On Thursday night I competed in the Division Table Topics contest over at the Department of Energy building.
This is the contest I have been the most worried about. One of my biggest weaknesses in Table Topics is that it seems like I have a 50/50 chance that I will be able to come up with something coherent to talk about. And while I tend to do a decent job when it comes to current events or history, I can’t seem to come up with compelling stories about myself.
On Wednesday night I was given the question: “What is the best advice that your spouse or best friend has ever given you?”
The most surprising part of this question is that I was given one only slightly different during one of my three practice table topic sessions at the club meeting the day before. At the club meeting the TT Master asked me the question: “What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?” At the meeting I talked about one of my father’s favorite expressions, “Only worry about the things that you can control.”
I started off the contest table topics speech with the common quote, “Behind every man is an even better woman.” Only Karla knew that this quote was in my head because someone had said it to her when I introduced her to a fellow Toastmaster before the contest started, but I guess it was another case of good timing.
I wasn’t really happy with the overall content and organization of the speech, but I was able to to stay calm with good pacing and had some good gestures and movement on stage. I always seem to blank out on tying back to the introduction at the end of the speech, this is something I need to work on.
Going third out of four people meant that I only got to see one other competitor. I thought he did really well and had good energy, with his only fault being that he may have gone a little short. Karla said that she thought the first two speakers were pretty good also, but it is hard to tell what type of competition they provided.
I took first in the competition with the fourth speaker taking second. I am now moving on to the District competition at the National Harbor in the beginning of November. I have a lot of practicing to do, but hopefully I can represent Division C well.