“Chaucer Speakers helped enormously” Jo’s Story

“Six months ago I joined Chaucer Speakers Club because I wanted to become a more confident, relaxed speaker. I had heard about the club from the Best Man at our wedding: he had been nervous about his speech so he went to get support from attending the fortnightly meetings.

My reason for joining was I knew I had an important presentation in six months’ time and wanted the chance to practice as well as get some feedback and support.

I was a little nervous about coming along to the club, but the welcome was warm. I was even more nervous about delivering an ‘impromptu’ speech which is part of the regular meetings but I told myself if I didn’t give it a go now I’d be panicking about it even more next time. Since then I find the challenge of creating a 3 minute ‘mini-speech’ gets a little easier each time.

I was also able to practice delivering my presentation to an audience who was able to give constructive feedback: one of the more experienced members also provided one-to-one mentoring which really helped with my confidence.

I’m pleased to say the presentation went extremely well! It was delivered to an audience of about sixty people – something I would have struggled with had it not been for the opportunity to practice. My presentation was judged ‘Most Feasible Project’ with great feedback from the audience.

The support I received from Chaucer Speakers Club helped me get my breathing under control and to feel more confident: there is still room for improvement but I can already see the difference from where I was when I started.”


Jo’s prize-winning presentation.

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. 

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.