Updated: Jan 30
I've been going to a Toastmasters club for the last few weeks to practice my public speaking skills. It has actually been way more fun than I anticipated, I am actually excited to go each week. Last week, I did my first 4 minute speech, and I thought I'd share it with you.
Some things I'd like to improve would be to move around less and to bring in some more stillness. For audience participation, I'd pause to let the audience answer before moving on. I'd also like to practice my speech more so it was less of me just winging it and more crafted.
I've come a long way since I was younger when I hated public speaking. Now, I want to do it on a larger scale and talk to young people all over the world. In order to get there, I know I have to practice. I have to get better and to gain experience before being able to do it professionally.
What better way to track my progress than to share it, and to have this journey, from start to finish, recorded. So, here's the video of my first speech, in front of the Toastmasters audience and the written out script, with some additional sections, is below.
Hey everyone, my name is Maeve Ronan.
Yes, you heard that right, Maeve. M - A - E - V - E. Not Meghan, not Meg, not Mary, not Maevey, Not Mavis, and certainly not Mauve.
Maeve. The name of warrior Queen Maeve of Ireland. The name of that creepy porcelain doll that sat on my parent’s shelf as a kid. The name of the plane my father flew on from Dublin to America, with $80 in his pocket.
And then there’s Ronan of course, the second half of my name. Relating me to either the villain in guardians of the galaxy or actress superstar Saorsie Ronan. Honestly, I’d be fine with either.
I used to hate my name. Did anyone else feel that way as a kid? For whatever reason, your name was too generic or too out there. Yeah, me too.
My name made me feel like I was different. I remember every time a new school year started, the teacher would be reading through the names and then pause, about three quarters down the list. Their head would tilt and they would start to stutter a “mm” sound.
I used to wait and see what they would say, I wouldn’t jump up to help them out, even though I knew it was my name they couldn’t pronounce. Let’s just say, no one ever called me Brave Maeve as a kid. I was too scared to speak up in school.
Once the teacher finally uttered some weird version of my name, I would say “Here.” If I was feeling really bold that day, I would whisper the correct pronunciation, just loud enough so they would hear it, not question it, and then move on to their next victim.
There were times when my name had its perks though. One being in Irish Dancing. Up on the stage with a bunch of wannabe Irish Americans, I knew I was the real deal with a name like that. I also learned that having a different name also makes people remember you better. They might not remember your name, but they remember that there was something unique about you.
I’ve grown to like my name since I was young and insecure. It’s not just that I like the name more, it’s that it suits me now. I used to think I was too normal for such an out there name. I used to think I was too shy for the name of a queen.
I remember I used to have to do public speaking for my 4H club when I was younger and it terrified me. My palms would sweat, my stomach would drop, and I felt like my heart was going to pound right out of my chest. I would have panic attacks trying to prepare presentations and wait until the last possible second to present.
I used to wish I was more confident and more outspoken. I wanted to be Brave Maeve. But I thought that just wasn’t meant to be, since I wasn’t born that way.
Through life experience, self-reflection, and learning from others, I’ve come to realize that those were all just stories I was telling myself. I could be Brave Maeve if I wanted to be, I just had to take the time to mold myself into the person I wanted to become.
And now, I can proudly say I have become the person I always wanted to become and am even still growing. I’ve lived all over the world, traveled solo to places like Martinique, Thailand and Bali. When I was 17. I trained a wild mustang just for fun. Heck, I’m up here, at Toastmasters voluntarily speaking in front of an audience.
I’ve always had it in me to become that person I dreamed of being. Maybe my name was waiting for me all along to grow into it. I just had to take the reins and decide what type of Maeve I wanted to be.
Whether you like your name or not, it doesn’t have to define you as a person for your entire life. Forget the name dictionaries and the mean nicknames people called you as a kid, let go of whatever stories you’re holding onto, and make it mean whatever you want it to mean.
I’ll leave you with this today. What is in a name? What does your name mean to you? It can be whatever you decide.