WHAT ITC HAS DONE FOR ME – Well, it was all about ME!
I was desperate to improve my confidence and, I hoped, my conversation skills. Although I was terrified of joining ITC (POWERtalk) and took about three years and a good few visits to pluck up the courage, I finally made the commitment in 1987, and I began attending, as our middle daughter called them, my gang meetings.
The ladies in the group were so welcoming and supportive whenever I had visited the club, that learning to open my mouth in a group and manage some sort of intelligent statement seemed more of a possibility. When I was first asked to speak in table topics I said, “no – thank you” and stayed firmly seated. But eventually the time came when I was able to stand up and think of something to say, even if it was a lot of garbage, and amazingly, garbage was quite acceptable.
Then the ordeals started in earnest – especially the evaluations, and even worse – giving them. Although those taught me ways to improve my presentations, the valuable thing they taught me was to accept myself as I was and to learn not to feel put down when given ‘recommendations’. There had been 2-3 times in life earlier on when I was devastated by remarks people had made and those occasions have stayed with me forever.
Because of being a member of this very special organization, now when someone makes an unfortunate comment (and I’m talking outside POWERtalk), I am now able to tell myself – it is someone else’s opinion; if I know I’ve done my best then I can take comfort in that and put unkind words aside. I can tell myself that it’s OK and that gives a huge boost in confidence.
Some groups of people can still be intimidating, but at least I can manage to come up with a question or two, and have learnt that if you don’t know what to say then ask questions and make the other person do the talking.
Another thing that I have overcome, mostly, is getting the giggles when I’m nervous – I remember having to give a poetry reading at a meeting years ago and chose a Roald Dahl interpretation of Red Riding Hood. I started giggling half way through because the poem was funny, and it was agonizing – tears were streaming down my face and I couldn’t get another word out for ages. There are so many ways that nervousness can affect us, and to learn to control our nerves is another of the many valuable things that POWERtalk teaches us. Most of all I value the friendships I’ve made in the group, and the moral support and camaraderie that we share – there’s no better organization than this to belong to!