By Club Member, Nigel Tansley
It’s November 2019 and I am about to join Tunbridge Wells Speakers Club. I am looking forward to enjoyable evenings with a great bunch of people, between us honing our public speaking skills.
On 26th November, I went along to my second meeting and again received a warm welcome. Throughout the evening, I enjoyed watching everyone supporting each other as they overcame their stage nerves to have a go at prepared or impromptu speeches.
Taking the first step
To make the most of my time there as a guest, I put myself forward for a Table Topic speech, where the Table Topics Master for the night suggests a random topic – for which the time to prepare is the time it takes to reach the ‘stage’!
I suspect the audience wondered what on earth I was talking about, even if they could actually hear my mumbling but, nevertheless, they were, of course, very supportive and laughed at the right places.
My short speech was evaluated, very kindly, and I know that in due course as the weeks progress, and my confidence and ability to speak in these impromptu sessions increases, the evaluations will become more finely honed, with constructive criticism for me to work on and praise for the improvements I hope to make.
What are my goals?
I am joining Tunbridge Wells Speakers primarily to prepare for my lovely daughter’s wedding in June – and her handsome fiancé’s of course – where I will be required to present the ‘Father of the Bride’ speech.
However, in addition to this, I fear I may have to make presentations to more critical audiences, due to my opposition to proposals to concrete over large areas of Tunbridge Wells’ part of the Garden of England.
My next steps?
I am sure that my confidence will grow at Tunbridge Wells Speakers Club. Clearly, they go to a lot of trouble and take a great deal of pride in operating to professional standards, indeed, even being awarded the status of ‘Distinguished Club’ by Toastmasters International, with whom I understand they are affiliated.
One aspect I hope to work on is how to finish off a speech. May I practice now by saying to you: Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for your kind attention and I do hope you will join myself and the other members of the Tunbridge Wells Speakers at their conveniently situated and rather splendid venue in the centre of, not surprisingly, Tunbridge Wells.
(This is where I now trip over, as I scurry off the stage…)