This was the first meeting in the new venue and we arrived early to set up, it delayed the start time as we were familiarising ourselves with the facilities, which includes a kitchen so we can bring our own refreshments!
There was a an explanation of lights which should form part of the meeting to ensure that everyone understands their purpose. At the start of the first speech the light keeper did make an error and started the timer late. As we have learnt this is something that can disrupt the speaker as the lights can be used as prompts to remind the speaker that they are coming to an end. The time keeper should have allocated this task to someone else and did so in the second half of the meeting.
Helen provided us with a wonderful welcome and advised that she was anxious about us meeting together again, but was pleased with the new venue and hopeful would have a positive impact on improving our speaking skills. There were some new people in attendance so a round of introductions was in order, to welcome newcomers and make them feel part of the group.
We had a lesson from Ewa on impromptu speaking, which we have not had before. There was an opportunity for people to get up and tell there stories. This allowed people the opportunity to speak on a topic they know well. There were examples of really good speech’s and excellent use of voice. Because the speakers related to their stories the emotion and intonation in the voice was natural and fluid, the body language was relaxed and the hand over was smooth and eloquent.
Club Business- There was a noted to remind members who are chairing the meeting to get organise the meetings in advance to allow for preparation. Also a reminder to those who attended that there were actions to take- this is important to ensure that the club moves forward.
Maria provided an evaluation of the speak and although new to evaluation she provided good feedback to the speakers. She stood firmly at the lectern and used arms to express herself, and added humour to the speak with good insight. There was good use of eye contact with the group and good facial expressions. She thanked each speaker, which was a warm ending to each evaluation. Just a learning point when we evaluate we are providing the audience with learning tips and rather than direct the evaluation at the speaker we should direct this to the audience.
David evaluation opened with the humour that was deserving of the speech he was evaluating. David has a good voice, he used his hands although not excessively he used them direct the audience attention. There was use of notes but these were not obtrusive.
It was noted that as a speaker we may have a turn of phase that we frequently use in conversation and we may be aware of the frequency which we state such phases such as “there you go”. It is worth just being aware of these phrases which can be difficult when under stress as these are our go to phrases.
Topics, was well explained by Maria, and how the evaluations was going to work. Maria set the scene for each speakers, this was a story in itself. There were good links between each speak.
There were some challenging topics but allowed the group to have fun and use the opportunity to explore story telling skills. The group made excellent links between each of the stories and built of the themes. The stories the group told were told with conviction.
Bill, demonstrated use of good salutations. He had his arms on hips and was able to relate to this story and able to extrapolate this to his reality. He was looking up as he was thinking, he used his hands as his anxiety was lifting, he created some pictures, of fires and he had a look of confusion on his face when he was listening to the language. The story was very convincing and believable.
The evaluations enabled everyone to have the opportunity to speak again which I am sure is appreciated, as it increases the opportunity to practice speak and enables us to practice evaluation which is a skill that requires development, as it was noted that during evaluation we need to move beyond commenting about the voice and body language and move towards the more sophisticated evaluations which include; what was the argument of the speech, was it an appropriate for the audience; was the speech well structured, did it have a point; how convincing was the speaker etc..
The venue it self was a welcome change from previous venues and is more conducive to speakers club. Overall it was lovely to be back together and the venue did enhance the speaking experience.