It is now the end of January and I’ve published no new blog posts or podcasts. This is evidence that resolutions don’t work and that I am not disciplined enough. Or that I’m just way too busy to stick to a writing/podcasting plan. I’ll blame the latter.
Toastmasters International – Based in Orange County, CA
What is new to my creative communications tool belt, however, is my involvement with a local Toastmasters group at my work. Toastmasters International helps people become better public speakers – which I could definitely benefit from. We’ve been meeting every two weeks to practice our speeches and then we are timed and evaluated by our peers. Sounds fun, right?
My overarching goal with Toastmasters is to treat it like stand up comedy and practice making people laugh. My nerdy, shy, business version of clown school. So far, I’ve gotten a solid number of laughs and positive feedback. Even though I rely heavily on my notes during my speech, I love my written words so much, I don’t want to veer too far from them.
My first speech was about me being a passionate communications professional who doesn’t prefer public speaking. Today we met for our second official speech where we spoke for 3-5 minutes on a topic of our choice. My topic was ‘Ways to Enjoy Reading for the Chronically Busy’. I wrote this little beauty up in less than an hour right before the meeting, in true procrastinator fashion.
For the record, it was under the five minute time constraint. Some feedback I received was:
- Very creative
- I came across very relaxed
- Loved the specifics
- Great job tying it all together
- Good writer
- Got everyone’s attention with something they can all relate to
- Outlines within outlines (ways to get a book)
- Nice ad hoc comments to other speaker topics
- Negative: more than 20 ‘umms’ and too much reading of notes. (GUILTY)
For your reading pleasure, here is my speech. Forgive the funky numbering/bullets formatting issue.
Ways to Enjoy Reading for the Chronically Busy
I’m sure there are a lot of people here who love to read books, but claim they don’t have time to sit down and read.
I’m going to explain some ways you can find the time to read – and you don’t even have to sit down to do it.
If you have a library card and access to technology and some creative ingenuity, you can enjoy books while you’re on the go.
- I’m a busy mom of three young children as well as juggling a full time job. So I understand how difficult it is to read a book in the traditional sense.
- I have very limited time to myself.
- With my already limited time, I recently co-founded a book club with some other moms we called “Lit Chicks Anonymous”. Anonymous because there is some drinking involved, and we all often read in secret.
- I’ve been able to read four books in the last few month for Lit Chicks Anonymous with various technology: The Boys in the Boat, Bossy Pants and Labor Day.
- Books I’ve read had different tech methods:
- Labor Day is the most recent book I read in less than two days over the weekend. It’s written by Joyce Maynard and is coming out as a movie this month.
i. Our book club is going to see it together next month.
ii. This book I read on my phone using the Kindle App.
iii. I read it at the dinner table, at the gym, during homework, bathtime, in the car (as a passenger). I couldn’t put it down.
iv. A little anti-social/bad parenting but necessary.
- Boys in the Boat was an audio book I got free from a free trial membership on Audible.com.
- I finished it in less than two weeks playing it at 1.5x regular speed.
- Bossy Pants I got at the OC Public Library as an audio book.
- It was narrated by the author/comedian Tina Feye and it was really good.
- Listening to the comedic points in her own voice wouldn’t have been captured in a physical book.
- But it was missing the fun visual references of the actual book.
- Secret Garden for my eight year old daughter who is having trouble in third grade.
- I downloaded it as an audio book from the public library for my iPad
- Played it for my girls at bedtime
- She loved the beautiful language and the British accent
- They continue to quote lines from the book
- My process for getting and reading books is:
- Check the OC Public Library and the Mission Viejo public library to see if it’s available as an audio book.
- If not available, I check for eBook options at the library.
- If not available, I check for the actual book I can check out.
- If not available, I go to Amazon.com to see the cost for an audio book on Audible.com (partner) or Kindle version.
- I compare and contrast the various options and decide which is the best one based on
i. Price (free is always best)
ii. Method (audio is preferred)
- The Benefits of my non-traditional reading methods are:
- Significant cost savings
- Low commitment to ownership
- Less household/bedside clutter
- Avoid accidental book injury when falling asleep with a book
In conclusion, it is my fervent belief that everyone here can go back to enjoying reading again, even if it’s not the method you prefer. I encourage you to get a library card, download the Overdrive Media App on your phone, tablet or PC and start searching for books. Maybe I’ll even let you join my book club. Shhh…
I know I have room for improvement in the speech writing/stand up comedy industry; I’m just glad my heart palpitations went away! Until next time…