A typical club evening

The format of our meetings does vary from time to time, but here is a description of a typical session.

The Club President will open the meeting and conduct a short “business session” where the President and other Club Officers make announcements as and when appropriate.

Then one member will take over as chairman to run the whole evening and co-ordinate all the activities. Experienced members take their turn in doing this job.

The chairman introduces the two or three members who will give prepared speeches to the Club, often in the region of 5-8 minutes each. These speeches vary in content and delivery, but they are usually framed around the series of ten assignments in The Speakers Guide, which leads us through the range of fundamental speaking skills.

Each speech is then evaluated by another member who will highlight the strengths, identify the weaknesses and offer practical suggestions for improvement. This is done in a constructive, sincere and non-threatening way. The speaker thus receives instant feedback and audience reaction to the speech as reflected in the comments of one of the listeners.

Evaluation is the key to improvement, and benefits both the speaker and the evaluator. Evaluation promotes active listening by all, and at the end of each meeting all members will have learnt something, even if they have not been speaking.

After a 15 minute break (for a drink and chat) comes The Topics Session. The purpose of the session is to practise impromptu speaking. This is a useful and often vital skill – you never know when you might be called upon to say a few words! One member will act as the Topics Chairman and will have prepared a number of topics which the members are asked to speak about for 2 or 3 minutes when called to the front. The catch is that they have no time whatsoever to prepare! This might sound daunting, but these sessions are usually great fun and, at the same time, really do develop our abilities. Another member will evaluate the Topics Session.

Finally, the General Evaluator, one of the more experienced members, has the final word. In this important assignment, the General Evaluator will review the entire evening, highlight strong points and areas for improvement, evaluate the Chairman and give advice to the speech and topics evaluators.

Click here  to see a typical club programme.