District 27 Table Topics Contest
Tony K. Dahlman
November 1, 2014
2014 Toastmasters International Table Topics Contest
Radisson Hotel Largo
Upper Marlboro, MD
I got a flu shot today.
I say that because it is probably worth mentioning what I actually accomplished today.
Today was the District 27 Toastmasters Fall Conference and I competed in the Table Topics contest in the morning. The question was:
Given our conference theme, “Seeds of success”, what activities will you be doing to plant a successful seed in the future and act on the dreams that you desire to accomplish?
I was able to come up with an answer, but it ended up being way too broad and I wasn’t able to dig into anything specific enough throughout the entire answer. I was mentally kicking myself as I heard the sentence “I am not very well able to go out and talk to people” come out of my mouth. Upon further review, the gestures also looked much more aggressive than I intended them to be.
Awards are announced down to third place and I was not in the top three, so I came home with nothing.
The speakers who placed second and third spoke before me, so I did not see them speak. The champion spoke last and I thought she did a really good job. (She did have a weird thing at the end where she finished her speech and then paused for a really long time. It is traditional that you recognize the contest master when you are done, but that isn’t something that should have had too big of an impact on the judges.)
I say this because I am really not in a “the judges screwed me” mood. I have no idea how second and third place did and I truly thought the champion was deserving. I did have a couple people tell me after the contest that they thought I should have won or placed. I know that annoys some people, but I generally appreciate the sentiment and it makes me feel a little better that it wasn’t a universally reviled presentation.
My first thought in these situations is that I let down my division and my area and my club. I almost feel an obligation that if I am going to win a level, it is up to me to work hard and win the next level. If I am not going to win, I should have just let someone else compete who would win. I don’t know why I let this Scandinavian inferiority complex let me think way, but it does.
I am not to the levels I want to be for public speaking. I need to come up with a plan to change that.
In happier news, fellow club member Evans won the humorous speech contest. It was an extremely high quality speech and it is great that he was recognized for such an excellent performance.
Video and Photo credit (speech): G. Chong, 2014
(flu shot): T. Dahlman, 2014