I had just concluded my very first two speechcraft sessions at the National University of Singapore (NUS). I must say it was an eye opening experience! Most notably because it was the first ever Speechcraft workshop that was planned and runned by the NUS Toastmasters Club, and my first major project as President of the Club!
Yet, with anything new, glitches were bound to happen and mistakes would surface every now and then. Mind you, they weren’t glaring ones (Fortunately)! Everything went according to plan! Yet the first session highlighted several areas for improvement… ie background music prior to commencement of the workshop, the organisation and format for awards presentation etc.
Armed with these experiences in mind, the team troubleshooted and went on to set the record straight for the second run, and despite unexpected drop outs by facilitators at the 11th hour, everything went way ahead according to plan (still)! Heck, it was actually way better than the first run!
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How many times have we sought to give up on ourselves because of a lousy first attempt? How many times have we sought to declare that “we cannot do it” and prove our limitations right at the very first try?
Our first attempt at something is often not the most accurate measure of our abilities and what we are capable of achieving. If anything, it’s only a measure of how much more work we should be doing to achieve our desirable state of skill and being!
I could still remember the very first time I stood in front of a crowd of 40… TREMBLING and knowing not what to say! Stammering badly, I even had to slap myself (yes, in front of the crowd!) to stop myself muttering like a broken record!
Then there was my very first time Emcee-ing. Freezing and almost stuttering when introducing the next speaker! Hey, things got so bad a one point that the speaker didn’t know whether to come out and the audience didn’t know whether or not to welcome him with an applause!
Yet, over time, all these ‘deficiencies’ have subsided, considerably! The reason for my confidence?
One of the greatest reasons for our fears derives from uncertainty. Uncertain about what to expect. Uncertain of what to do and/or how to react. Uncertain if we’re able to pull it off.
All these fears are dispelled with the very first try… since with the very first try, we’d get a pretty clear idea of where we stand. And knowing where we stand is the first step to improvement!
There is a saying that goes “there’s always a first time for everything!” I agree! But I’m taking it one step further – I believe that it’s always good to get your first time out the way in order to be good at something! This applies to pretty much anything actually… your first time driving, your first job, your first position, your first kiss (*wink*), your first wife (okay… that’s quite wrong…)… YOU GET THE PICTURE!
There’s always a first time for everything! Grant it, with inexperience and uncertainty, we can hardly perform like a pro. Yet, most skills can be learnt. All it takes is some time, patience and practise! Anybody can excel!
Remember, your first time is only a reflection of where you stand now. It’s not the real litmus test of what you can achieve in future… The past does not equal the future!
You can only get better!
It’s time to take the second step!