If you read my post on all the things I’m excited for, you’d know I was a competitor in Ryerson’s Next Top Speaker (RNTS). March 18th was the big day, and also one of the most rewarding days I’ve had.
First, let me give you a little background on the competition. RNTS is planned and executed by Ryerson Toastmasters. Ryerson Toastmasters is a division of Toastmasters International, a public speaking organization. All Ryerson students are eligible to apply and then audition for a spot in the Top 8.
The finalists then participate in weekly group and one-on-one training sessions to develop their public speaking skills, and prepare a 5-7 minute speech based on a specific topic, to present in front of an audience at the RNTS event. These past two years, there was also a duet speech round, which is both challenging and really fun. Finally, contestants perform an impromptu speech based on the topic. This year, when the three finalists are announced, they performed a semi-impromptu speech, based on a long quote.
And I was actually chosen as a finalist! I ended up placing third in the competition, which was a HUGE accomplishment for me. I always thought I was pretty good at writing and public speaking, but the two months of training taught me how much I could improve. Through training and advice from my amazing speaker coaches, I was able to really feel the words of my speech, and then evoke emotion in the audience. It was a great feeling knowing my words could inspire another person. It was also really cool to win third place out of such talented and admirable human beings. Meeting and growing with them was just as rewarding as placing in the competition.
While I’m proud of how I performed at RNTS, I am more proud that I stepped out of my comfort zone to audition in the first place. I’m the type of person to wait for the perfect circumstance before doing anything, but this school year, I fought against that. I told myself that if I let opportunities pass me by, and stayed fearful of undesirable outcomes, my final two years of university would be a real snore, and I’d regret it. Competing in RNTS was a way of pushing myself to have a unique experience and seize the opportunity to grow as a person. And I’m so glad I did.
When you start your university career, I highly encourage you to push yourself to do more than schoolwork. You don’t have to be involved in every single student group or get so involved that your grades start slipping, but doing something meaningful and meeting inspiring people along the way is going to make your experience at Ryerson one million times better. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and do what you want to do. Enhance your uni experience, get involved, learn new things, be fearless. Believe in yourself…I believe in YOU!