If you let your writing reflect your world view, your passion, your issues and your sore spots, the result will carry an emotional truth and gravitas that will be undeniable. ~ Keith Cronin

Why doesn’t speaking in public ever get any less scary?


I think it might be because you reveal more and more of yourself.

I have an upcoming speech on Wednesday. It will be my ninth speech for my Toastmasters club and my most self-revelatory to date.

The crowd of butterflies are already swirling.

Apparently I’m not the only one at my club who suffers. After canvassing a number of other club members, it came as a pleasant surprise to find that everyone, bar none, felt some form of panic before a speech – apparently, it’s perfectly natural.

Bruce, my adopted grandfather, tells me that nerves are necessary to bring us up out of ordinary mode.

‘Feeling nervous lifts us into a heightened state so we can go out and get our message across.’

As a firm believer in elevating a stage presence beyond the normal “conversational mode,” Bruce says, ‘it’s okay when you’re speaking in a small room, but, if you were in a big hall could you project the same message to fill the bigger space?’

These are the elements of speech craft which need to be mastered.


So far, I’ve found speech-writing is very similar to writing story. Ever since joining Toastmasters on June 10, 2015, I’ve noticed many parallels between the two disciplines.

For both writing speeches and fiction, you start with a germinating idea. You note it down. You wait. You get a few more ideas. You note them also.

A thought/song/movie/conversation comes to you and adds more material. This is the fun “gathering” stage. Or what New Zealand writer, Joy Cowley, calls the period of, ‘baiting the hook and waiting for the fish to come.’


Then, one day, you start jamming it together like some sort of wonderful jigsaw that begins to make this miraculous transformation before your eyes into a lovely picture.

The resulting speech or story is a masterpiece you then get to marvel over. Art is a process of alchemy, turning a whole bunch of random things into a new form. I love it!

Being a worry-wart, I have to worry about the creation of each speech and story anyway, let’s be clear! The creative process is still a partially anxious one for me. I worry over each of my babies. Will they come out the way I want them to? Will they be perfect?

book signing table

I’ve been gathering bits and bobs for my ninth speech ever since the last one. James Joyce said, Mistakes are portals of discovery. When you’re in the business of learning public speaking, you need to be willing to make mistakes. While it’s scary, it is also rewarding!

Only in the last few days, has this speech finally begun to take its shape. I feel very uncertain about it indeed, as I will be sharing some of the emotional abuse I lived through during three of my marriages. I’ve been reading a lot of articles by intelligent people, espousing that within the safety net of Toastmasters, we ‘tell our stories.’ This is my story – I’m a survivor of abuse. But all three of these men are still living, so where do we draw the line?


I’ve been writing this speech, trying to tell my story without dipping into the maudlin for the sympathy vote, or cheating the audience by skimming the surface.

I decided the only way to go forward with it was to take it from the point of view of my experience, without adding too many other words on top. What do you think?

What is considered slander and what is sharing my story? Any suggestions would be welcome!


Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol


Frank Baum. ~ The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid.


Subscribe to my Newsletter by emailing me with “Newsletter Subscription” in the subject line to: yvettecarol@hotmail.com

