Our meeting on Tuesday 28th May was a special event; a Speakerthon, where six club members presented a pre-prepared speech.
What is a Speakerthon?
We refer to a Speakerthon as a ‘special’ event because it differs from our normal meeting structure, which is three prepared speeches and evaluations, then a break, followed by impromptu 1-2 minute speeches.
What is special about a Speakerthon?
Learning how to craft and deliver speeches is a major part of why we attend a speakers’ club. Our Speakers’ Club, here in Tunbridge Wells is affiliated to Toastmasters, an international organisation. This enables us to participate in their educational programme, based around 10 different Pathways, which gives us the option to choose an educational programme best suited to our own personal ambitions. Membership of Tunbridge Wells Speakers’ Club has grown in recent years and we are delighted that the majority of our members are progressing along their own educational pathways.
Members are from all walks of life, all with different careers, jobs, backgrounds and experiences and personally I love hearing prepared speeches. It is as if we are being given a private window into a fellow club member’s life, and an opportunity to share in a life-changing event which has shaped them into the person we know them as now.
Many of our members are practising their skills to better deliver polished presentations in their work setting, so we are not only treated to inspiring personal stories, but we also gain an insight into interesting topics of which we have no knowledge of at all.
At the Speakerthon, all six of our speakers really treated us. There was a depth to the stories, particularly the personal ones. During the evening we laughed, held our breath in anticipation; we were transfixed and captivated.
Why are evaluations so important?
But it goes beyond delivering a speech as, fundamentally, we are there to learn and improve our skills. Each speaker receives an evaluation of their speech. Evaluating a speech is a real skill. The evaluators listen intently to the speech. They consider the delivery, the structure and content, audience reaction and interest. They encourage the speakers, ever mindful of their level and experience, by providing feedback on what they have done particularly well. Their real gift to the speaker and to all of us listening lies in their advice on what can be improved, which areas and elements would lift the speech to the next level and help the speaker gain confidence and polish.
As a club, we have worked hard to raise both the level of speech-craft and delivery as well as the quality of the evaluations given, as the two go hand in hand. If we are honest, there was also a slight self-indulgent feeling of pride and self-congratulation inspired by the quality on show.
Why you should come along to one of our meetings?
To everyone looking to improve their public speaking and communication skills, banish their nerves and/or craft a keynote or best-man speech, do come along to one of our meetings. Our guests tell us that they receive a warm welcome, often remarking that the club seems ‘fun’, ‘friendly’ and ‘not at all what they expected’. We work together to build each other’s skills in a positive and encouraging way.
Everyone is at a different point on their journey, but what unites us all is that we took a positive step forward.
We meet every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month and we look forward to welcoming you.