An interview with a new member

Worthing Speakers publishes a regular newsletter. In the most recent one, newsletter editor, Lucy, interviewed our latest member, Lynette Haley.

Lynette Haley

How did you first hear about Toastmasters, and what made you come along to a meeting as a guest? 

I read a blog written by Amy on Twitter. She talked about how she had found her ‘tribe’, made friends and developed person-ally. I was really struck by how enthusiastic she was about the club and how much she had gained by joining and how happy it made her. Having read Amy’s story, it gave me the confidence to make contact and join a meeting. It seemed clear to me that the club had made a huge impact on Amy, and I hoped it would have the same impact on me.

What particularly struck you about our club? 

The first thing that was very clear to me from a guest’s perspective, was the warmth and kindness of the group and the general enthusiasm. Everyone was so welcoming and the supportive culture of the club was evident. Having met everyone and listened to some speeches, I felt confident that I would be nurtured and supported in my speaking journey.

How did you approach your first speech? 

I wanted to talk about something that I was interested in personally, as the Icebreaker speech is an introduction of you to the club. I work in the NHS for a mental health trust and am passionate about mental health and wellbeing. I began writing a speech about self-compassion. As I wrote, I found that it was more of a speech around encouraging people to be kind to themselves rather than anything about me personally. I started to wonder if the speech would be better used for a speech later on my pathway around influencing. During a meeting, I listened to a fellow toastmaster’s speech which was more of a personal story. I had a light-bulb moment. They say write what you know, and that’s exactly what I did having heard that speech. I wrote about real events that I had experienced and the speech just seemed to flow much more easily.

Were you nervous, and if so, did the nerves evaporate at any point? 

I was very nervous. I can honestly say the nerves did not evaporate at any point. I was actually still shaking after I had finished. What I would say though is it was definitely worth pushing myself out of my comfort zone and doing it. The feedback was amazing and the support I felt was phenomenal. I felt so proud of myself for the achievement and it has certainly given me the confidence to keep pushing myself on my pathway.

How did you react to your first evaluation? 

I was aware of the way evaluations are given as I had joined a meeting as a guest and had listened to others being evaluated. I was completely blown away by the lovely, positive feedback I received after my Icebreaker speech. It was really valuable to receive feedback from toastmasters with so much experience to share. I also appreciated the advice on what to work on for the next speech, which I have taken on board and will certainly be implementing in my next speech.

What is your goal in joining our club? 

My goal is to learn a new skill that will make me feel more confident and to progress my career. I want to push myself out of my comfort zone and feel a sense of achievement, and I am certainly well on the road to doing this.

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