Public speaking clubs

Time to join a Speakers Club

We’ve looked at writing your speech, we’ve looked at practising your speech, what next?
You’ve got it… you have to deliver your speech in front of a real live audience.
Calm down, calm down!
I’m not suggesting that you book a spot at the Albert Hall for your first speech, I’m suggesting that you start off in a more relaxed environment. One where you feel safe, comfortable and get lots of support….. sounds to me like a Speakers Club.

“There’s only one proven way to improve at Public Speaking – give speeches. As with any other human endeavor, you get better with experience and practise, so you need opportunities to speak.”
Malcolm KushnerPublic Speaking for Dummies

What is a Speakers Club?

A Speakers Club is a collection of people who get together to practise and improve their Public Speaking and Presentation Skills, simple as that. The club doesn’t even have to be called a Speakers Club… some are and some aren’t.
They are generally educational, non profit organisations, but you have to pay a membership fee, which covers room hire, materials etc.
Most Clubs meet about twice a month and meetings are well structured in order for you to get the most out of a meeting.
Once you are a member of a Speakers Club… you usually speak at every meeting… unless you can produce a note from your mum.
The important thing about all Speakers Clubs is that they are made up of people who want to overcome their fears and improve their Public Speaking skills… just like you and me.

What Speakers Clubs are out there?

There are independent speakers clubs as well as several speakers club organisations. The main organisations are:

  • The Association of Speakers Clubs (ASC) – for clubs throughout the UK.
  • Toastmasters International – for clubs in the UK and internationally.

Both are great organisations that will really help with your Public Speaking. What you need to do is visit a few clubs, talk to the members and see which one you like.
Most clubs allow you a couple of free visits to see if you like them.

“Although all clubs follow a similar basic format, not all clubs are identical. Look for a club that has 15 to 20 members who attend regularly.
And make sure that the speech critiques are more than just supportive; that they give you specific things that you can do to improve.
You might have to check out several clubs before you find the one that’s right for you.”

John CantuSan Francisco comedy coach

Here’s a bit of info about each plus contact details:


Association of Speakers Clubs (ASC)

Association_of_Speakers_Clubs
The Association of Speakers Clubs (ASC) was formed in 1972 and now has about 120 Clubs throughout the UK with approximately 1800 members.
The ASC exists to promote effective speaking, communication, and the conduct of meetings. It is a non-profit organisation uniting groups of individuals into Clubs.
The ASC sets standards which Club members aim to attain in a friendly and supportive atmosphere, produces resources to enable members to practice the techniques of effective communication and runs speaking competitions.

Finding an ASC Club

Head on over to the Association of Speakers Club website and open their Find an ASC Club page and you will see a map of the UK. Click on your area and you will see a map showing all the clubs in that area. Click on a club and contact details will be displayed.

With so many clubs spread across the UK, you should be able to find one near you.


Toastmasters International

Toastmasters_Speakers_Clubs
Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations.
Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organization has more than 250,000 members in more than 12,500 clubs in 106 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience.

Finding a Toastmasters Club

Toastmasters have a great website where you can find a club. Open up their Find a Toastmasters Club page and you will be presented with three drop down lists – follow through the options until you find a club near you.
For example: my options were, United Kingdom / England / Solihull.

What will you learn at a Speakers Club?

london_speakers_club

Speakers clubs are all different but most of them cover….

Prepared speeches

Prepared speeches are the sort of speeches we’re all familiar with. Speeches where you have time to prepare notes and plan what you are going to say.
For your prepared speeches you will generally work your way through a series of assignments such as:

  1. Making a startyour first speech… tell us a bit about yourself
  2. Mean what you sayhow to speak with conviction and passion
  3. Speech constructionmake it easy for the audience to follow your speech
  4. Use of gesturesreinforce your words with dynamic gestures
  5. Use your voicelearn how to vary pace and pitch and how to use… the pause
  6. Vocabulary and word picturesuse words to paint pictures
  7. The use of noteshow to use your notes without losing eye contact
  8. Use of humourhow to make the audience smile… or even laugh
  9. Audience rapporthow to get the audience involved
  10. The Masterpieceputting it all together

Each assignment builds on previous assignments and adds a new skill to your Public Speaking repertoire.

Impromptu speeches

Impromptu speeches are speeches given off the cuff… someone gives you a subject, you walk forward and give a two or three minute speech on that subject. Or for the politicians out there… on a completely different subject.
It’s a bit like real life.
Without any notes, you can concentrate on making eye contact with the audience… a great way to build confidence.

Chairmanship skills

An important skill if you have to chair meetings at work or the local golf club. You have to take charge and lead the audience through the evenings programme.

