Congratulations to Rachel and Stewart

The first meeting of 2018 for Chaucer Speakers Club was a competition night with guests from Thanet Speakers Club, Steve gave the target speech for the evaluation competition and Trevor was the chief judge, ably assisted by Carol. Our thanks to Trevor and Steve for their invaluable contributions.
The evening was chaired by the club president Julian who started with the usual warm up using the theme of new year resolutions, this was followed by the business session – “not the Christmas party” dinner will be on Friday 2nd February, 7 for 7.30pm at Cote in Canterbury (book with Carol or Julian).
Starting with the topics competition everyone, including new members, participated. Each speaker entered one at a time to give a three minute speech on “lost it” which evoked a wide range of responses. The evaluation competition had four competitors and was on a speech given by Steve entitled “ Birmingham Burger Bill” which was very entertaining.
 The judges summing up was educational and they concluded that the members who will represent Chaucer at the Kent area competition at the Maidstone Hilton on 11th February are Stuart and Rachel for Topics, with Stuart winning on the night and new member Jo achieving a creditable first reserve. The winner of the Evaluation competition was Rachel with Stuart second and Adrian as first reserve. As a consequence Chaucer is ready to compete this season and the Chair declared the evening a success due, in no small part, to the tremendous contribution from our newer members.   

Happy Christmas

Our last meeting of the year was a festive occasion chaired by Julian. Julie gave an educational speech about having an external focus (on your audience) to boost your confidence and effectiveness as a speaker. The audience voted the speech a success and Stewart gave an analytical evaluation of the structure and delivery. Julian’s topics session involved each speaker pulling a cracker with him, donning the paper hat and reading a topic from inside the cracker. Most topics had a Christmas theme, Josephine coped well with a surreal one about tattoos. Which politician would you have tattooed on your arm? Our two guests gave entertaining responses. 

We went downstairs to the bar for drinks, nibbles and entertaining conversation. It was fascinating to learn about Christmas celebrations in Poland and Kenya. 

Next meeting on Monday 15th January when we hold our impromptu speaking and evaluation contests. The same speech will be evaluated by all the competitors as they enter the room one at a time. 

Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2018 to all our members – past present and future and all our guests who have joined us for meetings and / or social events.

Congratulations to our speech competitors Rachel, Rob and Peter I

Rachel won and she and Rob will go forward to the Kent Area competitions in Maidstone on 11th February. A date for your diary as support from Chaucerians will be a huge boost to their confidence. Rachel (Train of thought), Rob (Fear) and Peter (Microphones I have known) all gave engaging, audience-focused speeches with humour and a clear purpose. They all demonstrated the art of using storytelling to relate vivid experiences to illustrate the points they were making. Our guest judge commented that he was so carried away listening that he was forgetting to judge. Many thanks to Graham, one of the founder members of Chaucer SC, for his generosity in sharing his judging skills with us. Thanks also to Carol, our in-house judge. The judges comments were very complimentary, reflecting the high quality of the speeches. Rob and Peter’s speeches were also evaluated and they passed their A2 (speech construction) and A7 (Use of microphone and notes) assignments respectively.

Michael gave an education session / A8 (Using humour) speech, The Use and Abuse of PowerPoint, which passed the assignment and demonstrated all the skills of the competitors. He used humour to make serious points effectively and memorably.

Rachel, Stewart and Peter gave glowing evaluations. Julie chaired and appreciated the support of everyone present including Aaliyah who fulfilled the important role of timekeeper for the competition.

Next meeting Monday 18th December– all are welcome. Let Julian know if you want to be included on the agenda. The second half of the meeting will be devoted to drinks and nibbles in the bar – please bring nibbles.

Whitstable Carol Concert Saturday16th December

Carol will have tickets £8 at our next meeting on 20th November The concert is a highlight of the Chaucer social calendar and will be preceded by a light supper. Tickets £8 can be bought at our next meeting on 20th November, booked direct with Carol or via our contact page. Tickets sell out quickly, Carol has 10 available.

Club meeting with Stephen Laws as guest speaker

We were delighted to welcome Stephen Laws who gave an enlightening and entertaining talk on parliament followed by a lively Q&A session. We learnt about the subtle differences in the language used in the two houses, how media training leads to politicians appearing not to answer questions put by interviewers. It takes agility for a politician to answer the question and say what they want to say (a skill we learn at Chaucer in our impromptu speaking sessions). Reading a speech in parliament is frowned upon because the compactness of the houses is designed to facilitate speeches that are conversational, with speakers giving way to questions. Stephen explained how much more impressive parliament becomes the closer you are to the everyday reality. It was an inspiration to listen to such an accomplished speaker in terms of audience-focused choosing of content, the structure and delivery.

A hard act to follow for Ryan, who gave his maiden speech about his journey from a poor background in Kenya to a scholarship at the University of Kent. The exceptionally lengthy applause reflected his superb rapport with the audience and ability as a storyteller. The 8 minutes flew by but the memory of it will linger for many years due to the emotional impact. The speech was evaluated by Julie who isn’t used to using so many superlatives.

Suzanne warmly welcomed an almost full room which included guests, Stephen, Sheila and Alex and 4 new members.

Josephine ran the impromptu session, asking the participants to tell us how £200 would enrich their experience of a hobby which she chose. The hobbies ranged from mountaineering to fishing to triathlons. Experienced members were assigned hobbies they would never have chosen for themselves. Due to numbers, new members and guests only had one minute to speak which was a challenge for Stewart as timekeeper. Will evaluated the session in style, giving a brief summary of the topic response, offering praise and a suggestion for each speaker for improvement.

Peter had the last word in his general evaluation, declaring the meeting a success in terms of education, enjoyment and inspiration.

Our next meeting is on Monday 20th November – Rachel will be chairing, Jo and Rob will be giving their maiden speeches and Sue Shaw (West Kent and NADFAS speaker) will be giving her tips on winning speech competitions – she has twice been a national finalist and is an entertaining speaker who is passionate about helping speakers to reach their potential.

Our speech competition will be on 4th December – all members are encouraged to enter and your speech can be evaluated as your next assignment.  You have to be in it to win – it could be you!