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alwayshope

I am trying Toastmasters International

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Hi all,

I have been around here for several years now. Lost my email/password info.. use to be joy2u I think it was...I have new info now and I have read over the past few years many great posts. I have tried many things that you all have posted.. the makeup, supplements, CBT, in therapy so many years now... tried hypnosis.. you name it.. just not tried ETS. I use to come to this forum and blush reading your posts.. cause I knew it was all just like me...now I read the forum and think..I want to help someone..even if it's one person.

I want you to know I took part in a 4 week Fear and Anxiety Group. Met 4 times over the month. I was only one in the group w/ erythrophobia. I shared w/ the others how I blush and the fear I have is the fear of others watching me blush. I am outgoing, love to talk and socialize. I don't have alot of problems w/ socializing..but when it comes to people focusing on me in a more 'structured' setting..like a work meeting, or group of ladies and we talk and everyone looks at me and ask "so what do you think Hope?".. that type of thing brings on the blushing/flushing for me.

I was told about Toastmasters. Every city, state, country has them. Do a google search for your area. I am not trying to promote the club for them or anything. I am telling you what is helping me at this time. Here is a general link: http://www.toastmasters.org/

For 16 years now I have feared speaking in front of others. It has gotten so bad that I fear now the symptoms..even before they happen. Therefore; causes more symptoms. I went to a meeting and of course didn't want to walk in the room because of fear of the meeting structure. I sat there and listened..and of course they call on guests to say something at the end of meeting.. you can say your name and just a one liner or talk more if you want. Me I just told them I was very interested in getting comfortable w/ speaking in groups and gettting over a fear.. I actually cried and told them about my blushing, sweating, heart palpitations and fear of even standing up there right then. I had to pause for a few moments..I cried so much.. I felt like running out of the room but I stayed. They all clapped for me after I finished and after the meeting they said I was couragous for speaking about such a fear so openingly. They assured me nobody would laugh at me because I blush, or sweat or show any symptoms..they told me I was in the most accepting place to help my phobia that there was.. I believed them.. because they didn't laugh at me when I turned beet red each time I spoke for several weeks...or if I shook like a leaf on a tree..they always clap for you.. no matter how well or lousey you do..you get a clap...that is the cool part.

To make a short story long..haha.. I have since joined Toastmasters.. in January .and gave my first speech..'ice breaker' where you tell about your self for 5-7 mins. And I was so terrified to do this guys.. Since i had already told of the fear I had in my first visit as a guest.. I didn't speak about my fear in the speech until the very end.. I teared up and told them it was the first time in 16 years I had spoke in front of a group.. and I was proud of myself..

You know what?? I got a standing ovation guys.. about 15 people were in the room, doctors, lawyers, financial advisors, salesmen, CEOs, comedian/actor trying to get back on the road again w/ his career, radio announcer, minister.. and then there was ME!... I don't have a corporate job..but I am proud of what I do.. The evaluator ..every time you speak you get evaluated by someone in the group...my evaluator happen to be the club president.. go figure right? well he said it was one of the best 'ice breaker' speeches he had ever heard, I didn't look nervous, I didn't sound nervous, I used gestures, and facial expressions and I even used a prop in my speech.. he had never seen that before and in 10 years of being in the club he had never seen a standing ovation for someone's 'ice breaker' speech and they used a prop.

Yes I was nervous.. inside I had the pounding heart, felt my face get a bit hot and red..You talk about on a high ..gosh I am still on that high.. I felt so proud of myself guys.. I got the best comments from people..they write little comments on paper and pass them to you to read when you get home.. many told me that I had so much courage and that I was going to do well..

My point is to you all here.. I know this seems way out there to many.. hey it did to me.. after 16 years I actually went out and did something that i feared the most.. joined a public speaking club..Toastmasters.. but it is the best ..the very best treatment ..emotionally, mentally and it has helped me physically even.. because I am doing something about it now..

