Public speaking, it's everywhere on the Coast. Engineers, environmentalists, civil servants, counsellors, artists, writers - we're all standing up to speak our minds.
It's great, but most of us struggle with it. Writers worse than most, trust me, I know from painful experience. And for that reason I joined a local Toastmasters club of which I now I find myself president.
On Feb. 5, the honour was mine to represent our Morningstars Club when Gibsons Mayor Rowe proclaimed February Toastmasters Month in Gibsons.
In thanking council, I explained that we would deploy this proclamation to kick-start our annual membership drive. Time didn't allow me to describe the fun we have at our weekly meetings, or to prove the miracle of Toastmasters - that here I stood before them, a writer who had learned to speak! How I wished I'd learned these skills as a younger man.
Writers are forced to do "stand-up," always pitching ideas to the money people, five minutes to make a point, powerfully and with confidence.
I wanted to tell council that just last month I spoke at a literary event in Mazatlan, Mexico. Upon my return, an American publisher contacted me. He'd heard me speak. He wanted to meet me. We did. He wants to consider my latest novel for publication.
Writers -do you hear what I'm saying? It's Toastmasters Month in Gibsons.
Of course, you don't have to be a writer. Among our members we count health workers, environmentalists, a money manager, shop owners, a pastor, therapists, real estate agents, PR experts, even engineers. No one, it turns out, was born a public speaker.
There are three Toastmasters clubs on the Sunshine Coast. Take your pick. Guests are warmly welcomed.
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