2018 Speaking Season Off to a Flying Start!

Monday 17th September 2018

Our first meeting of the new season got off to a flying start, thanks to the contributions of our guests and members, both returning and new.

It was great to see a packed meeting room filled with lots of nervous energy as we had six new faces coming to see what Chaucer Speakers Club is all about.

Chaired by this year’s President, Stewart, the meeting was treated to a new member’s first prepared speech and it was an absolute knock out! Despite some initial nerves, the speaker delivered a touching and personal account of having started life in the UK as a citizen of Nowhere, he has overcome challenges and hurdles to become a proud home owner and bona fide UK citizen: Well done Les! We’re looking forward to hearing more about your fascinating life.

Nerves of a different kind from one of our more experienced speakers, who took on a challenge from the Advanced Manual. Adrian had to choose a speech title from three on offer (which he had not seen before) and then with only 10 minutes preparation, deliver a Show Stopping Speech! He went for “Rugby is less of a sport than Football” and the result was an absolute Grand Slam!

After the break our Vice President, Jo, chaired the Impromptu Speaking session and it was brilliant to see all of our guests rise to the challenge of speaking on a topic without any time to prepare. Her theme was ‘Journeys’ and it was great to see so many would-be nervous public speakers take their first steps on the path towards greater speaking confidence. 

Our next meeting will be on the 1st October and we’ve already got one new member signed up to give a speech. Suzanne will be in the Chair so we’re in for an exciting and energetic meeting. 

See you there!

‘The Art of Preaching’ a presentation by the Reverend Nicholas Papadopulos, Canon Treasurer of Canterbury Cathedral

Monday saw a special guest attending to present to both members and guests; a fascinating insight based on 20 years’ experience of planning and delivering sermons.

 The Reverend Nicholas Papadopulos, Canon Treasurer of Canterbury Cathedral spoke about preparing sermons, but his five areas of advice are invaluable for all speakers.

The Context

A sermon is not an ego trip, lecture nor some political manifesto, but it always part of an act of worship: an offering to God. As such the speaker cannot allow anything to detract from that vital purpose.

The Purpose

Canon Papadopulos sees the purpose of a sermon as prophesy (not prophecy – the spurious predictions of the future) but a reflection on what the spirit of God has to say in these current times. This follows the long tradition of Prophets who were readers of their present which they interpreted in the light of what God wanted for that generation.

The Source

The raw material for the sermon is the tradition of the church to which the preacher belongs: at the heart are the Scriptures and a reflection upon the words (as well as the history of the words). Canon Papadopulos will spend a week reflecting upon the words: ‘a journey from the head to the heart’. He is also able to bring his training as a barrister to help interrogate the meaning of the words.

The Connection

Having chosen the text, Canon Papadopulos will look for a thread which can run through the sermon – akin to the motif which might run through a musical composition. ‘Avoid Gimmicks’ was a key piece of advice as it may detract from the purpose of the sermon. 

The Self

A sermon is not an opportunity for personal therapy; not an excuse to show off ones knowledge of the Bible; not to make the congregation’s worship of God harder because of distractions. ‘Integrity, not indulgence’ was the lesson. Authenticity is also important: speak as the person you are and be true to yourself.


We would like to express our sincere thanks to Nicholas for taking the time to speak to our Club, and we wish him all the very best in his new role as Dean of Salisbury Cathedral.


District Competitions – March 2018 a report by our President, Julian.

Sunday saw the District AGM and competitions take place.
As always Kent did very well, taking first place in two out of three competitions. But what I’m most proud in announcing is that our Stew won the topics competition. Well done Stew you did us proud. There was some tough competition from other clubs, but the judges gave it it to Stew. Is this history repeating itself?
The standards were very high this year, especially in the speaking competition: I was glad I didn’t have to be the Chief judge. But this was won by Rowena Hawtin from West Kent .
Also, a very big thank you to Suzanne for organising so much of the day and for setting up the venue early in the morning on her way to the airport.You are a star.
The full results for the day:
Evaluation competition- first place Bilwa Iyer ( Wimbledon Speakers Club), second place Lucy Pitts ( Horsham SC)
Topics competition – first place Stew ( Chaucer SC), second  Lucy Pitts (Horsham SC)
Speech Competition- first place Rowena Hawtin ( WKSC) , second ,Neil Taylor ( City of London SC) 
District President Cup was awarded to our Suzanne – very well deserved – for all her hard work behind the scenes.
The Ace of Clubs cup went to the City of London  for overcoming some serious challenges and now flourishing in a new venue.
Competition winners Bilwa, Stewart and Rowena

