My hands were sweating, my heart was racing. And my mind… was completely blank.

Finally, as I came ‘back to earth’, I noticed that a few persons had been trying to get my attention. “Just say anything!” they said. “Ohhh,” I thought… “say anything eh? Are you sure about that?”. Because, what I wanted to say was that I’d rather hell open up and eat me whole than to stand there at the lectern any longer with these 30 persons watching (what I was sure was) the most disastrous Table Topics® response EVER in history.

Now, if you are reading…

The results and conclusion…

As a professional engineer, nothing speaks more truth to me than numbers. So imagine my joy when the “wrap-up” survey completed by participants of my high performance leadership project called “On-the-spot”, revealed improvement in the confidence levels of all the participants (in their impromptu speaking). I was like…

Vashawn Burnett and Andrea Duncan at the OTS Table Topics (aka Impromptu Speaking) Tournament.

Having made it to the final round, Toastmaster(s) Vashawn and Andrea gave their impromptu responses to a surprising question in the Table Topics (TT) Tournament.

But who starts a story (or a blog for that matter 🤔) at the end??? Well, that may have been what tournament finalists Andrea Duncan and Vashawn Burnett must have been wondering when they were told that ALL they would be given to kickstart their final speech of the final round in the Table Topics tournament…were the last 5 words of their speech.

But since most stories don’t actually start at the conclusion, let me…

(Toastmaster Hope Kerr is one of the OTS members who was voted Best Speaker at one of her Table Topic Tours/volunteering practice)

With two workshops now under our belt, we all instinctively knew what the next step would have to be. NO more drills, it was time for the real deal. If there was to be a clear display of improvement in confidence, then taking on actual (not staged) Table Topic sessions was an obvious (but for some people, quite a daunting) step. We decided to volunteer for Table Topics at other Toastmaster Clubs where the audience was unfamiliar to us.

And the timing was perfect! The pandemic had gifted us new opportunities for the OTS members to visit toastmaster clubs all…

(Toastmaster Junett Robinson smiles confidently as she knocks a Table Topics® question ‘out of the park’ at Workshop #2)

STILL ON A HIGH from our recent educational and fun-filled Workshop #1, two of my ON-THE SPOT (OTS) members shared with me that while they had enjoyed the opportunity to practice at the first workshop, they would have loved to have been able to break the (metaphorical) yoke in a little less ‘public’ environment. Yes, we were still a little hesitant about practicing in public. But, to be fair, our Guest Speaker did in fact warn us that behaviour could not be changed in just one presentation (remember Blog #4??!😉). …

FINALLY, the day had come. It was November 21, 2020 and I was ultra-excited. Somehow, I had managed to book a guest speaker for the workshop who was a 3-time multi district table topic champion. Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) Godfrey McAllister and I had met/spoken several times to plan and discuss the components of the upcoming workshop:

· A 20-minute educational segment

· A 10-minute question and answer portion

· A 45-minute practice session where 14 participants would give their impromptu responses

· Constructive (but encouraging) evaluations and feedback would be given to the speakers.

It wasn’t until I was giving…

About four months ago, I saw this picture (above) online. I immediately right clicked and saved it to my “personal improvement” folder (yes, I have one of those🤫). Why? It seemed to remind me perfectly of how I had entangled myself in my own web of avoidance, overthinking, and self-doubt about impromptu speaking.


The longer I waited to make a change, the harder it was becoming. How would I overcome this gargantuan feat (I know all my grammarians just smiled😁). Then my opportunity came; I needed to do what is called a High-Performance Leadership project in my Toastmasters®…

Hello Readers. In the last blog, I shared that I had been trying to develop a purposeful and intentional way of overcoming the challenges I faced with impromptu speaking. I had also shared there was one important, overarching reason not to avoid Table Topics ® but did not reveal what that reason was. So before I jump into the “how” I eventually improved, let me share a little on “why” this issue is relevant (don’t you just hate when people do that?…unnecessary suspense 😁).

There are several people (the average employee, practicing speakers, professional speakers…) who are relatively comfortable when…

Conrad Miller

I am a Jamaican Engineer who is on a journey to becoming a better public speaker. This blog is my documented journey that I hope will help and entertain others.

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