If anyone is interested.. I will come back and give you updates periodically on how it's working for me. Or any inside info to help you get started..and what to expect when you first attend a meeting.. Tomorrow I will have my first assignment as a member ..I will act as a 'grammarian' for the meeting.. noticing when people use 'uhs, ahs, ands, uh knows, .. called 'filler words'.. and pic a 'word of the day'.. from a bunch of cards w/ huge words that the everyday person doesn't use...and jot it down..and ask people to try to use that word when they talk..and give a report at end of meeting..oh I am nervous for sure.. but I know now that no matter how good or bad I do.. no matter if I turn red, sweat or mess up.. they will clap for me.. and will help me through the process..

Again, if you want updates on how it goes for me along the way.. I will be glad to share..because even 3 months ago.. I would not have even dreamt of being in a meeting and talking in front of 15-20 people. I am even working on a second speech.. it's crazy.. that I actually 'want' to try it again up there and speak.

Hope this will help someone.. I want you to know..I still have the 'FEAR'..but I don't fear that 'FEAR' like I did before. It's amazing what facing the fear can actually do. Telling people openingly about my fear was a big thing.. had never told anyone other than my husband and doctors before..I hope I don't sound crazy.. but I think if I continue to go to the meetings and do speeches and participate.. it's gonna help me so much.

Have a good day..

Alwayshope :lol:

ps..I forgot to mention after I reread my post..that the websites for Toastmasters looks all professional and intimidating.. they are not..I assure you..unless you join one that is 'corporate' some corporations have their own meetings..and they are more professional..find one that meets at night.. they are more laid back type ones..but the one I am in is for the everyday person like myself..and I told them my goal was not to learn to speak at work and such...my goal is to learn to not worry so much about the symptoms I have.. and to get over SOME of the fear..

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omgsh i really wannna joing this group. i researched it online and just never got up and went. you are really making me get into it again. i am just so nervous to go and blush and everything its like i wanna look like that perfect person who doesnt have any problems. i really want to go. please keep me posted. i will let you know if i become brave enough to go. thanks again for you wonderfull post.

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I returned to read all your kind posts and I want you to know that I will keep you updated as I take this journey. Coming back here as some have posted methods of 'curing' erythrophobia..in the past.. at this point doesn't make me blush or more anxious.. reading your posts here now doesn't make me depressed..as some say "I can't return here after this due to having to leave this part of my life behind me"..coming back reminds me of where I WAS once. To make change I think you have to remember where you WHERE. I am not out of the woods yet..I have a long road ahead.. I was told to give it a year and I won't even think of that fear I have now..I don't think it's gonna take a year..I am seeing too many changes take place for it to take a whole year. I use to wake up in the morning and already put fear in my head.. "oh I'm gonna turn red today", "What if I turn red when my boss calls on me at the meeting next week?", "what if I turn beet red when someone talks to me at the grocery store tomorrow?", what if, what if , what if....I now wake and think, hey I just gave a speech 2 weeks ago in front of 15 or so people...and they didn't care if I turned red", "turning red isn't a sign of weakness ".. I look at it in a different way..and I find myself going hrs on hrs.. w/out thinking about my red face now.. I can't wait until I go days and days...one day it will be "who cares what people think about me".. Yep, I am on that high again.. a natural high that I have never felt before about myself.

I was hesitant about posting my experience because I wasn't sure if anyone would read it or not. I know for me prior to me 'wanting' to change and getting to that 'breaking point' in my life that 'change' had to take place.. I would never have thought Toastmasters would have helped me. My therapists(plural) several of them over the years..have tried to tell me to not avoid issues..to confront them..avoidance was the problem..and I thought they were the ones that needed therapy.. now I know what they meant and see it is now helping to face the fear.

