You have two minutes on the clock and you must answer the next randomly selected question to the best of your ability. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure you say as few “ums,” “ahs,” and “ers” as possible. The question: How short would your life have to be before you would start living differently today?
It’s not necessarily the answer that is important, it’s the delivery. Did your answer have a beginning, middle and an end? Did it tell an interesting narrative? Was it personal and relatable?
This scenario describes a regular occurrence at a Toastmasters International meeting, called Table Topics. The Delaware Toastmasters chapter has been meeting at the Orange Branch of the Delaware County District Library every first and third Tuesday of the month from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
A Toastmasters group meets to regularly practice speaking in front of a group in a positive and uplifting environment. It strengthens an individual’s ability to prepare and deliver long speeches, as well as how to speak off the cuff, as one would during the Table Topics exercise.
Constructive evaluations and feedback are given within a safe space. You won’t need to worry about someone ringing a bell every time you say “um,” but you will be made aware of certain “filler words” or phrases that you use, which might be distracting to your point.
Guests are welcome at any Toastmasters International meeting, and the library is proud to be a partner with the local Delaware Toastmasters chapter. The next meetings will take place on March 5 and March 19. If you join, you’ll be among other famous Toastmasters such as comedian Tim Allen, singer Carl Dixon of The Guess Who, MSNBC host Chris Matthews, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation founder Nancy Brinker, and Mrs. Fields Cookies founder Debbie Fields Rose.
As you read on this week, discover some other notable individuals whose story has been captured in a recent memoir.
• “The Truths We Hold: An American Journey” by Kamala Harris. A candid and inspiring memoir from California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris, who recently announced her 2020 presidential run. Take a journey into Harris’ solutions to tackling some of the most divisive issues in American politics, including immigration, national security, income inequality, and the opioid crisis.
• “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive” by Stephanie Land. Single mom Stephanie Land struggles to make a living as a housecleaner and dreams of attending college to become a writer. Intimate and affecting, reviewers say it is “an important memoir that should be required reading for anyone who has never struggled with poverty.”
• “Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love” by Dani Shapiro. After submitting her DNA for analysis on a whim, Dani Shapiro discovered that her long-deceased dad was not her biological father. Grappling with the consequences of this shocking family secret, she set out to uncover the true story of her parentage.