I remember when you first mentioned your ToastMaster events.
All you said is so true.
My first ‘book report’ ended up with me freezing and then breaking down into tears and leaving the classroom. I never wanted to have to stand in front of people like that again.
So, of course, I had to talk ‘debate’ in junior high. Learned how to stand in front of ‘troops’ in the military and give instructions / exhibitions… even to the point of me being a ‘lowly’ sergeant giving lectures to generals (and his entourage of lesser officers) on a windy hillside on the East/West German border.
Cut to years later when I was told I’d have to give a 3 hour ’roundtable lecture’ at a college on a weekend — because my boss didn’t want to do it. By then, I could stand up and give an entire ‘off the cuff’ soapbox lecture and didn’t sweat at all.
Like you said, practice and ‘varied circumstances’ really helped hone those skills.
( that and 20 years of my soapbox lectures here on the forum! )