Monday, June 17, 2013

Speaking To Write Better

Toastmasters? Parsons, you're on a author's blog. Hello?
I've been in Toastmasters for over seven years and can say with confidence that it improves your writing craft, in a big way. First, Toastmasters helps you to write. Before you give a speech, you must write it. Most speeches from their manuals have a theme, some parameters that you must work within. What a great way to practice your writing skills. Next, your peers will critique your speech. Toastmasters encourages positive criticism, and you will realize that you're among friends that are committed to your improvement. Perhaps your speech wanders too much. Excellent! Your posse let's you know that, and you can adjust and write better. Because most speeches are between three and ten minutes, you must learn to write in a tight and concise manner. Toastmasters makes for a great place to screw up. You froze halfway through your speech? Wonderful! What better place to freeze, rather than at a pitch session. My agent Terry Burns was hearing pitches. One woman sat and froze up, then broke down and cried. He waited for her to compose herself and since she was his last pitch, suggested they go outside for a walk. She presented a good pitch of her manuscript. And you thought agents were hardhearted. While traveling on our 50 States in 50 Weeks tour, someone left a business card on the seat of the bike, indicating his father rode too, and was a member of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association. I called the number, reached him, and within the hour found myself speaking at their evening club meeting. Talk about no time for preparation! Yet Toastmasters gave me the tools to speak with poise and confidence.
We writers are a solitary lot too, and Toastmasters enables you to get out, meet others, and work on skills together. It also drags you out of your comfort zone. We all could use a little dragging.
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1 comment:

  1. That story of Terry's always touches me. He's such a gentle man!

    Terrific promo for Toastmasters, Kevin. I kinda skipped that step before diving into public speaking. But I still enjoy public speaking!