Yesterday I gave a speech for Toastmasters called "The Icebreaker" project. Toastmasters is an organization that is set up expressly for the purpose of developing speaking and leadership skills. Years ago I joined a different Toastmasters chapter and went with my friends to several of the meetings. I got up a few times to do "Table Topics" which is giving an impromptu speech and that just killed my desire to get up and speak because my mind would blank, my throat would tighten up, I would nearly pass out and basically I would mutter a few things and sit down. That was the wrong approach, I was not confident or organized enough to be a part of Toastmasters back then... but I think I am ready now.
I talked about myself, "The Icebreaker" is an introduction to who you are, the title "Finding My Voice." Basically I discussed how it is difficult for me to give speeches and it has been difficult for everyone in my family to speak up because we all have struggled with some type of illness or another that affects the brain and how it organizes thoughts into speech. My older brother has Autism, a disorder where the brain ineffectively filters out the input from the world, sensory overload, and thus makes expression difficult. My younger brothers (my youngest brother in particular) struggle with ADHD and that too makes expression difficult. I and my younger sister have struggled with Major Depressive Disorder and health problems that have made it difficult to speak up.
This speech was very raw and I made myself very vulnerable by discussing these things, as well as the difficulties that I faced as a young mother striving to get through high school and college. I am pleasantly surprised that I was able to give this speech, in a coherent manner and without fainting. My next speech is set for a couple of weeks out, I'm going to put even more thought into writing this one and practicing.