Evaluations

Whenever you give a speech, you will be evaluated by a more senior member of the Club.
They will tell you what was good about your speech and what could be improved.
As you progress through the Club, you in turn will evaluate the speeches of new members.
A great feature of Speakers Clubs – evaluations.

Learning how to control those nerves

As you work your way through the various assignments, something magical happens…. you begin to realise that you won’t drop dead in front of the audience, you can think under pressure and you have become a confident Public Speaker.
You’ve learned how to control those nerves.

My experience of Speakers Clubs

sans_soici_speakers_club

I’ve been a member of a local Speakers Club for about ten years. Sans Souci Speakers Club an ASC club in Solihull England. My wife spotted an article in the local newspaper so I went along to see what it was all about. I liked what I saw, was made to feel welcome and I joined a couple of weeks later.
When I joined I knew nothing about Public Speaking, but I was told what to do and shown how to do it. My confidence increased in tandem with my knowledge and I’ve never looked back.

Having been through the process, I’m convinced that anyone can master their nerves and become a decent Public Speaker. Including you! Don’t just think about it… do it… join a Speakers Club today.

Can’t find a Speakers Club? Start your own.

There are lots of Speakers Clubs out there but if you can’t find one in your area, why not start a new one?
Fortunately for you… and for me, Farnoosh over at Prolific Living has written a great post on how to start a new Speakers Club.
Farnoosh’s post is aimed at Creating an Advanced Toastmasters Club but many of the principles apply to starting any new Speakers Club.
I’ve listed the key steps below:

  1. Contact governing body, Association of Speakers Clubs (ASC) or Toastmasters – find out what help and advice they can give you.
    The Association of Speakers Clubs has a ““Starting a New Club document” and Toastmasters have a “Start a New Club page”.
  2. Get help from other Speakers Clubs in your area – the governing bodies will supply you with contact details of other Speakers Clubs in your area. Contact them, they are always ready to help new clubs.
  3. Find out what funds are available for setting up a new Speakers Club – you will need funds for advertising, setting up a Website, booking a meeting room etc. Most organisations provide funds to help you through the startup period.
  4. Find a suitable venue for your Club meetings – church hall or posh hotel? Serviced by public transport or will members have to drive? Depends on your location and how much you can afford. Room hire charges will be your biggest expense so choose wisely.
  5. Decide on the Club name – take a look round at other Speakers Clubs names before deciding.
    A word of caution – make sure that your Club name is easy to remember and spell. My own club is called Sans Souci Speakers Club. Try spelling that on a radio programme!
    Also bear in mind that your Club name will probably become part of your Website domain name, so try and include a geographic locator i.e. if you meet in Leicester, try and include Leicester in your club name.
  6. Decide frequency of meetings, meeting times and dates – how often should you meet? My own club meets every two weeks but as a new club you may decide to meet say once a month. As membership builds up you can increase the frequency of your meetings.
    What’s the best time to meet? Depends if you think members will come straight from work or go home and eat first.
    Make sure dates and times are clearly shown on your website so that people can plan ahead.
  7. Setup a Club Website – your Website is likely to be your major form of advertising. Set it up early to get that publicity moving. For an idea, take a look at this great looking speakers club website.
  8. Organise other forms of publicity – your Website should be your main form of advertisig, as I always say, “least effort most reward” but think about supplementing it with other forms of publicity.
    Articles in local newspapers, poster in the local library, members doing outside assignments etc.
  9. Prepare your first Club meeting – take a look at item 2 “Get help from other Speakers Clubs in your area” Experienced members from these clubs will help you set up your first meeting and will perform most of the jobs, chairman, evaluators etc.
    Use their expertise until your own members are trained.
  10. Ongoing recruitment – recruitment is an ongoing process. Each season some members will join and some will leave. You should be aiming to have about 20 members.

If you want to read Farnoosh’s complete article take a look at Creating an Advanced Toastmasters Club.
You may also want to read Farnoosh’s other Toastmasters articles.

Let us have your thoughts and recommendations

Are you a member of the Association of Speakers Clubs or Toastmasters?
Are there Clubs out there that I’ve missed?
Has being a member of a Speakers Club helped your Public Speaking and confidence.?
Tell us a bit about your own Speakers Club.
Which clubs would you recommend?
We’d love to hear from you.

Credits:
My thanks and gratitude to stock.xchng for allowing me to use their Helping Hand image.

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Comments

  1. Keith — I think you’ve made some great suggestions for people who want to do public speaking and do in a safe environment.

    A friend of mine joined Toastmasters and really felt they helped her become a much better speaker. She also had lots of fun with the group:~)

    This is a great follow-up to your previous post, “practice, practice, practice.”
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..Picture Story: Ask and Answer =-.

    • Sara
      I’m almost fanatical about Speakers Clubs.
      It takes time but I’m convinced that they can turn anyone into a good or even great Speaker.
      Ask your friend to stop by and tell us a bit about the club she joined. If it helped her, it could help others.

