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!