Abingdon Speakers’ Club usually meets on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month.  These meetings tend to follow the standard Toastmasters International format, with Table Topics and Prepared Speeches of between 5 and 7 minutes.  When we have a 5th Wednesday in a month, we use these for different kinds of speeches, longer speeches, educational sessions expanding on certain aspects of speaking etc.

A couple of members of the club had some ‘real life’ speaking occasions coming up and used the 5th Wednesday in January to hold a club meeting with a different format.

The speakers in question had 10 – 20-minute speeches they wanted to practice which would not fit well into the standard format.  As the 5th Wednesday is also not a standard meeting date the audience of non-speakers was smaller than usual.  We, therefore, decided as a group not to appoint an individual evaluator for each speaker, but to all evaluate the speaker in the round.

I started the speaking with ‘Taking back control of the Supply Teacher Market’ which I will be presenting to an audience of a few hundred business managers at Academies at Old Trafford at the end of February.  The ideas, input and feedback I got were invaluable and I was so enthused by the support of the group that I re-wrote my speech first thing in the morning the following day.  I am now practising the revised speech at home and may take up the offer of a club member to come and present the revised speech to him.

The second speech was practice for an interview presentation.  Again, we all provided feedback (as well as asking hard interview questions!) and have our fingers crossed that the outcome of the interview is what the speaker had hoped!

Tash Higman, Secretary and Vice President Public Relations