CATHY McGillivray can still remember addressing her first Toastmaster crowd two years ago.
Cathy was terrified but knew she had to overcome her social fears if she was to become a successful personal trainer.
"I'm a business owner, but I was so shy I wouldn't go outside to say hello to my neighbour,” she said.
"For me it was the fear of making a mistake or what people would think of me.
"It really used to freak me out so I decided to become a Toastmaster.”
Two years on and Cathy's public speaking abilities have become a runaway freight train after she won the divisional speech contest for humour.
Her speech, titled Super Heated Super Woman, was a self-help 'survival' guide for men dealing with women going through menopause.
"One of the things with menopause is, as a man you must try really hard not to breathe out, because women get annoyed when men breathe, and we tend to use pegs or pillows to silence them,” she said.
"All the women were just nodding their head.”
Cathy has benefited from one-on-one training with Bribie Island Toastmasters members John Knox and Jock Elliot who have a world title and 80 years' experience between them.
"They give you help and pointers along the way, everything is positive, there's no negative feedback, it's always done in a positive, helpful way,” she said.
Cathy said her confidence at work and in everyday life had improved since she joined Toastmasters.
"I'm so much more confident at gatherings whereas I wouldn't even go to them in the past, now I'm happy to jump in the deep end,” she said.
Cathy will face a crowd of up to 500 people when she competes in the district finals.