The old saying, “third time is the charm,” worked for me when I sought a Toastmaster’s club that would challenge me beyond my comfort zone.

 The club where I grew in my professional speaking field was filled with attorneys, tax accountants, scientists, entrepreneurs, and every day folks like me. Some spoke with humor and others didn’t. However, they all agreed that for our short presentation notes were not allowed.

 Speaking without notes was my greatest fear. How was I going to remember my speech without note cards or a power point slide or two?

 My task as well as my prayer was to find a way to make my three main points memorable for me without visible notes. The introductions and closes were easy for me to hold onto. It was the heart of the message that I would lose track of until my prayers were answered.


At 6 A.M. every Friday, our club met at Mimi’s restaurant in Lewisville, Texas. The setting never changed. The fireplace became my friend. I would mentally hang my three key points of my speeches on the fireplace when I practiced my speeches.

 The first point was put on the mantel with key items of interest for the opening point. The hot and most memorable point was the fire pit where my imagination had three logs each with a word that jarred my memory to move forward in the speech. The final point where my mental and physical gaze would go to was the decorative hearth broom that hung on the stone wall next to the open fire pit. This point was to sweep the audience away with a handle, straw points and a red thread that holds all the straw pieces together.

 After using this note-less method with success, my fear of forgetting my speech was gone.

 Even when asked to give an impromptu speech now, I need less than a minute to mentally decorate my imaginary fire place with three key pints that catch the attention of the audience, warm them up to the topic, and sweep them away with facts, information, or entertainment.

Speak on.