I won the Toastmasters District 61 Table Topics Contest in Mont Tremblant, Quebec on 2007-11-19. In the Table Topics contest, competitors leave the room. One at a time, we return, wait at the back of the room, receive a question, walk to the stage, and speak for one to two minutes. The speeches are improvised! The only preparation time we get is the time it takes to walk to the front of the room.
The topic was “Anger management is self-explanatory; define what compulsive happiness means to you.” For me, compulsive happiness is not ear-to-ear smiling that accompanies perky perpetual partying. It is that middle space of quiet contentment and self-assurance between life’s highs and lows. Happiness is a decision.
Happiness is looking into the kind eyes of 350 people, watching them respond in our time together, watching them nod agreement or confirmation, watching and hearing them laugh. Being onstage is one of life’s great pleasures.
I’m also fortunate to have won this contest four times: 1999, 2001, 2003, and 2007. The other times, I was pleased to see some wonderful speakers and friends bring home the big shiny trophy! It’s fun to give others a high five, way to go!
Now for the International Speech and Evaluation contests in 2008. Time to prepare…