  2. Keith — Sorry about two comments in a row, but I wanted you to know that I loved your comment to my recent post. It made me LOL and I needed it today:~) So, thanks!!!
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..Picture Story: Ask and Answer =-.

    • Hi Sara
      No problem with two comments.
      The lady with the coolest Avatar on the web can do no wrong in my eyes.
      I’m still chuckling from the comment I left on your blog. I love silly things.
      BTW great idea on your last post… get people to come up with a question and then answer it.

  3. Hi Keith,
    that’s a great summary of what a Speakers Club can do for you and I’ve found in the 5 years I’ve been a member of Stourbridge Speakers Club it works both ways. There are many opportunities to stretch yourself within the safety of the club environment. Members are supportive, non-judgmental and right from the moment you first walk in-very welcoming. I would reccomend anyone give their local ASC Club a go.
    Stourbridge are holding a workshop for new speakers on the 24th of March and to book in follow the link to our website.

    • Hi Sue
      Stourbridge is a super club, I’ve been there a couple of times and always had a good evening.
      Workshop for new speakers sounds good – hope that you get lots of visitors.
      Is Dilwyn taking part?

  4. I joined my local speakers club, Sans Souci SC (an ASC club) about 8 years ago. I was interested in improving my presentation skills for my sales job, but to be honest I really didn’t think I had much work to do – how wrong I was!

    The ASC has a progressive series of assignments through which you are sympathetically guided and I made improvements in my presentation style in areas that I hadn’t seen as lacking.

    Speakers Clubs aren’t just there for folk to improve who already think they aren’t too bad – like me. But they are invaluable for the more nervous people who really can’t cope with standing up there at the front of an audience and baring their soul. Perhaps that’s you – come along to an ASC Speakers Club and see what we have to offer.

    Hilary Davis – ASC Midlands District President

    • That’s right Hillers.
      Speakers Clubs are there for all sorts of speakers.
      In my own club we have the full range, from absolute beginners to national finalists.

  5. Our team of Sylvia, Melvin and David (and me) are putting it on.

    We’re quite excited about it too!

    Aside from that all ASC Speakers Clubs welcome visitors who might want to try us out.

  6. Hi Keith,

    I think that anybody who wants to learn how to speak publicly without being scared should take your advice and join a Speakers Club, Toastmaster Club or something similar.

    I know from experience, having been a member of Toastmasters Club for a year or two and then of Spokesmen Club for a few more years, how valuable they are.

    Nothing can replace the experience and valuable lessons. You are learning by doing there.

    I liked your post and I know that people who read it will benefit.

    Vance
    .-= Vance Sova´s last blog ..MAKE MONEY BLOGGING, A New Daniel Scocco’s Ebook Review =-.

    • Hi Vance – thanks for your comment.
      No matter how much theory you know, at some stage you have to stand in front of the audience and deliver!
      Speakers Clubs give you the support and confidence you need.
      Glad you found Toastmasters helpful.

  7. Hi Keith – excellent website. I have been a member of Solihull Speakers Club (member of ASC) for 5 years now, and am still learning all the time! It is an excellent way to develop all the skills you need for delivering both prepared speeches / presentations and impromtu speaking. I can now just about control my nerves even if I have not managed to banish them completely! New members are always welcome to try any of the local ASC clubs – we are all a friendly bunch!

    • Elaine
      Solihull Speakers Cub is one of the friendliest clubs I’ve been to.
      Always enjoyed myself whenever I’ve visited.
      Thanks for your comment.

  8. This is a great explanation on what “Speakers Club” can do for you. I generally only speak in public in webinar format but I know that my own form can have a LOT of improvement.

    I guess it all comes down to priorities. Perhaps this is something that might make my list one day 🙂
    .-= Alex Sysoef´s last blog ..3 Webmaster Tools To Improve Blog Performance =-.

  9. Hi Keith,

    Thanks so much for coming by my blog and leaving your comment! Loved it, and could talk about old Bogart movies for hours.

    What a great site you’ve got here. I’ve done a lot of public speaking in my life: performances, workshops, classes, speeches, etc. And it really helps a person get comfortable in their own skin. I’ve also encouraged a number of clients to get involved with Toastmasters, and the changes they’ve experienced from that are remarkable. Not just in their speaking skills, but in their confidence about themselves and their ability to move forward in their lives. It’s just wonderful.
    .-= Patty – Why Not Start Now?´s last blog ..Meaning Mondays: The Big Rabbit Edition =-.

    • Hi Patty
      Great point you make “in their confidence about themselves.”
      I see that all the time.
      It’s as though people say to themselves…. If I can stand in front of an audience and give a speech, why should I be scared of anything?
      Makes a tremendous difference to the way you approach life.

