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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
The latest meeting of Wimbledon Speakers Club was once again an action-packed affair as members and new guests came together for an enjoyable evening.
This time it was Michael’s turn in the Chair and, as a 9 time National Finalist and 4 time UK Public Speaking Champion, it was a great pleasure to watch such an experienced speaker up close, putting everyone at ease and orchestrating events with such aplomb.
Michael delivered a variety of Topics for the audience to get their teeth stuck into, including ‘put your best foot forward’, you get what you pay for’ and ‘money can’t buy happiness’. And it was this latter topic that Joe, on his first ever visit to the club (!) attempted, delivered so well and was voted as the ‘best topic of the evening’ – well done Joe!
Like so many new visitors, Joe has come down to Wimbledon Speakers Club to simply improve his confidence in speaking in front of large groups, to help him to perform more effectively in meetings and presentations at work, as well as for upcoming events such as weddings. It really is the perfect place to hone those skills.
The second half of the evening saw an ‘Icebreaker’ (Level 1) speech from Josie on only her second visit to the Club. Alice evaluated Josie’s speech, gave it a pass with flying colours and we’re all looking forward to seeing Josie quickly move up the Levels!
Another round of quick-fire topics gave the audience the opportunity to speak again, before Katherine rounded the evening off with the general evaluation – giving us all insightful hints & tips to help us on our speaking journey.
We look forward to meeting once again on Wednesday 8th November (kick off 7.30pm) for more practice and progress! Everyone welcome – especially new visitors!