Area AGM and Competitions

Sunday 11th March saw the Kent Area AGM and competitions taking place at the Hilton Hotel in Maidstone. 

Chaired by the current Area President, Julian Watts, the day began with the reports from each of the area’s clubs’ representatives. The overriding message is one of continued and healthy growth in interest across the county for public speaking.


Area President Julian Watts opening proceedings

One important function of the AGM was the election of Area Officers: it’s great to have Ravi Kalsi continue as Area Treasurer. It’s also with great delight to welcome Thanet’s John Clarke as the next Area President and Steve Pamphilon as the Vice President


The day saw three competitions taking place. The first was the Impromptu Speaking competition. Five individuals were given the challenge of creating a mini-speech on the subject “Is the impact of Social Media in our lives a positive or negative influence?”

Competitors: Bernie Morgan, Doug Weale, Frani Hoskins, Steve Poole, Stewart Thomson


1st – Stewart Thomson (Chaucer)

2nd – Steve Poole (West Kent)

3rd – Bernie Morgan (Thanet)

(Impromptu Competition winner Stewart Thomson receiving his trophy from former National President William Warren)

The Evaluation competition required a target speech and Thanet’s Doug Weale delivered a delightfully witty tribute to the women of the ASC. It was then up to the competitors to deliver an evaluation providing both critical analysis and pointers for improvement.

Competitors: Bernie Morgan, Frani Hoskins, Rachel Holliday, Ray Finn, Sheila Gomez, Stewart Thomson


1st – Bernie Morgan (Thanet)

2nd – Rachel Holliday (Chaucer)

3rd – Ray Finn (West Kent)


The final competition of the day was the Prepared Speech. Each participant had each prepared a unique, individual and imaginative speech on a wide range of subjects, from the importance of having a sense of humour, to creating the next entry to the Oxford English Dictionary.

It is difficult coming up with a speech which is engaging, humorous and thought-provoking but the contestants all did so, and delivered their speeches with great rapport and skill.

Participants: Bernie Morgan, Doug Weale, Rachel Holliday, Rob Wilkinson, Rowena Hawtin, Steve Poole.


1st – Bernie Morgan (Thanet)

2nd – Rowena Hawtin (West Kent)

3rd – Steve Poole (West Kent)

Thanet Speaker Bernie Morgan winner of both Evaluation and Prepared Speech Competitions

Congratulations to all the winners, who go on to represent Kent at the District Competition, to be held on 18th March at the Hilton Hotel, Maidstone. 

Monday’s meeting

Chaucer had a great turn out for this week’s meeting with Rachel chairing with aplomb. The numbers were bolstered by some new mid term club joiners and a new guest Rachel. The meeting kicked off with a warm-up session on fears and phobias followed by a lively education section with lots of audience participation. A packed agenda saw A1,2 and 3 speeches from Alvin, Jo and Rob respectively with very strong and positive feedback from reviewers Michael , Peter and Julian. All speakers passed their assignments.

After the break Impromptu chair Adrian had a bag of office items that variously provided some challenging subjects for topics, however both experienced and new members rose to the challenge and some very good 2 and 3 minute speeches were offered. the Impromptu speech segment was very well reviewed by Carol leading to the final evaluation of the evaluators and the evening as a whole by Stewart who concluded the evening had been a great sucess.

Sunday 11th sees the Kent Area AGM and competition and we all wish our entries Rob, Stewart and Rachel well in the coming area competition.