      BTW Patty.
      I had to drag myself away from your site. Could have been talking about old films forever. Great post.

  10. You know, although that sounds like a good deal I am secretly patting myself on the back because I reckon I’ve left all my public speaking behind me after my wedding toast all those years ago 😉
    .-= Sire´s last blog ..Membership Drive For Where Bloggers Meet =-.

  11. Hi Keith .. I have to say it’s something I don’t like doing – but need to do more of and practise .. as it’s a development skill I need. It’s not possible now – I need to be with my mother .. but in due course it may well be a good place to start ..

    Good of the lady with the coolest avatar in the blogosphere to point me in your direction – especially as you’re in the UK ..

    Congratulations on the Kreativ award ..
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..The Middle Ages of the web – ancient pathways, monastic steps, St David yesterday, St Chad today and lines of communication … =-.

    • Hi Hilary
      I must thank Sara for her kindness.
      Hope that you find time in the future to practice those Public Speaking Skills. They really do make a difference to your confidence.

      I’m as happy as a child in a sweet shop for winning the Kreativ award! Thanks for letting me know.
      I won’t give a speech, but if I was giving one, it would begin…

      “I’m not one of those people who say I don’t really deserve this honour… because that would be duplication of effort.

      I have a wife for that.”

      Old joke but I like it.

  12. Keith — This is to notify you that I have nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger Award.

    I love your site and your writing:~) I think you deserve this nomination and I hope you will accept.

    You can see how the award works by visiting my site. Congratulations!
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..My Distinguished Award =-.

    • Hi Sara
      I’ll be over shortly to take a look at the rules.
      If a cash pize is involved, I accept before even looking at the rules.
      I do have one question… when you nominated me, are you sure that you were looking at the right site? LOL

  13. Hi Keith. This sounds like what a lot of actors do, join little clubs to help polish each other’s skills.

    Maybe we should start a “bloggers association club” or something.
    .-= John Hoff – WP Blog Host´s last blog ..WordPress Defender: 30 Ways to Secure Your Blog from Attack Anyone Can Do =-.

    • Hi John
      Interesting that you should mention actors. I’ve always seen giving a speech as a form of acting, a performance if you like.
      Certainly Ronald Reagan used all his acting skills when he gave a speech.
      BTW John I’ve just bought your WordPress Security eBook and would recommend it to anyone who has a WordPress blog.

  14. Jannie Funster says:

    What a useful blog!

    I am more of a singer, than a public speaker, but all these principles apply!! Practice, practice, practice! And act it out!!

    Great to see you at my blog the other day! Thanks so much.
    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..The Blog Party (a poem) =-.

    • Hi Jannie
      What a great summary…
      Practice, practice! And act it out!!
      Can’t believe that I wrote an entire post just to say that. LOL
      Thanks for visiting.

  15. Hi Keith,
    thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a nice comment!
    I have never really enjoyed public speaking, but I have to say that practicing definitely helps a lot, and I have noticed quite often that even though you might feel all mushy on the inside (I always had the runs 😉 ) it might not show on the outside – I apparently always came across sovereign and confident.
    Practicing in front of some friends might help, too.
    .-= Petra´s last blog ..How To Create A Banner Or Button To Advertise Your Website Or Blog =-.

    • Hi Petra
      I know what you mean about the runs!
      Everybody shows their nerves differently.
      For me it’s a dry mouth so I take a drink of water before I walk out to perform.

      Thanks for making the point about “it always feels worse on the inside” – how true that is.
      Thing to remember is practise looking relaxed on the outside – that’s the only bit the audience see.

  16. Hi Keith – just reading yours and Petra’s comment flow .. yes I agree ..

    and aren’t we, as speakers, when we’re new .. meant to look at all those cabbages out there?!

    Have a good Saturday .. Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..The Middle Ages of the web – ancient pathways, monastic steps, St David yesterday, St Chad today and lines of communication … =-.

  17. Hi Keith, I just tried to leave a comment but it disappeared somehow so here’s my 2nd attempt.
    I think public speaking is a great skill to have. It comes in handy not just in giving presentations but also in those special moments when we’re moved to speak what’s in our hearts either in honor of someone (at an anniversary part or something like that) or at a public rally in support or protest of something.
    Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving such a nice comment.

    • Hi Belinda
      Thanks for trying again.
      As you say “a great skill to have.”
      If you can touch the mood at a social occasion or express the salient points at a hearing or protest… you have become a real public speaker.

