University of Kent press release

Yesterday saw Chaucer Speakers Club deliver its workshop on public speaking on behalf of the Employability Points Scheme at Kent and Canterbury University. Attended by 20 students the workshop included speaking fundamentals, tips and tricks, and a chance for students to practice and get feedback on their performance.  A critical life skill , improving confidence in public speaking can enhance career opportunities, improve interview chances and develop other skillsets. 
One student was awarded a free place at the club next season and anyone is invited to come along and experience if the club can help you, more information is available on  To end, here is the testimonial from one student who attended the club last year.
Dear Chaucer Speaker Club,
The support and kindness I got from the club has been truly remarkable. It was an incredible journey, something I will always treasure. Thank you for giving me this invaluable opportunity to progress my public speaking skills.

Congratulations to Julian our new president

Last night’s Chaucer club meeting required agenda juggling and we welcomed 3 guests and said goodbye to two members, Bryan and Fatima, and wish them well in their careers. The meeting began with a warm up session describing a play or concert recently attended. We were treated to an evocative poem created and delivered by Fatima, a use of humour speech by Becky on the merits and personal horrors of coffee. Stewart gave an advanced speech with 10 minutes preparation from a choice of 3 titles. He presented an entertaining and thought provoking speech on “what has poetry ever done for us”. Surprising us with references to palaeontologists and astrophysicists. Evaluators, Rachel and Julie, offered praise and constructive advice.  Both speakers passed their assignments with flying colours.

At the AGM the outgoing President Adrian Hyner presented an interim certificate to Peter and  the speech trophy to Barry before welcoming our incoming President Julian Watts who introduced his new committee.  
Treasurer – Adrian, Education – Michael, Communications – Suzanne, Social events – Carol, New member co-ordinator – Josephine, webmaster – Julie. Vice-president – tbc.
After the break, Peter took charge of the topics session and challenged some us to consider whether we would vote for particular historical and fictional characters to become our MP. The characters were as diverse as Winnie the Pooh and Julius Caesar.
An evaluation of topics was given by Julian, followed by Carol who gave a great summary of the evening with specific feedback to the evaluators.
At our next meeting on Monday 19th June we will be hosting the Kent Hopper Cup team speaking competition. The theme for the teams is Whoops. The Hopper Cup is a fun event often including role-play and props with fierce competition between the clubs. You are very welcome to join us.

Congratulations to Josephine, Chaucer’s most improved speaker 2017

We enjoyed a splendid celebration of Adrian’s year as Chaucer President with a dinner at the Kent and Canterbury club. Michael was our vibrant MC for the evening. Our guest speaker, Dr Carl Wright entertained us with an informative speech on the commonwealth after revealing our lack of knowledge on the subject. Adrian presented an overview of the past year’s lows and highs and the progression of Chaucer Speakers in terms of membership numbers and diversity. William Warren shared a humorous and frank account of his year as President of the Association of Speakers Clubs. Rebecca rounded off the evening with a speech of thanks on behalf of the guests. She deftly wove the evening’s themes of co-operation and volunteering. Bryan turned the raffle into an entertainment – a rare feat. We all wished Bryan well in his relocation to Uxbridge. It will be so sad to lose such a valued and committed member. Congratulations to Josephine who was awarded the trophy for the most improved Chaucer Speaker 2017. Many thanks to all our guests for joining us to celebrate and to Carol for organising the evening.


Josephine – most improved Chaucer Speaker 2017

Club meeting Monday 22nd May 2017

Carol demonstrated the art of calm and effective chairing in the face of a fluid agenda. We warmed up with our highlights of the onset of summer with all the windows open due to the heat. Peter I passed his Use of Voice assignment with a speech about Conflict and has earned his Interim Certificate of Achievement. Michael passed his Use of Notes assignment with a speech about using notes which introduced the audience to the 5 cannons of Cicero.  Giving us a taste of what awaits when he takes over as Education Director in June. The speeches were evaluated by Julie and Peter C who offered praise and a few tips.

After a 30 minute break for socialising, Adrian chaired a challenging impromptu speaking session using slang words or phrases as the topics. Our two guests spoke eloquently and on topic whereas some members did their best to diverge from their topics. Julian captured our imagination with a cat, dog and hamster all named Kerfuffle. They could be stroked while sipping tea and eating a Kerfuffle cake. Paul stepped in to evaluate with perceptive analyses. Stewart rounded off with a general evaluation of an entertaining, inspiring and educational evening. Rather than counting ums and errs, he counted 8 ‘things’ in Julie’s evaluation and encouraged us all to use more specific words.

Our President’s dinner is on Friday 26th May.

You are welcome to join us at our next meeting on Monday 5th June. There will be a 10 minute AGM followed by a normal club meeting.

Club Meeting Monday 8th May

I never laughed so much at a Chaucer meeting as last night. A well-executed Chairmanship by Julian, the evening kicked off with business followed by a warm up on favourite flowers, and the author showed his credentials as a horticulturalist…….NOT. Last night’s meeting, held as usual at the Kent and Canterbury Club, welcomed two new potential members, Adam and Alvin, who both contributed to the warm up and gamely gave an impromptu speech.

Club President Adrian gave a poetry reading of “the Highwayman” which co incidentally had been mentioned on Radio Four that very morning. The reading was well received and this may appear as a feature in future meetings. The second speech was a practice after dinner speech by Suzanne who nailed it with only a very few suggestions to consider before she delivers it. The next speech was an A4 delivered by Peter who not only gave a good example of use of gestures but also the excellent use of voice was commented on by the evaluator Rachel who gave the assignment a pass: congratulations Peter!

After the break an impromptu session “par excellence” was hosted by Bryan and it started with a very challenging speech for our national champion Stewart on the subject “what if you were stuck in a blender?”  a tough assignment, and those that followed were also clever and amusing with one anonymous speaker wishing they could become a cat for reasons we shall not go into here. The session was lively and evaluated by Michael who exuded energy and passion whilst giving great feedback to the speakers.

The evening was evaluated overall by our Education Director Peter who gave a full account of the evening’s proceedings who declared the chairs and the evaluators had delivered a great meeting before Julian wrapped up the evening.

The next meeting is on 22nd May, the Monday before our President’s dinner on 26th May.