Here's a heads up. I told you that I have been enjoying two Toastmasters clubs in recent months. Actually, I have been creating and presenting speeches at a rate that nearly matches my blogging productivity.
Libby has been very helpful. She comes up with the topic ideas, and she is the even patient audience that listens to me practice over and over again. She times my presentations. She ding's a bell every time she hears me say ah or uh or er, or if I do something distracting with my hands.
My preferred manner of expression has always been the essay, about 600-800 words in length. As you may have noted, most of my best blog posts are about 600-800 words in length. Toastmasters speeches are allowed 5-7 minutes which means (guess what :-) 600-800 words in length. In other words, the format suits me just fine.
So, I propose to publish my Toastmasters speeches here on this blog after I present them at the club. About one per week. The Toastmasters training program puts me through a series of about 70 speech assignments. Each emphasizes a different aspect, or gives experience in specialized speaking situations.
You should understand that speaking is not exactly the same as writing. For example, my assignment for next week is to emphasize body language. That is missing in the written word. Nevertheless, I hope that most of the speeches will entertain you in written form.
At the very least, these assignments encourage me to broaden my choice of topics and forms and especially to get out of my shell and speak about things (like feelings) that make me uncomfortable. Look for much more variety than you have seen on this blog in the past 12 years.
Each speech has an assigned goal. I'll explain the goal in italics at the start of each post. Look for a new speech about once per week. I'll post them in chronological order.
One part I can't publish here, unfortunately. A regular feature of Toastmasters is called table topics. That is when you are asked to speak 1-2 minutes extemporaneously on a topic chosen by someone else, and where you have no advance knowledge of the topic. Compare it to improv on Whose Line Is It. I find that kind of speaking very scary. Unfortunately, after the fact I have no written copy of what I said to post here.
p.s. I have a secondary motive. I think that Toastmasters is a wonderful organization. Perhaps, I can encourage you to try it out for yourself. There are local clubs everywhere. Guests are always welcome. There is no fee, and there is no undue pressure for guests to speak if they don't want to.