Then I discovered that they had a surprise in store and were going to elevate me to Communicator of the Year, 2011 - "awarded by Toastmasters to individuals who have either helped promote public speaking/leadership or helped to develop understanding of the speaking and leadership worlds."
To say that I was surprised to the point of speechlessness would be an understatement. But, having just posted a clip of Lyndon Johnson saying "I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president", I'm pleased to say "I did not seek, but gratefully accept the nomination of Toastmasters for this award."
When writing hits the mark
From my point of view, what's particularly gratifying is that the award is apparently in recognition of the fact that quite a lot of members of Toastmasters have found my books on speech-making and presentation quite helpful.
As I've said to some who've written positively about them in the past, without such unsolicited comments, authors never quite know whether what they've written has hit the mark(s) they was aiming for. So to receive an award like this comes as both a welcome bonus and as an honour - for which I'm as surprised as I am grateful.
The only trouble is that two sources of stress will now be haunting me for the rest of the week.
One is that the audience at the conference lecture on Saturday will no doubt be checking to see if my performance comes anywhere near to matching up to the title Communicator of the Year, 2011.
The other is that I might have to give a Toastmasters' equivalent of an Oscar acceptance speech - which, depending on how many people I decide to thank and whether or not I break down in tears, could take up longer than my allotted time...