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From Foolish to Flourish – Special Occasion Speeches #5

The Acceptance Speech

The thing about Toastmasters is there is always the next challenge.  Just when you think you have nailed one set of skills another advanced manual opens up with another five projects to hone your communication skills just a little bit further.

Mr Toastmasters, Lady President, Fellow Toastmasters … I couldn’t have got this far without you.  There are many people that I would like to thank by name and regale the reason why.  You will be pleased to know for the sake of time I name none.  Rest assured, every single one of you in Casterbridge Speakers is on the list.

By chance I heard a terrific TED talk at the weekend by Rosabeth Moss Kanter.  She said there were 6 key things to leading positive change, they are:

  1. Turn up
  2. Speak up
  3. Look up
  4. Team up
  5. Never give up
  6. Lift up others

That simple message speaks to the very essence of our Toastmasters clubs don’t you think?  Toastmasters has been a big part of my life for the last 8 years.  This year past more than most. I started my Toastmaster learning journey with a speech entitled from Woking to Weymouth.  I can still taste the fear of failing to deliver that speech without stumbling

Gosh did I prep for that one?  It look me 3 years to complete those first 10 speeches in the competent communication manual. Another three years to do the next ten.

Then, exactly a year ago I caught myself saying oh go on then when asked to be the Dorset area Director 2015/16.  It had never been a particular goal of mine.

However, having said yes, it seemed as good a time as ever to dust off my rusty leadership skills.  I also decided to use the opportunity to push through the learning pain of some of these advanced speeches at the same time. 

When I looked at what I actually needed to do I went oh oh.  I mention this only because sometimes an opportunity comes your way which has not been sought but can turn into a blessing. 


It hasn’t been that easy – but as they say nothing worth having comes easy.  I am pleased that I did it now.  I have learnt more than ever. Mind you! There have been a few storms and a couple of floods on this year’s journey … but I’ve had your encouraging support.  Moreover I have those treasured evaluations that have moved me on from foolish to … flourish.

The thing is that being part of the Toastmaster family is that we are all on that journey. We all want to be confident public speakers and as such strong leaders. Within the Toastmaster family there is a learn-by-doing environment that allows us to achieve our own goals at our own pace.  Sometimes that’s a high speed TGV, sometimes it’s the country route along with leaves on the line.

The members of Casterbridge Speakers have been at the very heart of that journey. It has been my special place to turn up, speak up, look up for my goals.  It’s helped me to team up, never give up and lift up others. 

I couldn’t have got this far without you. I feel safe in the knowledge that this will always be so.  So what when I do get to DTM?  Well, I guess there is always the return journey to contemplate!

I couldn’t possibly have done it without you and you and you and your amazing moral support. I wouldn’t have grown without your feedback, your encouragement and those treasured evaluations that have moved me on from foolish to flourish.

Thank you.

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