The work of the Education Director of a new Speakers Club
The 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.
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!
From draft new Speakers Guide Oct 2019
A7 – Storytelling and Use of Narrative
The purpose of this speech is to allow the speaker to be creative and imaginative by sharing experiences and events through words, sounds and visual images. Terry Pratchett, a master storyteller, said “imagination, not intelligence, made us human”. Story telling brings meaning, feeling, and context to ideas that may be dry and lifeless by themselves. You can create the extraordinary out of the ordinary.
An effective storyteller captures the attention of listeners and accomplishes the goal of storytelling by sharing an experience, conveying information, teaching an important life lesson or persuading listeners to take some action at the same time as being entertaining. The speech should promote compassion, tolerance, respect and/or responsibility through the promotion of understanding of other people and cultures.
The speaker may draw on his/her own life experience or it may be totally fiction, even fantasy. Storytelling is a performance, you will need energy and enthusiasm, be dramatic and passionate. Using the space around you allows you to be active and animated. Consider how you can use powerful images using words – ‘she had fire in her eyes’ creates a stronger word picture than ‘she was upset’. Dramatic pauses, good eye contact and a liberal sprinkling of emotion will enhance effect, heighten drama and draw your audience into the story evoking sympathy, empathy and understanding.
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