  18. What a great site, Keith.
    Members of Standish Speakers club have found joining a Speakers Club the most useful thing they have ever done.
    One member cannot understand why people are not queueing down the road. People learn and become confident very quickly with ASC methods.
    Keep spreading the word

    • Hi Gwyneth
      My sentiments exactly.
      BTW thought your little speech at the end of the Midlands AGM was super.
      Short, relevant and lovely touches of humour.
      But then again… what else would we expect from the ASC President in waiting!
      Have a great year as President – see you in York.

  19. Hi Keith,
    The site just gets better and better! And such good advice throughout!
    Of course, at Sans Souci Speakers Club, we try to put all you say into practice.

    • Hi Lilian
      Thanks for your kind words.
      Missed you and Ian at the ASC Midlands District AGM.

      Hope To make it to Sans Souci Speakers Club’s next meeting.

  20. Hi Keith,

    It was great seeing you at the AGM last week!

    This is a great site by the way. Thanks for your efforts.

    I hope more people get into public speaking. It’s helped me so much. I got my current job because of it!

    Hiten

    • Hi Hiten
      Thought that you were very brave giving a speech at the AGM and then sitting through five evaluations!
      What do evaluators know anyway? LOL
      Glad that Public Speaking has helped you and I wish Leicester Speakers Club every success this season.

  21. Hi Keith.
    One thing Sue mentioned in the comments above is what a friendly atmosphere the Speakers Clubs have. Any critisism is done in a constructive way.
    I remember making a few mistakes in my early speeches and the members, far from laughing, were all telling me about when they had done the same sort of thing. People must remember they were all beginners once.
    Another thing to point out is that you can join and it doesnt have to be for many years. If you were going to be a Best Man, for instance, you could join for a season to get some tips. The trouble with that is the meetings are really entertaining and informative and they might find they wanted to stay a member.
    Regards
    Chris Slinger
    President
    Tyneside Speakers Club

    • Hi Chris
      Some great points you make and I would definitely agree.
      Thinking back to some of my early speeches….. hopeless!
      But all I got from my evaluators was praise and rock solid info on how to improve.
      I owe Speakers Clubs so much.

      Thanks for your comment Chris.
      I hope you’ll be a regular visitor.

  22. Hi Keith,
    I’m a first-timer here and agree with those mentioning your visual-appealing site. Nice!

    I formerly did a lot of public speaking, but have since stopped, but not by choice. 🙂

    You’ve given some really great resources and tips here, and I’m sure you’re helping a lot of people. Keep up the great work!
    😛
    .-= Lori (JaneBeNimble)´s last blog ..Righting Time =-.

    • Hi Lori
      Appreciate your kind words.
      Glad you like the site, I’m still in love with it.
      Maybe time to fire up your public speaking again?
      There must be a Speakers Club somewhere near you.
      Live long and comment often.

  23. Great information source here, Keith. I’ve been speaking for almost a decade and I think most people with a real passion for speaking will find that once you get some experience under your belt, you will feel like you just can’t wait to get in front of that live audience. 🙂
    .-= Alison Moore Smith´s last blog ..15 Simple Steps to Ruin Your Blog with Email =-.

    • Hi Alison
      Thanks for pointing out that Public Speaking can actually be enjoyable!
      Great words of encouragement.
      BTW you have a super Blogging Package on your site, including Thesis Theme, there’s posh.
      Also noticed all those useful articles – expect a few more comments from me shortly.

  24. Speakers Clubs (of whatever variety) are amazing things.
    Doing and learning public speaking are great things to do together: you learn and have fun together, and if there’s a better place to make your first mistakes than amongst friends, I don’t know of one.

    We at Wolverhampton Speakers Club (ASC) have a great time and we’ve become firm friends whist improving our public speaking.

    Go on – speak out!

    • Hi Brian
      Great summary of a Speakers Club “a place where you can make mistakes amongst friends.” And I remember making lots of mistakes.
      Hilary and I will make an effort to come over to Wolverhampton Speakers Club.
      BTW missed you and Carolyn at the Midlands AGM.

  25. Keith you understate your case. Joining a speakers club is life enhancing to a degree that will astonish everyone. The boost in self confidence it gives is a mammoth boon. Everyone should be let into this secret.

    • Robert you are spot on.
      Joining a Speakers Club can have a dramatic effect on our lives.
      “life enhancing to a degree that will astonish everyone.”
      Sounds like a great summary to me.
      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment and I look forward to meeting you in York.

  26. Hi Keith,

    Nice blog theme mate, I like it.

    You’re doing very well with your blog I see, and it’s great to see all these comments you’re getting.. Nice!

    I actually have a bit of a fear of public speaking, and I even find it hard trying to make online video presentations.

    The main thing I have problems with is my throat, and my need to always clear it.

    It also doesn’t help that I’m not keen on the sound of my voice on playback, but I think that’s is the same for most people.

    I’ve actually been given access to a Public Speaking training course, by one of my online friends that is selling it… So hopefully this will help me.

