Speechcraft Public Speaking Workshop January 2022 – Session 4

Tonight was going to be a speaking marathon for our six Speechcrafters. All week they have been preparing to introduce another speaker, make a speech AND top it off by evaluating one of their peers.

A tall order indeed. Never say never, but rarely would they have to take on so many roles at one meeting again. Our Timekeeper is fired up and ready. No-one can be allowed to exceed their allotted time

The Club President began our final Speechcraft session with this quote from Winston Churchill….

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

Winston Churchill, The Lord Mayor’s Luncheon, Mansion House, November 10, 1942

We are mindful that this is the final session of our course.

Our Speechcraft Co-Ordinator sensibly asked the students ‘what is the one main thing you have learned over the past few weeks?’ The warm-up was geared towards affirming new skills and distilling confidence for what was to come.

Several stated how their confidence had increased. Skills such as being able to structure a speech figured highly. Two people said they knew they were on a journey that was a work in progress.

This journey may never reach its end. Do we ever stop learning? Journeys are usually marked by specific milestones along the way. Substitute ‘goals’ for ‘milestones’ and you are on a road to success.

Tonight all six Speechcrafters achieved their goals. The speeches were of a high standard. It was very clear how much each speaker had improved. Introductions were made with aplomb. Building each other up to take the virtual stage had become second nature.

What about the skill of evaluation?

Giving a good evaluation can be tricky. You want to encourage the speaker. Being too nice can be tempting especially if the speaker is inexperienced. If a speaker is very experienced, you can fall into the trap of being in awe of them. Or struggle to find something that you feel they could improve.

But everyone can improve somewhere. Or add something to their speech that could make it even better.

Our Speechcrafters followed the structure to which they’d been introduced. Commend the speaker, then recommend an improvement or positive change for their speech. Finish on a high by giving the speaker a strong commendation at the end.

All the speakers received useful feedback from their peers.

In time evaluations evolve and take on the depth that comes with experience. This takes practice. There will be plenty of opportunities at future club meetings. For those that intend to join us.

Their tasks complete, the Speechcrafters were able to relax for a few minutes. Our Table Topics Master wisely prioritised members and guests when pitching his impromptu questions. 

The best speakers and best evaluator of the night were recognised and applauded. 

And then, Speechcraft was over. 

But for our Speechcrafters it does not have to be the end. 

Our Club President voiced the question that was on everyone’s mind. ‘Who is going to join us?’

We have six new members. For them it is only the end of the beginning.

YOUR DEMOCRACY IN EUROPE: HOW CHURCHILL RESPECTED ISLAM AND OTHER RELIGIONS

Winston Churchill photograph sourced from https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-57258822

Postscript

This is only a beginning. Our new members will need mentorship and support on their journey. 

When someone becomes a member of Speakers of Croydon they are assigned a Mentor. Their Mentor will stay with them for their first four speeches and much longer if required.

Several guests attended during Speechcraft. As usual it is our aim to include them and encourage them to join our club. 

Although we only host Speechcraft once a year we are pleased to accept new members all year round.

Trudy Kuhn VPE 30/01/2022

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