Well a quick update:

I was grammarian for our meeting tonight..and I stood up and was shaking and could feel myself go red some..and sweat a bit.. but I stood there and told the group what my job title was and shared w/ them how making notes of others 'uhs, ahs, uh knows, etc' helped me to see where I need more help in the same area. Makes me more conscience of my 'filler words' as they call them. And as I said before.. they all clapped for me after I gave my announcement at the beginning of meeting and report at the end of meeting.. clap clap clap. it's the best feeling to hear that clapping sound. I felt so good about it..I even volunteered to be timer/ballot keeper for next meeting.. I'll explain that next time if you are interested..

I wish you all the best in your journey to find what helps you in overcoming this fear.. our fears will never go away completely.. they say for public speaking the time you lose all sense of fear or anxiety. then we get 'stale' in our speaking and it will take the passion and fun out of the speech. We needs some anxiety.. a healthy level of it is good. I am not at the healthy level yet..but I sure want to be there. :D

Take care,

Hope

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Hey congrats! I always wanted to try that, but ended up taking a public speaking course as part of my MBA instead and improving drastically after several nervous starts.

Its a great rush when you give a speech that goes well. Unfortunately I don't practice anymore and probably need to look into Toastmasters.

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I also went to a toastmasters meeting as a guess. I was actually tired after the 2 hour meeting just listening to all the speeches from the members. They all looked so comfortable and confident and everybody was enjoying themselves. I was very nervous. Everybody gets a turn to do and say something. Luckily I did not have to speak as a guess, but my heart was beating very fast when they asked the guests what there opinion was of the meeting at the end. If I am seated and only have to say a few sentences then I am fine, but to go and stand there in front of everybody and do a speech for 5 minutes will be a total different story. To be honest I don’t think I will have the courage to do that. I think I will be forgetting my words and I am afraid that the blushing and heart beating will be too overwhelming. But I suppose if I want to get this blushing and public speaking problems reduced I have to do something drastic like this. It is the only way. I must try and confront the problem otherwise I will be a punch bag all my life and I will not be able to express myself in difficult social situations especially at work. I am sick and tired of hiding from everything all the time. People take advantage of you if you don’t say your say. I am just glad there are some people out there that is also going through this and that I am not alone. Thanks for your story Hope. I think what you are doing is absolutely fantastic and that you are going to kick this problem out of the door very soon. I hope I also have the courage to take the first step and do a speech even if I want to faint. Good luck to all of you.

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Hi Relax... glad to hear you went to a meeting.. please don't think those people up there speaking didn't start out nervous like you.. they may have not showed as many symptoms as we 'blushers' do..but they are nervous just the same.. everyone I have spoken w/ that has been in the club for a little while said ..they started off really nervous and some studdered and some gripped the lectern ..all white knuckled and all. So please don't let that scare you off..

My advice to you would be to go back in there..and when they ask you to speak as a guest about how the meeting went ..or say something for the evening.. just let them know exactly why you are there.. don't be too scared to let them know your 'fear'. You will be amazed at how well they accept you even w/ the fear of blushing. Seriously.. I have it bad. I still do..but I am noticing now that because I know the group is so accepting of my blushing and sweating..that it's not a big a deal as it was at first. They know up front because I told them.. I think that is whyI got a standing ovation the night I gave my first speech.. they truely saw I was up there and giving it my all. That triggered emotions in them too.. to show me how proud they were of me. I don't think you will faint, unless you buckle your knees..haha.. but my first speech I thought I may get so hot and I actually had 3 tissues in my pocket in case I did. I was gonna pull one out and wipe my face if needed. I wish you luck. Thank you for your comments.

TOASTMASTER UPDATE:

Hey everyone that is interested..

Just a quick update.. last night I did my second assignment in Toastmasters.. I was so nervous all yesterday..I flushed in the department store prior to going..I flushed and blushed :oops: at checkout.. Timer/Ballot Counter was my job. This person has to tell everyone before the meeting the rules for giving speeches.. and let them know about the little timer clock and let them know I will give out ribbons for the best speakers at end of night.

