Do you know Khushi Pasquale? No? She’s a woman who will change your life, if you meet her. Well, she changed my life by one simple sentence about me. With her usual confidence she stated: „Ewa is courageous…” as she introduced me to the audience when I was about to present my speech for a Humorous Speech Contest in 2016 in Berlin. Never mind the anonymous 100 people. Olivia Schofield, my mentor and Top Woman speaker 2011 and Florian Mueck were there to give feedback. Of course, I wasn’t the highlight of the evening. Olivia was giving a workshop, there were other contestants with their hilarious speeches and me – feeling everything, but courageous. Yet, Khushi said that….. and now I feel obliged and bound by her – now I can see it – prophetic statement.
So when I saw an invitation in our club’s internal whatsapp group to go to Procter and Gamble to encourage them to set up a Toastmasters club, it came back to me immediately ”Ewa is courageous…”.
And before anyone had a chance to answer, I wrote back: „I’d love to give it a go”. That’s how prophetic statements work.
And yes – it takes a lot of courage to go to a group of highly intelligent, high flying strangers, most of them European regional directors in an international corporation and encourage them (maybe even convince?) to set up a club IF they don’t want a demo meeting. Especially, if you’re going the next day.
OK, I thought over what I wanted to say, I wrote it down in bullet points and equipped with that list and my encouraging attitude I set off to take the bull by the horns.
Before I left home, I had cleaned my handbag, just in case they wanted to screen it (they didn’t) and took a book to read for a long journey to the outskirts of Warsaw. When I came into a conference room full of people, all faces looked at me with curiosity – they just didn’t know me. Before I started my part they asked me who I was.
Ethos –one of the three pillars of a convincing speech. Ethos – your credibility, why you speak to us on this matter. The two others are logos – data and facts, and pathos – emotions. These three were coined by Aristotle more than two thousand years ago and are still valid today.
I had my facts and emotions prepared beforehand – logos and pathos parts – but I completely forgot about ethos. How come? Me – a seasoned Toastmaster? How could I have forgotten an essential part of any successful speech or presentation?
Oops, I had to think on my feet – they weren’t definitely asking me if I was a wife and a mother. They definitely wanted to hear that by education I was a linguist and americanist, a translator and teacher. Or maybe all of that was not that important . Maybe what was more important to them were my 4 years of experience as a Toastmaster, in clubs in Berlin and Warsaw. Maybe it was more important that I was going through advanced manuals and was a winner of a few Speech Contests and a storytelling evening in Berlin. Maybe even more important to them was that I gave a workshop to 300 people in Athens and that I was a speech coach. These are the things that establish me as the right person in the right place – the ethos part.
So when they asked me „Who are you?” I told them about my education and my experience.
When the ethos part was done we smoothly went over to logos. It was easier because 2 employees participating in that meeting had had some Toastmaster experience and they had a lot to say. They did a great job! Finally, they asked me how I had joined Toastmasters. Oh, I could have talked about it for hours, but I limited myself to one short story. If you would like to find out about it– you can read it here.
Like in my article, I ended on a high note – Toastmasters is a family and in this family you decide if you’re in or out. It was the pathos part.
The meeting was over and they were already discussing their future meetings.
I’m so glad I took up the challenge and went to the meeting. I’m grateful for what P & G guys reminded me of– always remember about these three – ethos, logos and pathos – none of these may be omitted. That’s what the aspiring, or rather hesitating Toastmasters taught me.
Thank you for that lesson. I hope you set up a club and if you do, I’m sure you’ll be excellent, fly high and enjoy your journey.
Thank you Khushi – for calling me courageous. It opens up new spaces for me. It gives me….. yes, it gives me courage to stretch myself and take up challenges.
And if you’re hesitating whether to stretch yourself – I say „Yes, do it! Be courageous! New spaces will open up for you!” And you may even thank me for my advice. IF you take it.
Author: Ewa Czech, Toastmasters Polska SA, past member of First Berlin TM, Ewa Czech Public Speaking Storytelling