Thursday, July 19, 2007
Is there a bridge you need to cross?
Are you afraid of public speaking? Pitching to an agent or editor? Being put on the spot? Interviewing for your next job?
Okay, what are you going to do about it?
I'd like to offer a suggestion after listening to the concerns, fears, and nerves of many of my new author friends. In order to gain confidence for your goal-practice. How? Easy. Join a group like Toastmasters.
I've belonged to Toastmasters now for about two years. There are some very particular skills I've learned that really help me when I'm under pressure. During the meetings, the agenda provides Table Topics. This time is created to help members think quickly in an interview situation. Often, it's a hilarious ten minutes out of the hour. You have 2-3 minutes to answer a question impromtu. The questions can be about absolutely anything. This is often everyone's favorite part of the weekly meeting.
Another thing you learn is how to give five to seven minute speeches. Since agent and editor appointments are usually about ten minutes, this helps you hone your ability to organize thoughts and keypoints within a specific time frame. You can go on from there to earn awarded titles for accomplishing certain goal levels. The opportunities are amazing, fun, and easily attainable. Job interviews can be more successful when you learn to present yourself more professionally.
Toastmasters helps create the polish and professionalism that many people don't know how to learn on their own. It has been a very helpful club for me.
The friendships and professional networking often become a solid part of your life. You'll gain confidence as you learn in a safe, fun setting with others who have similar goals.
The best thing an author/job hunter can do is to work on the skills relating to and communicating with others before you get put on the spot. A businessman who mentors my husband says, "Dig your well before you are thirsty."
Consider building your confidence before you need it:-) Think about stepping outside your comfort zone and finding out it's really fun.
Thoughts? Questions? Ask away.
Please visit www.toastmasters.org for more information. This site can even help you find a club in your area. You can visit a club without being a member. Find out what it's all about. Try a few different clubs to see how you click with the members and different meeting times or places. Different clubs do have personalities. (Mine happens to be full of a lot of funny people while another one in town has a more calm atmosphere.) Regardless, both are highly professional.
Are you ready to cross a bridge into a more confident future? Come on. You can do it. You can be more confident and comfortable as you grow toward your dreams.