Well I messed up about 2 times.. and the group laughed..and they didn't laugh at me..they laughed w/ me.. because I felt my cheeks get red :oops: .. but I didnt' dwell on the redness.. I just kept w/ my talking and job assignment. I didn't feed into the "oh my gosh, my face is red, what will they think?".. type thing.. I didn't miss a beat ..I laughed and made a funny comment each time..and continued to go on.

I so much enjoyed the assignment. I had to keep standing up throughout the meeting and giving reports.. about 6 times I had to stand and talk. Each time I gained more confidence.. At ribbon time..I gave the wrong ribbon to the wrong person.. they all laughed and I took it back and said something funny..and went on.. they laughed w/ me..

Afterwards.. I was commended by several people how well I did.. a couple of people commented that I have come a long way since December. And I will admit.. yes I have. I surely have..I don't know if I had so much fun w/ the assignment or if it was the fact that I ACTUALLY DID IT!!!!.. I think the latter. I did it.. I did it.. I was almost gonna give up and ask someone else to do it in my place when I got there..but nope.. I stuck w/ it..and I am glad I did.

You all take care..and please whatever you do.. we have to learn to step out of our ' COMFORT ZONE' and just go with it.. :D

Until next time..

HOPE

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I went to one or two meetings. I was busy and so I didn't continue, it didn't help that they put me on the spot, which they wern't supposed to. They tried to get me to do an impromptu speech which had I been given warning I would have done.

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AlwaysHope, congrats on your achievement! I have had a similar experience this year that has been fantastic in challenging my self perception.

I graduated from University last year, and am in my first year of full time employment. I have specifically decided to get involved in work committees, go to work social events and I've even signed up to a language class after work to go to on my own - just to challenge myself and prove to myself that the world won't end if I go red infront of everyone.

Yes it has been interesting - yes I have gone red, at numerous committee meetings, talking infront of classmates in the new language that I'm learning... but the world hasn't ended. I still feel yuk when it happens but I just power through. My fear that people will alienate me, judge me or mock me hasn't eventuated. And I've adopted medo's IDGAF attitude, which has really helped me in being able to shrug off the blushing. I am me, and I am okay, even if I am as red as a tomato! I still have a long way to go, but this sorta stuff is already helping to break down my barriers and give me more confidence, so I'd definitely recommend it!

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I just watched a speech @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSKnIKAZb9E

The guy is a bit over the top at first, but overall a really good speech... I can sort of relate to his problem.

Thanks for the nice comments Johnnyboy and Sunshiney.... you all are very kind and encouraging..glad I can lift anyones hopes or spirits..

Insaniac, I listened and watched the youtube Toastmasters speech and you are right.. when you first watch and listen to this guy.. you will think .."what the heck"... for those out there that don't understand why he is so 'animated' and 'dramatic' ... I will tell you why...at the end of the speech.. Andy gave the stage back over to "Mr. Contest Master"; therefore; he was particiapting in a Toastmasters Speaking contest...Our club just had one 2 weeks ago.. we had 3 great speakers compete at our level then the winner goes on to speak against other clubs in the area..and on and on.. So seems that Andy was really putting himself out there and trying to win.

One thing that is great to start a speech off with..is a question.. ask a question.. and pause.. it leaves the audience wanting more.. they want to hear more.. very enthusiastic about what you are going to talk to them about.. Another thing they teach is ..if you can make people laugh or smile during your speech.. that is a great.. it's a successful speech in most cases...This guy was very good..I hope to one day be able to express my self so openinly and freely as he does..

If I were in the group and judging him..which you do if you are a member , I would give him high scores on body language/gestures and facial expressions, content was great, opening was very strong and he asked people questions and got feedback and the audience participated...closing was strong as well.. so this guy would be a hard act to follow..he did 'Let Go and Let It Happen'.

