Even better than the Bake Off…

Some of us managed to stay away from the TV culinary challenge of the year on Wednesday, and treated ourselves to a speaking one instead!  It was a fine meeting indeed, where we celebrated the return of newer visitors, and some dear friends, attending after a break. Thank you to all those who took part.

The night was beautifully chaired by Sam who brought warmth, energy and smooth efficiency to proceedings. His topic theme was ‘the best job in the world’ and we all duly took turns to persuade the audience that our career choice was best. Congratulations to Sarah, who won the best topic prize with her great conviction as dinner lady!  Other contenders were the traffic warden, the lorry driver, the night club bouncer, the weatherman, the teacher and tour manager… good fun, and highly original topics.

Michael generously shared his training wisdom and experience in part 2 of the evening, delivering a short perspective on speech preparation, and the integral value of ‘making a point’. It was a reminder that the desire to share stories and anecdotes about oneself is not always the most appealing or relatable part of public speaking!  A story without a point, he explained, is a ramble, and a point without a story is BRUTAL.  We can talk to our audience but how are they going to relate to us?  Examples, contexts, and stories underpin all valid points and bring them to life.  It was super-helpful, and clarified what may seem obvious and yet is often overlooked in speech-making!

Well done to Peter too, who cracked one of the toughest assignments in our programme, in his ‘Use of Humour’ speech.  It was a fine example of how subtle, observational humour is often enough to build and create empathy and rapport with the audience.  Running gags and clever jokes are rarely required;  keep it simple and stay close to your personal style.

We meet again in November, on the 9th and the 23rd, and look forward to seeing everyone there.

img_0961A dinner lady with a difference… well done Sarah!