Wednesday, October 7, 2015

#IWSG: Speaking From Experience

It's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group blog posting. IWSG was created by the awesome ninja captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, and you can find a list of all the other members of the group here
 
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
 
Alex's awesome co-hosts for the October 7 posting of the IWSG will be TB Markinson, Tamara Narayan, Shannon Lawrence, Stephanie Faris, and Eva E. Solar!

 
 
 
Any writer who plans to market their own work, at that is probably about 99.9% of us, speaking well is a benefit well worth pursuing.
Even if you never intend to do a book signing, a radio interview, or join a panel discussion, speaking well gives you the confidence to excel in other areas of writing.
I’ve been a fair-weather member of Toastmasters since 2010. I would give one or two speeches a year before my local club members. Then I would take on other roles in weekly meetings for a number of weeks before drifting away. My ability to speak in front of an audience never improved.
This year, I decided it was now-or-never. I wrote and gave Speech #7 in July. Scared out of my wits. Held only the polite people’s attention for any length of time; misunderstood in my main point by others. I decided I needed more help than I was getting up to date.

Ask and you shall receive.

Our VP of Education agreed to mentor me. After I wrote Speech #8, she did a quick edit. I practiced, practiced, practiced the speech until I felt confident it was the best I could do. I gave the speech, entitled Writing the First Draft and won the blue ribbon for best speaker that week.
I was so excited about winning, I posted an article on my blog site and spread the word on Facebook. The editor of Sisters in Crime, Inc.’s newsletter, First Draft, asked me to write an article for November that explained speaking with confidence is beneficial to writers. With my confidence level soaring, I wrote and submitted the article.
From there, everything I touched turned, well, not to gold, but into a successful project. I wrote an emotional speech for Speech #9 but it was so emotional, I had trouble with the beginning and went over my allotted time. Even though I was ineligible for a blue ribbon, I was voted best speaker that week. Trust me, I didn’t care about the ribbon.
In October, I am holding a “mock” Toastmasters meeting for our Sisters in Crime/Hawaii monthly meeting, to give our members a taste of how learning to speak in front of an audience or small group is a beneficial goal for all writers.
You may have seen the survey that shows the most feared human experience, even ahead of dying (as in: I’d rather die), is speaking in front of an audience. Admitting you are petrified to speak in public is a good first step toward becoming a confident speaker. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience.

 

 

15 comments:

  1. I used to speak in front of groups all the time, so I was more comfortable with it, but not now. Ugh. Talk about insecurity. Speaking in front of others will do it.

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    1. "They" say people fear speaking in front of an audience more than the thought of dying (as in, "I would rather die!") I decided to live. :)

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  2. I was always petrified of speaking in front of an audience, but learned to control that fear (to a degree) over time. When I say petrified, I mean chills, nausea, stomach cramps, the works. Since my bleed in 2011, it's become more difficult because of my tendency to get overwhelmed easily. It's one of the big things I'm working on.

    Congratulations on your accomplishments as best speaker, and good luck with your "mock" Toastmasters meeting. Have a great day. Eva, IWSG Co-host

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    1. Thanks for the "congrats" Eva. I still get nervous when I speak. My last speech was a bit too personal and I froze at the beginning. Jump-started the talk and did a good job after I thawed out, though.

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  3. Good for you for keeping at it. I used to hate speaking in front of groups. Then I started teaching and that helped me get past it. But I can't rehearse too much.

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    1. Unfortunately, I cannot seem to get the hang of extemporaneous speaking and need to practice, practice, practice!

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  4. Wow! Props to you and congrats for getting over that dear! I'm so deeply terrified of public speaking that I have panic attacks, even just thinking about it gets my heart racing. Like, I can't even do it in a casual setting among friends. It sucks :( Maybe I should find a group like that??

    - Madilyn Quinn @ NovelBrews

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  5. Yes, Madilyn, if you join Toastmasters, the group can help you work around your fears. I'm still working at it after five years!

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  6. I used to have to give a lot of speeches in my work life. Overcame the fear after years and years. Then I started singing. Talk about terror. Now I just have a blast. We have to work thru these things in order to get the things we want. Not easy. Congrats on overcoming your fears and doing so well and turning it into such writing success.

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  7. Great post. I need to take lessons from you.

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  8. Good for you, Gail. Once upon a time, I was a Toastmaster. Won several competitions. But never won the big one.

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  9. I've been a professional speaker for years and some people really struggle with it. So much that they quit trying. Kudos to you for continuing to try. I think with public speaking, the three keys are passion about your subject, knowledge about your subject, and knowing to whom you are giving the speech.

    If you're an author, you're going to end up taking in front of a group at some point. Might as well practice early.

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  10. I don't like speaking in front of others, but I can do it.
    Cool the VP offered to mentor you.

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  11. Like Alex, I don't like speaking in front of people, but I'm able. I will say that I got significantly more comfortable with it after holding a position for two years that required I stand in front of an audience at least once per month to speak. I still dread it, but find it has become more natural for me. I do like giving workshops on things I'm familiar with, but not so much giving straight speeches or emceeing.

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  12. I don't speak in front of crowds. I freeze. The thought of impromptu speaking terrifies me.
    However, I LOVE reading out aloud. That's because I'm a teacher.
    I'm sure this doesn't make sense...

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