Part 1 - Define the Topic
If you are terrified of public speaking, then you are in good company. Most people are, including me.
I am a great believer in biting off more than I can chew and then figuring out how to swallow it later. After all, you don’t get anywhere in life by playing it safe. My latest mouthful is volunteering for a public speaking event. What was I thinking?
I’m going to take you through my journey in three parts.
Standing in front of a crowd is a terrifying prospect, but I’m going to do it anyway, because if I declined, I would regret it. Self-promotion is a necessity that accompanied the release of my romantic suspense novel ‘Inheriting Fear’.
At a recent Toastmasters meeting, Paul Shannahan said something that made sense to me: “Feel the fear and do it anyway”. It was exactly what I needed to hear!
It’s impossible to know what I can achieve unless I push myself out of those comfy flannelette pyjama boundaries. Now all I need to do is figure out how much wine I’m going to need to help swallow this mouthful...
Often I find that what I need seems to appear right when I need it. So it was with Toastmasters. This marvellous organisation provides a supportive venue for anyone who wants to improve their communication and leadership skills. I have met many exceptional individuals and learnt all sorts of interesting things by listening to accomplished speeches.
Now, just five weeks out from my speaking engagement, I’m not going to become an exceptional public speaker, but I do hope that by watching and listening I can at least garnish enough tips to help me get by. (Or at least be bold enough to do this thing.)
Part 1 - Define the Topic
The first hurdle is to decide on and define the topic for my speech. Thankfully, that part isn’t too difficult, because I’m speaking on a panel and the theme of our speeches is set. My Passionate Philosophy sounds interesting, but how does it relate to me? That is the tricky part.
I had a brainstorming session, and ended up with a page of things I could talk about. But then I had to sift through them to extract only those ideas relevant to the event. People aren’t coming to hear me waffle on about my love of chocolate cake, or my belief in home-made insect repellents. I was invited to participate on this panel of exceptional women, because I’m an author. My stories show courageous women, struggling against adversity. Yes, they are afraid, but they do it anyway. And so shall I.
So, I know what the theme for my books are, and now I had to let my unique approach to the subject matter shine through. Every one of the women on this panel could talk about literature subverting female stereotypes, but each speech would be different, because nobody has walked in another’s shoes.
No-one else has experienced life exactly as I have, and so I can put my own brand of reasoning into the subject of courageous women and their persistence to overcome hardship. Right there, I had it. Persistence is the only way to success. I believe that philosophy with every atom in my body, because I’ve experienced adversity, I’ve struggled to overcome difficulties, and I’ve persisted in order to improve my life.
Next week I’ll talk about techniques I used to write my speech.
If you live in South Australia, you might like to come along to My Passionate Philosophy on 12th April, at the Links Lady Bay Resort, Normanville. You will get to mingle with exceptional women, and have afternoon tea to the mellow sounds of John Lennon. Bookings essential.
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