I’ve been around this planet a long time, having been born in the 1960’s, so I would have expected by this stage I would been able at any moment invited to stand and confidently and competently speak to an audience.

However, looking back to those times in the past when I seemed to cope well enough speaking before small audiences, perhaps the real reason I managed was that I knew my topic inside-out, so I was confident to deal with any questions or critical responses that might come my way. Hardly what one would call public speaking skills.

In fact the truth is that for years I avoided getting up on my feet in public, even though on many an occasion I would have liked to contribute my viewpoint on matters I was passionate about and had sufficient experience to comment on, in a public forum.

For years I watched others who with no preparation, rose to their feet and calmly and competently expressed their views, as if they’d been chatting in their loungeroom.

I can’t say I’ve longed after many things in this life that I haven’t had the opportunity to actively seek after, but confidence in public speaking was something I continually regretted never having achieved, undoubtedly due to my own inhibitions.

For over 30 years I had been in those 24 x 7 type employment roles in remote areas that consume one’s every hour of the week and as a national community we weren’t yet up to zooming in groups. So when I left my longterm role in community development to study philosophy and religion in the city, it was a golden opportunity to join Rostrum. I attached myself to Club 10 in Brisbane City and instantly realised it was something I wanted to continue to belong.

It has been a really wonderful experience for me to be part of a group that is so genuinely encouraging at every level and which provides a friendly space to learn to public speak, one step at a time. Whether someone already has some skills in that area and wants to build on that, or they are a beginner like myself.

I still have that same goal in sight of one day getting to that point that I can confidently and thoughtfully readily express my views in a public forum. Though I still have a long way to go in that regard, I feel I’m on the road to making that a reality one day.

Shelley Houghton

Member Qld Rostrum Club 10

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