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 18th 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!

Congratulations to our Kent Area team on winning the first ASC National team speaking competition

Congratulations to Will, Michael, Sue and Barry who eclipsed their opponents. A well-deserved win by a creative and talented team.

Club meeting 16th October

Evaluation was the theme of our meeting. Peter explained the art of evaluation with particular emphasis on gestures. He talked about everything from the importance of eye contact and a neutral position for hands to be ready to make specific gestures, to full body gestures. He demonstrated his trademark dancing, rather than standing still, to illustrate the benefits of awareness of our habits. Other speakers demonstrated windmilling with their hands or persistent creaking of floorboards to reveal the validity of Peter’s tips.

Everyone present had the honour to witness, and opportunity to evaluate, a rehearsal by the Kent Area team for the first ASC National Team Speaking Competition. Will, Michael, Sue and Barry were awesome and gave a creative interpretation of the theme: three piece suite. Praise flowed and we offered a few suggestions for improvement. We all wish them luck against the 7 other teams.

Julie chaired the meeting and welcomed Aaliyah, Ryan and Thade as new members. All three rose to the challenge of giving impromptu speeches on topics set by Stewart. We were helped by his offer of a framework for our responses – answer the question / give two reasons for your answer / repeat your answer. The questions ranged from, ‘are footballers good role models?’ to ‘Is sugar a poison?’ The session was evaluated by Adrian and will be remembered for Julian’s ambiguous phrase which the audience interpreted in a far different way from his intention. Suzanne had the final word as she evaluated the evening as being fun and educational. Her vibrant evaluation of the chair and other evaluators was a masterclass in evaluation.

Suzanne is in the chair for the next meeting on Monday 3rd November – book your slot on the agenda now…

Good luck to the Kent Area Team on Saturday.