October 2015 meeting summary

Dear all,

Thank you to all who were able to attend our October meeting last Tuesday. As always everybody there can take credit for making it another enjoyable and educational evening, whatever your role.

Due to many different circumstances there were relatively few members present however I personally feel that we still made it worthwhile. It was really nice to welcome our 3 new visitors: Maggie, Anosh and Arthur. Also a pleasure was to welcome back Donna and Jason as returning visitors, I hope that I can formally welcome them as members soon!

The meeting was Chaired by Steve. It was very fortunate that due to the limited numbers to have such an experienced Chairman who was able to make the evening run smoothly, and make it look easy at the same time.

Steve opened the meeting with a slightly unusual twist. He asked us to go around the room and for each of us to give an example of how we had used our voice during the week. I really like the idea of all of us getting a chance to speak early on. I think that it has a potential pitfall of keeping the meeting to time if not handled correctly, however once again Steve worked his magic and made it happen.

We were then treated to two speeches which I think everybody thoroughly enjoyed and I think was able to learn something from.

Firstly Stuart talked to us about taking part in a triathlon and his chosen assignment was use of gestures. It was hugely entertaining and in places very funny and could have been a mini masterpiece speech as his delivery was so strong in many of the different areas. He incorporated gestures really well. For me it really highlighted just how much can be added to a speech by the skilful addition of appropriate action. It left me with a learning point that I need to take more notice in this area.

Next David Dempsey showed off his trademark style of relaxed style of speaking. His chosen assignment was speech construction. He chose the subject of travelling which we all know is a subject very close to his heart. In fact, I’m fairly sure that if she had been in attendance, David’s list of holidays and planned holidays would have left Judith Chalmers feeling that she hadn’t been away for a while.

I remember when David first came along as a guest. He did get up and join us for a topic but I remember him saying that he was uncomfortable doing it. I also remember him making his first formal speech and once again being nervous. I wonder if David is aware just how much he has changed and grown as a speaker since those days. He seems very happy now standing at the front and not at all self conscious, a great skill to have. After all, this is what we all come to speakers club to learn.

Our two evaluators for the evening were David Corns and Graeme.

David began by evaluating Stuart’s speech. As we would expect David covered all of the basis, beginning by telling us what he was evaluating and constructed his evaluation as a mini speech.
Unsurprisingly he passed Stuart on this level with no hesitation. What was more surprising was that he didn’t really give any learning points. While not overly critical, David has a very good attention to detail and spots things that many less experienced evaluators may miss. When David has no learning points you know you’ve done a great job.

The difficulty I have now is to make comments about Graeme’s evaluation. The reason it’s difficult is that as he and David Corns are both so experienced that I almost want to repeat my earlier comments. “As we would expect Graeme covered all of the basis……….”

Needless to say it was again a thorough and well presented evaluation. The notable points were the way that Graeme delivered the learning points. This for me is the skill in evaluating. It’s very easy to pick faults, however knowing what is right to point out and to point them out in a way that is supportive and leaves the speaker feeling good about themselves is a different matter. Graeme as expected delivered on both accounts.

After the interval Karen took on the role of Topics Chair for only the second time. You wouldn’t have known it though.

As has been said before Karen is so engaging at the lectern and her enthusiasm is courageous. Topics chair is role that can look deceptively simple yet to select a theme that lends itself to being interesting, challenging and fun can be very tricky.

Karen got it right. Choosing technology as the theme she selected topics for everyone which seemed to be at the right level. It wasn’t just her choice of topics either, it was her delivery which made the section go so well. The links between the topics is possibly the most important part of making the section really flow and Karen managed this extremely well.

All of our guests took part and have taken the two most important steps in becoming a speaker. Number one is turning up to a meeting and number two is standing up for the first time. Well done all of you and I look forward to watching you progress.

November’s meeting will take place on November 10th and will be chaired by Graeme. I look forward to seeing you all there.