcast...)

My contest performance was only the second time I'd run through that particular version of the speech. Still, I had no problems connecting to the audience, treating them as friends, and making them laugh. I missed a few jokes I had wanted to make, but it flowed together well. I'm still having problems ending on the strong note everyone expects, probably because I pour a lot of energy into the beginning and middle as well.

Even though I threw the revised speech together as hastily as a stir-fry on a starving Saturday night, I won second place. =) The man who won first was a really cool Toastmaster, and his speaking skills are far beyond mine. Lots of things to learn!

Mrs. Castillo would be thrilled to hear that people liked my use of props. I can think of no other cause for this but the drama in education program we had in grade school. =) My father and my sister must share the credit for anything I might know about humor and storytelling. My mom's encouraging note earlier this morning was the source of my energy during the speech. And oh, so many people who keep me going and make me laugh... If I spread sunshine in people's lives, it is because I get so much from others!

I need to work on speech organization a bit more, and endings are still one of my weak points. I have plenty of things to learn, and I love that. I don't want to be a good speaker. I want to become a brilliant speaker so that I can inspire people not only to adopt the ideas I want them to consider but also to improve their own communication skills. =)

Very good day.

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Random Japanese sentence: 彼女はその猫に牛乳をやった。 She fed milk to the cat.