When you start, you get a manual with 10 different speech projects, and I've done 9 of them, used my contest speech for one of them.
This particular contest was supposed to be a motivational/inspirational speech, 5-7 minutes. I was nervous because motivation and serious speeches are not my strong point. I do funny/perky very well, but when it's time to get serious I just feel like a cheerleader.
The theme of my speech was that when you speak up, great things happen to you. kinda hard to explain so I won't go into it. and I realize this is sort of pandering to a judge, since toastmasters is an organization to improve speaking skills and I'm taking about how it's important to speak... but honestly, that goes on all the time.
My prize: I get to go to another contest. but like two months from now... enough time for me to totally forget my speech, should be awesome.
I had a sad moment listening to "this american life" a few weeks ago, the theme of their show was people in poverty getting sucked into pyramid schemes. they're poor, they work shitty jobs their whole life, everyone around them talks about how the system sucks. then suddenly there's someone reaching out saying "no, you can make it! for $100 a month, if you BELIEVE in yourself, don't let anyone tell you no, you can be like *this guy* who make $100,000 last MONTH!"
and it's the first time they've heard anything positive. so they buy in, and there's papers that say their probability of turning a profit in this scheme are 4%, but suddenly they want to beat the odds and do great just because someone is telling them this.
meanwhile, my whole life has been positive.
most recently I found this toastmasters thing... I wasn't promised $100,000 but I was promised some good feedback and improvement. There's all this praise and applause and encouragement... and it is $6 a month.
I'm just in a place where I can find this stuff, pass up the $100 pyramid scheme, fall into the circles where life works out. I got really sad for everyone else.