Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Let me Propose a Toast ...

Public speaking: Terror. Nausea. Failure.

Can I get a show of hands?

How many writers are ridden with anxiety at the idea of getting up to speak before a crowd? Fearful they'll open their mouths and nothing will come out ... terrified their voice will issue forth as a squeak, they'll forget what they wanted to say, they'll have to run to the bathroom and hurl?

I know. If we were meant to be speakers, God wouldn't have given us the ability to write.

I have one word for my fellow scaredey-cats: Toastmasters.

I've been attending for about three months. Last night, I walked into a new club where I didn't know a soul, and gave a speech about how I'm learning to sell myself. Didn't throw up. Did get some laughs.

Find yourself a local club (there are almost 12,000 in the USA and 90 other countries). Pay a visit, with no obligation. You'll learn something about public speaking, I guarantee it. You'll get the chance to practice -- before you have to stand up at a convention or a signing and speak in order to sell your books. Believe it or not, you may even enjoy it.

But just in case, they keep the barf bags beneath the podium.

Nah, just kidding. They stash them under the seats.

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