  1. Isn’t slander someone else saying someomething that’s not true. Though I guess you could do it yourself but isn’t that propaganda? Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Now, I’m going to have to go look it up. I always thought slander was when you raked someone else’s “good name” through the dirt.
      Okay, I’m back. The dictionary just says that it’s a falsehood uttered maliciously to damage someone else’s reputation, but it doesn’t say by whom. Take your pick I guess!
      Anyway, thanks, Catherine. It feels a bit like a minefield I’m picking my way through at present. You have to be so cautious.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really have no idea of the difference but I admire you for writing a speech about it! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If it’s true – it’s not slander. I have a similar experience involving my first job as a high school principal. The Superintendent was incredibly mentally, emotionally and verbally abusive. He was an attractive, young-looking man with a severe speech impediment (stuttering) which made people look upon him as harmless. They didn’t know the man who came into my office and closed the door. Tell your story loud and clear Yvette and don’t let any of those exes ever stop you from saying the truth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Hi, Clare, wow, what a story you’ve got there! That would really make an empowering article or short story, or blog post for you one day. I think these things do need to come out, otherwise we’re sheltering the abusers in some way.
      With this speech I’m giving today, my mentor helped me take all the abuse parts out actually – as she was right, I was trying to tell “two stories” – and this speech is about another angle. However, now that you’ve answered the slander question and encouraged me, I do feel I’ll speak on this subject in future – but another day, another topic.
      Thanks so much for the input! I appreciate it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • His Yvette, Yes, I fully intend to write a murder mystery set around the circumstances at that school and kill off that Superintendent! (The power of the pen.)
        Funny thing though, I left that job and got another one immediately. The pay was a lot more; I only had to do one job, Assistant Principal, (not every job); the principal at the new school has become a life-long best friend; and I re-met Charley and we ended up dating and getting married.This all would not have happened if I’d fought to stay there, as I had every right to do. Karma!
        I agree that you should consider putting some of your experiences in a book. Write a disclaimer at the very beginning on the copyright page. I’m looking forward to your Youtube video on your latest speech. Take care, Clare

        Liked by 1 person

      • yvettecarol says:

        Wow, the rest of the story is great too, Clare. You gotta use that material one day! It’s too good. Don’t you love it when you can see the sequence of events like that? Extraordinary. I love it.
        The video of yesterday’s speech is up on my YouTube channel now. It was quite the emotional rollercoaster putting this one together. In the end, on the advice of my lovely mentor, we took the abuse parts out and I think it’s perfect now. I say what it was clearly without pointing any fingers or dwelling on the unpleasantries. I make one particular point of repeating the statement he said to me which really generated the series I’m currently working on, The Chronicles of Aden Weaver. I think that’s fairly done.
        There has been some discussion since then, because the friend who evaluated the speech for me, said I ‘hadn’t connected with the audience because it came across as too rehearsed,’ etc. Though I felt hurt, that was my stuff, at the same time I knew he was right. It’s about getting the right blend between writing a speech and also allowing yourself to add to it on the day. It’s a very humbling business this Toastmasters journey, however, that in itself, is a very good thing. There’s a lot to learn – good! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree that it’s a tightrope we walk both in writing and speaking. But what some people like, others don’t so, we do the best we can. I’ll be watching the YouTube video and I thank you for the link. I do try to stay on top of things, but sometimes lose track.
        I think we both have valuable life stories to tell and can encourage each other to do so.
        I loved the photo of your son and nephew in the last newsletter. They looked like they were enjoying each other’s company. Take care, Yvette.

        Liked by 1 person

      • yvettecarol says:

        Yes, I love that photo, too. You can see the rapport and bond between them.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. emaginette says:

    I think it’s scary because we are vulnerable to the audience’s reaction, and that is something we can’t control.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Yes. I’ve experienced a negative situation too and I can tell you, no one wants to be there!
      I competed in the area level of the humorous speech competition at Toastmasters last year. When I started to say my speech, I was nervous already, and I looked into the crowd and realized the situation. Instead of my friends looking at me, with smiles and nods, there were only four people from my club, the rest were hostile strangers. They were there to support their club members, so to them, I was the competition, whom they didn’t want to outdo their guy. As I began my monologue, I looked from frowning face to this whole range of judging faces, and I tell you, my nerves went through the roof. One of the scariest things ever!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So a moment by moment reaction? I think that sounds interesting. When I discovered Barbara Streisand suffered from chronic stage fright, it actually made the whole experience of public speaking easier.


    • yvettecarol says:

      Do you know what, Joylene, that shows the power of our speaking up and revealing our insecurities! Because I heard that exact same thing about Streisand, and it reassured me too. There’s a healing power in sharing, and listening, and being heard. I love it! 🙂


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