About Speakers Clubs
The club is a member of the Association of Speakers Clubs, which co-ordinates the activities of just over 100 speakers clubs in the UK.
Much of the text on this page has been borrowed/adapted - from our excellent neighbouring club, Wharfedale Speakers Club
What do we do?
In a normal club meeting, two or three members give prepared speeches of their own choosing but of a given type. These commonly last 6 to 8 minutes. There is also a Topics Session during which members have the opportunity to make short 2 or 3-minute impromptu speeches (which we call Topics) on allocated subjects. All speakers are given friendly, helpful feedback by experienced fellow members. These ‘evaluators’ highlight the good points in the speech and offer helpful suggestions for improvement in appropriate areas. There is a short interval for refreshments.
The above description is of a ‘normal’ meeting, but there are others e.g. educational teach-ins, joint meetings with other clubs, speaking contests, and fun evenings, all of which add to variety.
Learning, Evaluation & Feedback
Constructive evaluation is perhaps the greatest strength of the Association’s methods. Everything is evaluated including prepared speeches, impromptu speeches, chairmanship, etc.
Within the club, we boast neither experts nor teachers. It is a club, not a school, and not a training course in the normal sense. Evaluators are experienced fellow members who know exactly what it is like to join a club and develop speaking skills. They have been there themselves.
The Speakers Guide
Another great strength is The Speakers Guide – an ASC manual on speaking skills that is presented to new members on joining. Apart from its valuable guidance on a wide range of speaking matters, it offers a progressive series of assignments, which the member may choose to follow.
Where and when?
We meet alternate Mondays (more or less) from September to May at the Soroptomists Rooms, Skipton. Members arrive about 7.45 pm for an 8.00 pm start. Meetings end at 10.00 pm. There is free car parking nearby on the road opposite, and a location map is available. Click HERE to see our location.
Membership is currently £45 per year (and just £23 for those in full-time education). This is great value for up to 18 meetings (around £3 a session).
We consider Speakers Club to be much better value than Day Training courses for those wishing to improve their speaking skills. Many such courses are good, but they are much more expensive and usually offer no possibility of continuing practice before a sympathetic audience with the benefit of constructive evaluation.
Visitors are welcome
Visitors are invited to come along for a couple of meetings, without charge or commitment. Just contact our Secretary, President or Education Director on one of the numbers below to clarify any queries and say you wish to attend. Alternatively, you may simply turn up on the evening. You can then observe how we do things and decide if Speakers Club is for you.
Membership is open to men and women of 15 years and over. For beginners, no prior experience is necessary, just a genuine desire to learn to speak well in public. Experienced speakers are also welcome. Their aim will be to improve upon their present level of competence.
Top tips for giving impromptu short speeches:
- Think of you final end “punchline” first. Then your talk can work towards that. (Chris Birch’s Tip)
- Tell people “What’s in it for them”
- If you want people to do something, give them a “because” before you give the request e.g. “Because what I’m going to say is very important for your exams, I want you to listen carefully”.
- Look at people/the audience in the eye. Look at someone near the back (because then more people will think you are looking at them - it is to do with angles). Find someone to look towards who is looking at you with interest and sympathy - because that will give you more confidence.
- Don’t “Errr” and Don’t rush things - better to give a pause.
- Finish your talk with a “punch” (- A strong comment - And stand there, wait for the applause. Don’t tail off and sidle away from the table in the middle of your last sentence.)
- It really does get easier each time - so come and practise. That’s a great value of speakers clubs - chance to practise.