Recently, I joined the Proudly Speaking Toastmaster Club in Denver. Proudly Speaking is one of the few LGBT and Ally friendly Toastmaster Clubs in the world. The various members bring amazing stories to the group by delivering their speeches. I’ve learned about traveling in third world countries, LGBT icons, and the impact of nutrition on health. I joined to sharpen my speaking skills as I pursue the Powerful Today Podcast. Immediately, I received suggestions to be more discerning about uhms and ands in my speaking. In an early speech evaluation, I was encouraged to keep my eyes open. This is not a successful mechanism in dealing with the fear of public speaking. Whether my eyes were open or not the audience would still be present. Let’s just say I needed the practice and coaching provided by Toastmasters.
In June, it was time to present another speech. Proudly Speaking is a new club that’s been challenged with a few growing pains. The goal of my speech was to inspire the club members to engage in the success of our club on an individual and group level. As I came to the speech’s conclusion, I wanted to know if I had done my job. So, I asked the group to raise their hand if they supported the club’s future. As I looked around, there was resounding yes. The group was excited for what was possible for the future of Proudly Speaking.
Later that night, when my head hit the pillow, my eyes were wide open. There was a level of excitement throughout my whole body. I could see why people actually enjoyed public speaking. There is an incredible rush when you can connect and move people forward through your own words and passion. Proudly Speaking is a fun and safe place to build confidence in our speaking and strengthen the LGBT community. It provides an opportunity for a diverse community to be more articulate and empowered as we move towards equality.
For more information: Proudly Speaking meets the 1st and 3rd Mondays at 6:30 PM at the GLBT Community Center of Denver, 1301 E. Colfax Ave. On the 5th Monday, they meet at Hamburger Mary’s.