Meeting Review! Wednesday 22nd November

Religion, Sex and Politics. The three subjects that Speakers Clubs should never go anywhere near. But that’s exactly what we had yesterday evening* in an explosive, blockbuster meeting chaired by Club founder, Debra!

Debra in the Chair

The traditional icebreaker saw Debra ask us to name one thing that we wouldn’t mind losing, with the audience giving answers such as their gardens, their sense of time and their noisy next-door neighbour! This warmed us up nicely for the Topics session where we were all given a discussion point on one of the taboo subjects of Religion, Sex and Politics. Despite the seriousness of some of the themes, it was all very light-hearted, great fun and and an undoubted success.

Michael's topic

Big issues of the day (as well as of yesteryear) were confronted by the eager audience who got well and truly stuck into the merits of Margaret Thatcher and Jeremy Corbyn, the scale of the housing crisis and real value of money, and the worthiness of charity CEO’s enormous pay packets. It was Don Bishop who came away with the trophy for best Topic of the evening, with his analysis of his namesake Donald Trump’s first year in office.

Don

How could we possibly follow this? Well in true Wimbledon Speaker Club-style we did just that with an engaging second half that saw Neil give his Level 4 speech, which saw him have to focus on the use of gestures and body language. Neil made a great choice of subject matter for the speech – overcoming his fear of scuba diving – which saw him able to use a wide array of gestures as he described being fitted with his diving kit and making the leap overboard! Sam evaluated Neil’s speech and gave him a solid pass, but with encouragement to take the stabilisers off and dispense of the lectern for future speeches.

Lissy then followed with an education session on the best way to structure a speech. As one would expect with such an experienced public speaker, Lissy gave us all some invaluable advice on the most engaging and logical ways to get from A-Z in speech structure and cleverly used props and a reference to the tale of Little Red Riding Hood in order to illustrate her key points.

It was left to Phillipe to round off the evening with the general evaluation which he did so in fine style and heralding the meeting as a roaring success! And with that, the audience made their way next door to the pub to enjoy a post-meeting tipple!

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We look forward to meeting once again on Wednesday 13th December (kick off 7.30pm) for the annual speech competition and for more practice and progress! Everyone welcome – especially new visitors!

*Shhhhhh don’t tell the ASC! :)

Meeting Review! Wednesday 8th November

Peter took to the Chair last night as another bumper crowd turned out at Wimbledon Speakers Club in order to practice and make progress with their speaking skills.

After an icebreaker session where we were asked to introduce ourselves and mention one thing in life that we’d not yet done (Skydiving and watching Game of Thrones were both referred to more than once!), it was onto the Topics session, where Peter cleverly devised a ‘film’ theme, giving us all topics based on titles of some of the Top 75 British Films Of All Time! ‘Fish Tank’, ‘Don’t Look Now’ and ‘Under My Skin’ were examples of the titles given and it was young Arsh, on only his second visit to the Cub who was voted to have given the best Topic with his response to ‘A Matter Of Life & Death’ – well done Arsh! It’s exciting to have so many talented young speakers joining the Club recently.

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The brief Business Session from Katherine saw her reveal the Title of the forthcoming annual Club speech competition, to be held in December. And this year participants have two titles to choose from – ‘Sowing Seeds’ and ‘Topsy Turvy’ – everyone is free to enter so let Katherine know if you’d like to give it a go!

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The second half of the evening saw two prepared speeches – a Level 2 from Rachel where she painted a wonderful and vivid picture of what the country of Colombia is like, as well as a Level 4 from Bilwa about what it takes to be lucky in life. Both speeches were given a firm pass from adjudicators, Joseph and Katherine and we look forward to hearing from both Rachel and Bilwa at their next respective levels.

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Michael rounded the evening off with the general evaluation, giving some great feedback on what we all did well as well as some tips on how we could get even better!

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We look forward to meeting once again on Wednesday 22nd November (kick off 7.30pm) for more practice and progress! Everyone welcome – especially new visitors!

Topics Evaluation: Top Tips

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At a recent meeting, Club Founder, Debra Owen-Hughes gave us all some valuable advice regarding the role of Topics Evaluator. The challenging task of Topics Evaluation becomes even more challenging when there are a large number of people who have taken part in the topics session and only a 10-minute set period to conduct the evaluation. Here were Debra’s main points:

1. Don’t run over time.  Count how many speakers you have and work out how you can get it into 10 minutes. Begin with a brief reflection on the Chairing of and choice of topics and then get going with the speakers. Leave out any of the more experienced speakers and you can always include them later if you have spare time.  Or, you could exclude anyone with a speaking role in the second half as they will be evaluated elsewhere in the meeting. One good tip would be to list and evaluate the new speakers on one page, and the ‘older’ speakers on another so they are clearly defined and you can move on to the second page only if there is time.

2. Depending on the time available, mention only 3 things per person at most. If you make a point for improvement, include a suggestion for how to improve, don’t just point it out.  Everything needs a solution or an idea about how to change it.

3. Be adaptable and flexible and keep it brief.  Better to say too little than too much, and if you’re feeling the time constraints, offer a single point well made.

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