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
. Part of that means building a platform. One way to do that is public speaking. New York
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