In any case, everyone liked my speech, so here it is:
You helped me find my voice
In this grave hour, perhaps the most fateful in our history, I send to every household of my peoples, both at home and overseas, this message, spoken as I were able to cross your
threshold and speak to you myself. For the second time in the lives of most of us we are at war.
Fellow Toastmasters, Honoured Guests, Contest Chair,
These are the opening words of King George VI on the eve of World War II.
Despite his stuttering, he overcame his fears to address the British nation.
It's also the final scene in The King's Speech,
the Oscar winning movie directed by Tom Hooper, and starring Colin Firth,
who I am sure most women here know about
I understand what the king went through,
........ because I also stutter.
The king and I,
we know exactly what we want to say, but we just cannot get it out at that moment.
Stuttering is a neurobiological weakness in the brain that leads to temporary jams.
As you can imagine the handicap leads to fear, shame, stress, causing even more stuttering.
Unfortunately no cure exists but good therapy can ease the symptoms.
After many failed attempts, the King visits an eccentric Australian speech therapist: Lionel Logue, who teaches him speech exercises for fluency.
But they also work on overcoming his fears, and building his confidence as a speaker.
Today I want to tell you about one eccentric therapist that has helped me!
Actually, many therapists.
You! All of you at Toastmasters have provided me with a safe learning environment.
Three years ago, I was hesitant to join Toastmasters.
I felt like Mr Bean entering a bodybuilding contest.
But you have helped me improve my public speaking.
By being a good example on how to give a speech.
And, sometimes, by being a good example on how NOT to give a speech.
I have also benefited from your patience to listen to all of my speeches.
And from your constructive feedback.
Which, sometimes, I have to say, was too nice!
I learned from you that speech fluency is just one part of the success of a speech
There is so much more to communication.
Body Language: [Tom moves],
Content: To be or Not to be.
Humour. [ha, ha, ha!],
Confidence (chest out),
Intonation. (deep Oh yes.)
and ........ pauses.
Fluency is not my strong suit
but I discovered other qualities to compensate for that.
I also learned from you that I was not alone in my fear of public speaking.
I always thought that only people who stutter are scared of speaking in public.
Why else would you be scared to speak???
After all, all of you know how to speak.
Of course, some of you have joined TM precisely to overcome their discomfort.
And you have gained confidence and enjoyment in public speaking, too.
In a sense, we’ve been therapists for each other
That brings me to what Toastmasters is all about.
We all have our stories to tell.
But unfortunately we often don't tell them.
We are scared, we are embarrassed, we avoid, we obscure, and,
in my case, sometimes we stutter.
The king had doubts about his up-coming coronation.
Logue provoked him: Why should I waste my time listening to you?
And he angrily exploded: Because I have a voice!
And Logue replied: ...yes, you do.
Fellow toastmasters, honoured guest, contest chair,
We all have a voice. We just have to find it and make it heard
As for me: I have found mine in this speech to you.