As a CPA and financial advisor, I’ve done public speaking for over 20 years. My largest audience ever was around 2,000. The topics were of course accounting, tax, business, investments and technology. Only those interested in such topics attend and pay any attention to my speeches. Two years ago I joined a Toastmasters Club here in Norman, OK. My first speech was an ice breaker and I had 4-6 minutes to speak about myself. I had no idea what to say about myself. It was my worst speech ever.
As time progressed my speaking improved, but the topics were not about business. I gave a presidential speech, I spoke about a national water grid, and just about anything other than business. Time came when I wanted to give a speech on my epic trilogy that comprise the beginning to my nineteen story mythology. My first attempt bombed big time. So I went back to the process of trying to describe the stories as quickly as I could. Here is how I approached this speech the second time:
- I classified the story as a mythology and asked my audience what they knew about mythologies. First step was to connect familiarity to Greek and Roman stories.
- I further identified the inspiration for writing this trilogy, specifically mentioning J.R.R. Tolkien’s works. This helped many understand what epic meant, if they had seen the Lord of the Rings movies.
- I spoke about the self-publishing route I had taken. I later discovered there were other aspiring authors in the group. This drew even more interest.
That speech provided me with the basis for answering readers questions at book signings and other events. As I moved on I gave a humorous speech and was urged to enter a humorous speech competition. I won three rounds of competition with the speech before finally losing. At each contest the speakers are interviewed. This was the opportunity for me talk about my books. Because of that I was approached by people who wanted to read the stories.
So if you are beginning the path of becoming an indie author, consider joining a local Toastmasters. Give it a try, there is nothing to lose and you also get valuable feedback on your ability to deliver what you write. This is a plus. Finally, I have an enormous amount of fun and laughter. Look up Toastmasters International and consider joining one today.
If you are an author and are already a Toastmaster, share your experiences here.