Today, at our ACT I meeting, we had an excellent speaker. You might never have known she was relatively new to her role as a public speaker, except, I asked that question! Her answer, only a few months....
Thea North is Gilda’s Club main Receptionist and Volunteer Coordinator. Her story is unique in that the first time she pushed open the big red door in December 2005, she was newly diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer—and, in her own words: “Scared to death, I was in my support group for 18 months, then I started to volunteer, then I got hired! I’m happy to say I’m now 10 years cancer free. I like to call myself a Gilda’s Club Thriver.”
Imagine having to address an audience on a topic as morbid as cancer. What would you do? This lady, she knocked it out of the park! With her own personal story, rife with humorous tidbits, appropriately sprinkled like breadcrumbs along the way, she engaged with her audience. Any professional speaker would have been "wowed" by this presentation.
The healing nature of laughter goes a long way to heal the pain of a subject matter as difficult as a killer disease. Uneasy would be the norm for any audience, so you had better find some way to "keep it light." She did. People were laughing through their tears. How cool is that!?
After the meeting, I spoke to her about Toastmasters. I said a couple of things, in two different ways. I told her she was going to love Toastmasters and Toastmasters would love her. I told her that Toastmasters is a place for getting better and even more so, for helping people to get better. No, I wasn't talking about cancer. I was talking about love.
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Like answering on Jeopardy in the form of a question,
You can change your thoughts on speaking with a simple suggestion.
I’m here to tell you for sure, there is no cure,
save love, to free your mind, from something so unkind.
If you are blocked by fear, listen here, what I say will make it clear.
It’s not about you; it’s about what you do.
Love will show the way, your affection display will save the day.
Like the lines of a play, there’s no story if you don’t say,
what the people need from you, this is what makes it true.
You came here to give a gift, inspiration provides the lift.
Everybody out there wants what you came to deliver.
Nobody here wants to see you sweat, shake and quiver.
So, steady yourself, resolve to show your steely nerve.
Tell us the whole story with pomposity and verve!
You think I’m making this up as I go along?
Heck, no! I wrote it down, so I could sing it like a song.
You can do it, too. It’s as easy as thinking out loud.
When you run your own script, you might even feel proud.