Is it worthy being couragous?

Do you know Khushi Pasquali? 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
couragous…” 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 couragous. 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 Toastmaster club, it came back to me immediately ”Ewa is couragous…”.
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. They wanted to establish ethos. 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?

Ups, 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 liguist and americanist, a translator and teacher. Or
maybe all of that was not that important . Maybe more important to them were my 4 years of experience
as a Toastmaster, in clubs in Berlin and Warsaw. Maybe more important was 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 my education and my experience.
When the ethos part was done we smooothly 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 – 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 – always remember about these three – ethos, logos and pathos – none of these may be ommitted.
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 couragous. 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 couragous! 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

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