Helping people find their voice

One of my friends scoffs at Toastmasters, but moments like this make
it definitely worthwhile.

Today one of the members brought his girlfriend to listen to his first
speech. The girl was painfully shy and clearly terrified of public
speaking, even during the Table Topics and guest comments section.

She approached me afterwards, though. And oh, the stories I could see
inside her… CN Tower Stair Climb T-shirt, colored bands around her
wrists: these are the marks of someone who cares deeply about some
things. I listened to her fears and shared my own experience learning
how to speak – at first starting out because I couldn’t stop talking
about technology and I wanted to get into conferences for free, and
then realizing how much fun it was to help people learn. I told her
that the real trick to speaking in front of an audience – or at least
in front of Toastmasters – is to speak to them one person at a time,
treating them as your friends.

Most of all, I looked into her eyes and told her in many different
ways that she had stories worth telling.

When I felt her tentatively reaching out, I closed the loop and we
hugged. The hug was one of the best I’ve ever had, and her thank you
one of the sweetest.

This is what I live for: that deep connection, that chance to help
people find their voice.

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Random Japanese sentence: 猫がソファーでねむっている。 The cat is sleeping on the sofa.

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