Speakers Clubs Developing Confidence In Public Speaking
The Association of Speakers Clubs (ASC) is all about education. Helping people to develop and improve their communication skills. Helping members gain in confidence. By way of that, evaluation forms a huge part of the programme.
The essential aspect of the programme is that members leave a meeting feeling that it has been an enjoyable event and that they have learnt something from the evening. It must have been slightly challenging yet not caused unreasonable angst. There should be some teaching each session but that is not easy when the majority of attendees are new to the Association and new to the whole concept.
Members should be told about the ASC Guide and it should be pointed out that working their way through the Guide’s assignments can be very rewarding.
Improving Communication Skills
The Club programme needs to be varied and stimulating. Tasks must be assigned for each meeting and these need to be allocated with care. When assigning meeting-tasks, attention has to be given to the depth of experience of each member. It is essential to remember that all of us, whether new or experienced members are on a learning curve. Thus encouragement and support should be offered all the time.
As for evaluating, we need to learn how to improve but the evaluation must be sensitive. Evaluation is an aspect of the Club programme which has to be introduced gently for new members. The basic rule of ASC evaluation is to start with praise. Forget about re-telling the speech. The audience has heard it so there is never any need to repeat it. The rule is to point out the good points and give one or two examples of aspects of the speech which worked well. Aspects such as variety in the voice, reasonably good eye contact with the audience, appropriate gestures, a bit of humour (if appropriate), alliteration, vocabulary and more. Picking out good points boosts the speaker’s confidence. That is so important! Then mention one or two areas which could be improved upon to make the delivery that much better. The whole audience benefits from hearing a good evaluation and no one takes offence if (and only if) it is presented in a sensitive way.
Being part of the ASC is life-changing. Leadership and chairmanship are two aspects learnt. Then there are the friendships formed too. However, is not learning to deliver a speech well, be it short or long, impromptu or prepared, the best benefit of ASC membership? It is so confidence-boosting!
Diana MP Douglas March 2018
Communications is an essential life skill