    I’ve also found the suggestions in your post helpful, and I shall head back over here again soon to take notes.

    Take care,

    Paul
    .-= Paul Lear´s last blog ..Progress Update! =-.

    • Hi Paul
      Can’t take any credit for the theme, that’s down to the boy genius Nick over at Elegant Themes.
      My next post is about Fear of Public Speaking so you may want to give it a read.
      Throat clearing can be a sign of producing too much mucus and your doctor may be able to give you a nose spray to clear it up.
      You are right…. I hate listening to my own voice.
      Please let me have a link to your friends “Public Speaking training course“, it may be something that my readers will be interested in.
      Many thanks for visiting Paul – look forward to your future comments.

  27. What a difference joining a Speakers Club can make. ‘Am Dram’ is fine but there are only so many lead parts and so many lines to learn! In Speakers Club you get to make up your own words and get to speak every meeting. It’s still a performance but every time you speak you learn something new about yourself and everytime you listen to others you learn even more. Speakers Club is one of this country’s buried treasures.

    Speakers Clubs are also democracies and anyone can be President, treasurer, secretary and get involved in the nuts and bolts of the education programme or publicity for the Club. Imagine what hhidden talents you might reveal to yourself!
    Stop worrying about the country’s deficit and get yourself off the sofa and off to a Speakers Club-you won’t regret it.

    • Give that lady a round of applause.
      Morning Sue, you’re in fine voice this morning – would you like to write my next post?
      Couldn’t agree more with all your points.
      BTW – Please pass on my congratulations to Dilwyn and Mervyn for wiping the floor with the rest of us last weekend.
      A great advert for Stourbridge Speakers Club.
      I’ll be there in York, giving them my support.

  28. Hi Keith – What a useful site and you mention the two organisations who promote public speaking.
    Having been a member and Past President of both I can honestly say that both are excellent but the main difference is that most of the Speakers Clubs (ASC) follow much more rigidly to their Speakers Guide. Experience has shown that this is preferable, in my opinion, and the structured system makes for a better all round public speaking education.
    However whatever Organisation you choose there is no substitute for attendance and practice.

    • Thanks for an interesting comment Lindsay.
      I know that people do join both ASC and Toastmasers and it’s nice to get a comment from someone who has been a member, and President, of both.

  29. Ah yes-practise, practise practise-that’s how to get to Carnegie Hall!

  30. Hello Keith

    During my first speech at Sheffied SC, I was shaking at the extremities and swaying like a metronome. Nobody told me about the shaking until I’d stopped doing it – several speeches later. Very tactful. I joined to gain confidence for a specific purpose – to gain confidence for my first public lecture. But the skills acquired proved to be so useful in everyday communication that I decided to stay beyond my lecture – and I still belong to the ASC, fourteen years after that first nervous foray.

    • Good to hear from you Tony
      We’ve all been there and all lived to tell the tale.
      Hope your extremities have fully recovered.
      Fourteen years with the ASC… do you think you’ll like it? LOL

  31. Roy Gibson says:

    Hi Keith
    First time on, hope you get this.
    I joined Sans Souci Speakers Club to get speaking experience to enable me to talk to a group before becoming the Master of my Masonic Lodge.
    I found the help I got very useful and will now continue, hopefully, to greater things.
    Roy

    • Thanks for your comment Roy
      Not just a lodger but a Masonic lodger. LOL
      Speakers Clubs help people in all sorts of situations:
      Best man speeches.
      Presentations at work.
      And as in your case Master of the Lodge.
      Keep in touch Roy.

  32. Roy Gibson says:

    Keith
    We were robbed tonite, I believe we gave the best overall performance and Hilary was by far the best leader of the group.
    I thought we gave the best variation in the speeches for the topics ‘Three, Men and Boat’.
    Roy

  33. Keith, great advice! I’ve done a good deal of public speaking and have a natural comfort but speakers clubs are an excellent idea. I know several people who have become world class via participation in Toastmasters.
    .-= Karen Swim´s last blog ..Do I Need Social Media? =-.

    • Hi Karen
      Good to have you back!
      Toastmasters has a great reputation and anyone who is prepared to work at it, can get to the top as a Public Speaker.
      Most people are surprised how good they become and how quickly they notice changes.
      I’ll pop over to your site and see what you’ve been up to.

  34. I have started following your blog recently and find it very inspiring. I joined Sans Souci speakers club about two years ago in order to become better at public speaking. I cannot believe the transformation I have had as a public speaker since joining. I have have entered competitions at district level and narrowly missed a place in the ASC national finals.

    Public speaking is a an enviable life skill which many people can dream about. Speakers clubs are a genuine avenue for people to fulfill their dream of becoming good public speakers if they genuinely want to achieve it.