Don't let this intimidate you all about Toastmasters though.. you compete if you like..you aren't required to do anything you don't want to.. but you leave learning alot when you hear people like Andy speak.. And our club contest isn't on a 'stage' per say..it's just in front of the room either behind a lectern or you can stand away from lectern and speak..

Abacab, the whole idea of Toastmasters is to help you learn to 'think on your feet' and feel more comfy w/ speaking in front of others.. yes a prepared speech would be easier to try..all clubs are different in the way the approach guests.. and it should be an option to speak if you want.. I would have just declined if you didn't feel comfy and tell them maybe a later date you will give input.. you can also speak to one of the officers after a meeting and let them know if you feel awkward about how they put you on the spot..it can be something they may discuss in officers meeting to not make guests feel so unconfortable.. but again the whole idea is to help you learn to 'think on your feet'.. I hope you try another meeting.. or different club even.. you never know..do like I did..contact someone via email or phone ahead of time and let them know of your phobia and ask to please allow you to speak only if you feel comfy the first few times..

Eejay.. great thing you are doing.. you are doing exactly what Toastmasters would teach you.. go out there and do it.. don't let the fear stop you..I am proud of you for hanging in there... I have been a bit more anxious the last 2 weeks..going into the meetings...and turning red a bit more..but it's okay..I still go and know it's a safe place.. so the anxiety isn't going to go away overnight..or in a few weeks or months.. it will take time..

Take care all...

HOPE :D

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I gave my second speech now.. 2 weeks ago and lo and behold..out of the 3 speeches given..I got the ribbon for the best speech..WOW!.. I was so excited and couldn't believe it. I gave an 'organized' speech. It was any type of speech but just had to be organized.. strong opening, leading into the body and strong closing.. I got good feedback from many and also some room for improvement from a 2 or 3 folks... But still won the best speech riboon.. I am displaying my ribbon for me to see daily..:D

This past monday..I was the 'table topics master'.. I presented 4 questions that I had came up with to the group and asked them to give their opinion on them..

Things are going great.. I am still nervous..and even though I am shaking in my shoes.. had 3 people tell me Monday afterwards that I looked like I had been doing this for years..WOW!!!! Once I get up there I don't worry about my symptoms as much..it's just actually getting up there to start.. that is toughest part..but it is getting easier..

Just wanted to stop in quickly and update you all if you were interested..

Going to continue to go and participate.. next time I am going to evaluation someone elses speech..yep.. I will tell them what I thought the speech was like and give them good feedback and any room for improvement..now that is a tough one.. to critique someone else when you are new to all this..

Have a good week..

HOPE

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I must say there is absolutely NOTHING bad that can come of this. I would even ecourage everyone to go to these, speaking is one of the top skills to have no matter who you are.

I mean I have friends that are so good at speaking to people, and its not just the fact they are people persons and can talk, it also has a lot to do with how they talk to people in different situations.

Trust me when I say that if you can learn to speak very very well, you can talk your way into or out of almost anything. One friend of mine talked and charmed his way into a $100 000 a year salary job with literally no education in the field and very little experience. He quite literally talked his way into snagging a job for people who had master degrees.

All it takes is a lot of practice. You literally have nothing to lose, your going to blush everyday anyway, so who cares, might as well learn a new skill while your doing it. And if it just so happens that the only reason you blush is because you simply just have some anxiety during social interactions, this will nearly cure it if you keep at it.

I don't really have a big problem talking to people, the hotter it gets the more anti social I become (And no, i dont mean the hotter the women become, i mean temperature :-). But i've come to realize overthe past 6 months taking a very very very in-depth look at what exactly happens when I flush/blush that it comes down to heat and other things just add to it. I was in the gym a few days ago and they were turning on the air conditioning testing it and getting it ready for the summer, it was 9 outside and was freezing in the gym. Some workout same cardio barely flushed at all, and little to no sweat. 2 days later I go back, AC is off, its about 5 out and its hotter inside then outside, again it goes back to the old way, sweating buckets, face flushed from the first exercise until it hits a plateau.

