How did you start?

 I turned to the voice. It was right in front of a theater where I had just finished performing. A young woman with glasses and curly hair was smiling at me. Behind her, a guy wrapped his arms around her, also smiling, but a bit shyly. She continued talking.

We watched you on the stage. Your story was mind blowing. Now, my husband and I were arguing whether you were natural or not. How did you start?

Toastmasters, I replied.

See? I told you! Everybody has to start somewhere! You need to join Toastmasters!

She looked back and winked at him. Then, she told me she had suggested Toastmasters to him before, but he didn’t buy it. 

I had to think about it for a second. What is natural? There is nothing natural about my performance. I write and then, edit, edit, and edit. And I practice, practice, and practice. The only natural part is, I enjoy telling stories. But she’s right. Even if you were born to be a great storyteller (which I’m not), you gotta start somewhere. When I joined Toastmasters, storytelling was not my goal. Not even close! I hadn’t even heard of storytelling. I joined Toastmasters just to improve my English. At that time, I thought if my writing was good, I could speak in a monotone without moving my body or hands (yeah, right…). It took a while to realize purposeful movements and vocal variety make such an impact, even if they are subtle.

I don’t necessarily recommend Toastmasters for everybody. It depends on what you want and need. But either way, we all need to start somewhere. Big or small, take a step and keep moving. It may open a new door for you.

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