    • Hi Zafar
      Much appreciate your kind words and good to hear that you find my blog inspiring.
      I heard your speech at the ASC Midlands District final and I thought it was superb.
      You spoke with power and passion, and as I recall… without any notes!
      You are a great advert for Speakers Clubs.
      Next time Zafar… next time.

    • Hi Keith
      I’ve just done a radio interview for my new venture in Digbeth, Birmingham – “Digbeth Court Development.”
      Could never have done it without the help from Sans Souci Speakers Club.
      Take a look at the vedeo…..

      http://digbeth.org/2010/03/interview-with-digbeth-courts-zafar-majid/

      Be grateful for your feedback.

    • Hi Zafar
      Brilliant video – you smoothy!
      You look confident and you have all the facts and figures at your fingertips.
      The “Digbeth Court” venture sounds fantastic.
      I’m sure it will be a great success.
      BTW – you look better looking in the video than I remember you. LOL

  35. Been off my commenting routine for a while now. I hope to be back in a few days.

    Like I said before, I suffer an incorrigible type of stagefright. Though I have faced crowds a considerable number of times, e.g. sing, lead a prayer, do a little testimonial talk, the intensity of my stagefright never waivered. And it always affected the quality of my delivery greatly. I’ll be coming here every now and then Keith for more of your posts and hope to find respite from my stagefright soon. 🙂
    .-= James M.´s last blog ..Is Using The Wonder Wheel In SEO Effective? =-.

    • Hi James
      Thanks for your comment and thanks for telling us about your stagefright.
      My next post is the one you shouldn’t miss… it’s all about Stagefright / Fear of Public Speaking.
      I think you’ll find it a great help.
      Should be up by the weekend… hopefully!

  36. I’ve never joined a Speakers Club but that’s not to say that the thought hasn’t crossed my mind. I suppose I’ve just never really “pulled the trigger” and joined.

    I ask for critiques from my colleagues when I’m preparing a presentation. But I can see how/where it isn’t the same.
    .-= Ricardo Bueno´s last blog ..Be A Curator =-.

    • Hi Ricardo
      Just checked out your pedigree on your blog.
      He regularly speaks and consults with some of the most influential organizations in real estate about blogging, social networking, lead generation through social media and technology……”
      Wow, impressive!
      Thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment.

  37. Speakers are generally more helpful than work colleagues-they aren’t after your job!
    A Speakers Club is what might be called a ‘safe’ environment to practise without being exposed to failure.
    There’s no failure anyway-only feedback!

    • Hi Sue
      Safe environment is so important to increasing your confidence, especially when you are starting out.
      Thanks for pointing that out.

  38. The ‘friendly environment’ is one of the most important things about a Speakers Club – especially ASC. The structured progression and non-threatening evaluations are the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of our clubs.

    • You’ve said it all for me Brian.
      Friendly environment, and encouraging evaluations that help you move forward.
      Speakers Clubs give you the confidence to stand in front of an audience and that confidence spills over into so many areas of your life – believe me!

  39. I’m Presisent of Redditch Speakers club, and I would recommend the ASC for giving general confidence in speaking, for work puroposes. Where better to get experience in front of a sympathetic audience than the ASC, before being called on to speak up at work, meet clients or undergo job interviews. It will certainly bring you out of your shell.

    • Hi Brent
      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a supportive comment.
      Remember me to everyone at Redditch Speakers Club.
      Hope they are all keeping well.

  40. Excellent post and even more excellent reaction, Keith. I have been with Toastmasters for a long time now and 2 years ago, founded an advanced club. Toastmasters is an amazing organization, extremely rewarding, highly like-minded people who work hard at bettering their speaking and communication and listening skills. If you can find a nurturing club and especially one with strong evaluations and supporting community (I think all are but some excel more than others), then I highly recommend it. Thanks for promoting public speaking! Well-done!

    • Hi Farnoosh
      Thanks for a great contribution.
      I took a look at your site and found your article on “Starting an Advanced Toastmasters Speakers Club” and have used it to update my post.
      I have added a few links back to your articles.
      Please keep in touch.

  41. Hi Keith!

    I’ve thought about joining Toastmasters but it always seemed focused on people a little older than the Gen-X and Gen-Y generations. What did help me when I was in school, at least, was joining clubs like the Public Relations Society of America (I’m sure there is something very similar in the UK).

    And there are also local business clubs – smaller than Toastmasters and not focused so much on speaking – but generally ones that provide the opportunity to talk about your business (or something else) in front of a group.

    I think it’s always good to get out and speak. It’s hard. I always think I’m going to pass out, but once I open my mouth it just comes naturally.

    Thanks for this!
    .-= Tia – BizChickBlogs.com´s last blog ..8 Minute Post – Becoming Un-boring =-.

