Last year, I joined Toastmasters as suggested by a book on how to write a non-fiction book proposal. The manuscript for my memoir has been complete for quite some time, but it takes an impressive proposal to impress agents and editors—especially the ones in New York. Part of that means building a platform. One way to do that is public speaking.
Back in 1998, I discovered I no longer feared speaking in front of a live audience when people started doing fund-raising events to raise money for my kidney/pancreas transplant. I found myself thanking those in attendance, or speaking to the congregation at the Methodist church my parents attend, and even doing a brief interview on Channel 5 News. Like it or not, I was in the public eye and had to sound intelligent. It turned out to be easier than I ever imagined it would be.
When the cancer let itself be known and I started chemo, I had to stop doing everything I once enjoyed, including Toastmasters. Several weeks ago, I decided it was time to get back to it and wanted to start out with a speech explaining my long absence. So, here it is: my YouTube debut. In the speech I mention how the chemo changed my voice, but it doesn’t sound different in the video. I’m not sure how that happened, because it is more raspy and hoarse-sounding. I’ve grown accustomed to it and even like it now.
Remember, I’m still polishing my speaking skills. Listening to myself, I hear a bit more of a Southern accent than I’d like to have. Overall, it’s not bad for someone who had been away from speaking for several months. JimFairbanks July 20, 2011 Toastmasters