Basically what im trying to get at is that if you think your more prone to the social anxiety aspect as to why you flush, then this is better if not just as good as CBT. Its most likely free, and believe me the second I can start getting thursday nights off ill be going, because being able to take over conversations and be the one socializing in small groups is very key to success in life. If you don't believe me take a good hard look at your surroundings and take note, you will realise the best speakers have the hottest girlfriends (or sometimes boyfriends), the best jobs, and the most friends. Which over time just equate to inner peace and happiness.

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Well said, although I would just like to point out that good listening skills are just as key as good speaking skills. You won't be liked very much if you like the sound of your own voice too much.

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Well said, although I would just like to point out that good listening skills are just as key as good speaking skills. You won't be liked very much if you like the sound of your own voice too much.

That all depends who you are talking to really. I find a lot of people are sheep just waiting for someone to follow.

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I think everyone likes to be listened to, whether they're sheep or not. Who wants to be ignored? I know plenty of people who are good speakers and they know it. Trouble is, they're not very good listeners so they don't connect with people and lack meaningful relationships. Both skills are equally important.

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Yes I agree..that being a good listener is a key thing to being a good speaker. Many times in Toastmasters you have to give feedback to the what the speaker spoke about and if you aren't listening well then that isn't good at all and you stammer for words.

Just and update on my progress:

I am preparing my 3rd speech and looking forwarding to giving it either this week or next. Yes I said "LOOKING FORWARD" to it... It's a speech that you are to use very little to NO notes. 5-7 mins. It's about 'getting to the point'.... I am excited about this speech because I just registered to vote after not voting but 3 times in my 40 year life. Never a presidential election ..always primary. But I was always afraid of jury duty. Feared being in a courtroom and questioned by prosecuter and then deffense and feel like I am on trial and have to give personal information to total strangers. Feared I would blush and sweat and they would think I was telling a lie with my answers. HUGE FEAR for me. But I registered and am very proud to say I am ready to go if I am called.. heck who am I fooling..I am not ready for jury duty..but if I am called..I will go and do the best I am able to do and present myself the best I can without worrying what others think the entire time.

I will let you know how my speech goes and not sure if I mentioned this..but I had to evaluate another speaker guess who it was? It was my Toastmaster's mentor. She is VERY good and so advanced she did a speech from an advanced manual nobody in the room was familiar with.. hmmmmm..how to evaluate your mentor in such an advanced manual? Well I did the best I knew to do and apparently I must have done well..I won the ribbon for best evaluation of the night out of 2 evals.. :D ... I am growing leaps and bounds...never thought I would be doing anything like I am doing now..

Blessings to you all..and remember ..don't think about it too much..just do it...

Hope

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Thank you for the update! I was wondering how it was going...Congrats for sticking with it and doing so well.

(And for registering to vote...YAY!)

don't think about it too much..just do it

This statement is perfect. I'll be repeating it to myself :)

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Hello, it looks like this post is over ten years old now but I think it is one that is still relevant. 

I too have struggled tremendously with blushing, especially when giving a public presentation. I tried my best to hide from things that would make me blush but eventually it will catch up to you at some point. Whether it be in a public place, at work, or sometimes with family too. I'd heard about Toastmasters about 10 years ago but I never followed through with it. But a couple of years ago, I was asked by my brother to be his best man and that gave me motivation to help improve my fear of public speaking, which was triggered by my facial blushing. 

It wasn't a quick fix, but ever since I joined, slowly but surely my confidence grew and grew. It reached a point where I was able to compete in a contest and win, not once, but twice! And guess what the speech was on... blushing! It was a great feeling and something I've been proud of. It didn't encompass every struggle and was more fitting of a Toastmasters Contest style speech, but I hope it's a beginning to hearing more speeches of people overcoming their struggles with blushing. I would like to share my speech below in the post and hope you enjoy it.

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