Our meetings are friendly and fun. Every member knows the fear of public speaking, and we are very supportive of each other. We evaluate each other as peers. We start at 7.30pm prompt and the first half is a warm up, followed by 3 OR 4 prepared speeches. After the break at 8.30pm we listen to the evaluators of the prepared speeches then we have a session of impromtu speaking called ‘Table Topics’. The speakers are evaluated and then we have a General evaluation of the evening.
As a visitor, you can just sit and enjoy the meeting: if asked to speak you can say “Pass” and that is completely acceptable. There is, however, an opportunity for a guest to speak at each and every meeting. We have a 15 second warm-up when you can answer a simple question such as ‘What is your favourite type of weather?”. If you decide that you would like to have a go at an impromptu speech (table topic) then we will do our best to include you but that, again, is entirely optional. At the end of every meeting we do ask our guests if they have enjoyed the meeting.
Please arrive at 7:15 for a 7:30 start. This is so we have time to welcome you properly, answer any questions you have and make sure you have everything you need to have an amazing night.
Our meetings start promptly at 7:30. The first half is dedicated to prepared speeches. The Table Topics session in the second half is an opportunity for members who aren’t on the programme and guests to develop their impromptu speaking skills.
Your progress is important to every member of the club but the emphasis is that you work at a speed which is right for you. Below are the 10-level speech assignments produced by Toastmasters’ International in order to develop your public speaking.
Novice to masterpiece
By focussing upon each component of the whole we aim to develop each aspect of your public speaking ability. Below are the 10 core syllabus level assignments designed to bring you to the status of an accomplished speaker.
You choose the subject and each speech should last from 5-7 minutes. There are additional assignments beyond these ten that involve using microphones, chairing meetings and the use of PowerPoint presentations. The manuals will continue to offer useful advice at every stage.
This is the Ice-breaker. You are asked to speak about something that you are very knowledgeable about: yourself. Its goal is to get you up there and speak; it also gives you a way of introducing yourself to club members. Your assignment is not to give a ‘knock-them-dead’ speech; it is to get you started. The manual has many good ideas to help you.
You are now going to build on the self-confidence you have gained from your first assignment. By speaking on a subject which you know well and believe in, you will have the opportunity to demonstrate sincerity, conviction and persuasiveness. The manual starts to introduce practical tips on how to get your message across.
This is where you take a good idea and make it very much more powerful by making it easy for your audience to know what your speech is about and what to expect. All speeches should have a beginning, the main development and then a ending. All three phases have different goals and there are tools to help in each area.
We naturally gesticulate when talking. The more important the point we are making, the more we speak with body language and tone. A good speech can be made great with good use of gestures. These can come from hand and body movements, body demeanour, facial expressions, eye contact and more.
The voice is the most powerful weapon in the Speaker’s armoury, but it is only effective if it is used appropriately to amplify the power, drama and delivery of the speech itself. By the time you are at this assignment the improvement in your ability is substantial and you should feel comfortable speaking outside of the club as well as in.
You are well into more advanced development with this assignment. Your choice of words will now focus on painting a picture inside the minds of your audience. These pictures will add depth and substance to your speech. They will arrest the attention of the listeners by being memorable and appropriate.
Notes can be a wonderful support or they can rob a speech of its life. Have you ever sat through a presentation where someone got up and read to you and thought “Why did they bother?”. You will learn what to do so that you have the appropriate support that notes can give but they will not interrupt the flow of the speech or rob your audience of your eye contact.
You will explore different types of humour for the various types of speeches you may wish to give. You are shown how to develop this to fit your character whilst taking in the needs of the audience.
This skill is much softer and harder to identify but that is all it is – a skill. With it, your speeches will resonate, have an impact and will be remembered.
This is where you bring all that you have learned into focus in one speech. By this time you will have had considerable experience and will be a polished speaker.
Eastbourne Speakers Club is Fun and will provide you with a new life skill and new found confidence – quite a package! Go at your own pace and we’ll support every word you say.
We look forward to welcoming you. Just turn up or contact us online or by telephone.
We recommend that you come along for at least one meeting to see if what we offer is for you. We meet every second week throughout the speaking season (every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the Month). There is a one-off fee of £20 to pay for the manuals plus £49.99 to join the club. This is great value. We offer the opportunity to come along to your three meetings for free (try before you buy!).
Don’t expect to be able to sit back and watch everyone else go at it; you will be asked to participate, whatever level you are at! As soon as you are comfortable, you may start your first assignment from the basic syllabus of 10.
Try and keep in mind that we are teaching a life skill and like reading and writing, it takes time. You are, however, more than 80% of the way there already and there will come a time when your progress will speed up.
All the members have been through the programme. Several are still going through the syllabus. It is useful to see others at a level you willachieve in the near future.
Everything worth saying has already been said. Not many speakers realise this. When you do, you have a major psychological advantage: it will take pressure off of you.
People want to listen to a point of view, put in a compelling manner. Not only do you have points of view, even if they are very private at the moment, as you learn to speak up you will start to mentally consider your thoughts in a further manner. How would I express that to others? How would it sound?
Before long you will have many points of view, held in sharp focus in a library which will be the foundation of your great speeches, topics and general conversation.
Check out the next meeting and just turn up, or contact us. If you are reading this far, you have decided to come along, even if you think you are undecided. We look forward to meeting with you.