    • Tia
      Thanks for visiting and giving us a few ideas where we can practice our Public Speaking.
      Hope people take heart from you saying “I always think I’m going to pass out, but once I open my mouth it just comes naturally.”
      Thanks for giving us hope.

  42. I have been giving talks for about 3 years(off and on) To small groups. I have known about Toastmasters but have not really considered going until recently. I plan on attending it to help me grow my communication skills.

    I really enjoyed the 10 things I could learn in a speakers club. Thanks for the blog entry.
    .-= Dan Black´s last blog ..Everyone Communicates, Few Connect by John Maxwell =-.

    • Hi Dan
      Sounds as though you are doing fine on your own but taking a look at a Toastmasters Club might be useful.
      Thanks for your comment.

  43. Hello Keith,
    Fantastic information on public speaking help advice and practice. I’ve been an Association of Speakers club member since 1996 and can honestly say it’s changed my life. New career, new objectives and a new found confidence I have been able to pass on to other groups and individuals. It’s a crime not to try it out if one is thinking of taking this path. I’ve NEVER been told the ASC has done nothing to boost one’s confidence and allowed them to progress. As well as City check out Camden Town Speakers club
    http://www.camdenspeakers.org.uk/
    Why wait!!!!
    Debra Owen-Hughes

    • Hi Debra
      Looks like you’ve got a great Speakers Club network down there in the London area, City and Camden Town.
      Thanks for mentioning “life changing confidence” – I’m with you on that one.
      Thanks for adding to the discussion. Hope to hear from you again.
      BTW – thought you were a super Toastmistress at the ASC Gala Dinner in York.

  44. Very nice I have faced crowds a considerable number of times, e.g. sing, lead a prayer, do a little testimonial talk, the intensity of my stagefright never waivered. And it always affected the quality of my delivery greatly thanks.
    .-= politics´s last blog ..6-Year-Old “Balloon Boy” Falcon Is Alive, Says Colorado Sheriff =-.

    • Hi – welcome to easy public speaking.
      The great thing about joining a Speakers Club is that you get feedback.
      You may be surprised when that feedback tells you how confident you look.
      Give your local club a try and see what they say.

  45. Hi Keith,

    I’ve never joined a speakers club, but I highly recommend it for beginning speakers. With the exception of getting a speaking coach (which is a big financial commitment), I can’t think of a better way to build confidence and lay down a firm foundation for learning how to be an effective public speakers.

    In Toronto, I enrolled my teenage son in a Toastmasters program for youth. It was a valuable experience for him and the other teenagers who took part in it.

    Keep up the great work.
    .-= John Watkis´s last blog ..How to Start a Speech: The Complete 3-step Process =-.

    • Hi John
      Thanks for a great contribution to the comments.
      Good to hear that you’ve got your son started early – can only stand him in good stead.
      Keep in touch John.

  46. Keith

    Great advice on joining a Speakers Club. All I can add is it neednt cost the earth to improve your Public Speaking either. Ive been attending the Market Harborough and District Speakers Club for the last five years and my ability to speak in Public has improved dramatically. It is good that you are spreading the word as more club member are always welcome. I like the format of this site too

    • Thanks for the kind words David.
      You are so right… Speakers Clubs are ridiculously cheap.
      BTW – thought that you looked great in your kilt at the gala dinner.
      Keep in touch.

  47. Roy Gibson says:

    Hi Keith
    One of the great things about Speakers Club is the Topics Session. To be able to stand up with only a few seconds to think and prepare a mini speach is really demanding. I will continue to try to improve and the technique of being able to think quickly on your feet is a really useful tool.

    • Hi Roy
      Best definition of topics that I’ve heard is “Controlled Panic.”
      Secret is to think quickly… but speak slowly.
      Good to hear that you are going to the Speaker of the Year Dinner. I look forward to seeing you and Barbara.

  48. I’ve always found great benefit at Sans Souci Speakers Club not only in having the opportunity to practise my own speeches but in listening to and analysing other member’s speeches. It all adds up to a great evening out!

    • Hi Lilian
      Thanks for your comment.
      I understand that you will be the President of Sans Souci next season.
      Congratulations… hope you have a great year.

  49. Hi Keith,
    I shall never forget the first time I stood up at Sans Souci Speakers’ Club in Solihull to do a Topic (an attempt at impromptu speaking – speaking for 2 minutes on an unknown subject!). It was excruciating and I could only manage 30 seconds! I sat down to rapturous applause – the room was filled with such generous and supportive people – I was hooked! 5 years later I have developed my skills to the extent that I am the 2009/10 President of the club – what an enjoyable and rewarding hobby it is!
    Well done Keith in spreading the word.

    • Hi Carol
      From raw beginner to Club President in five years is something you should be proud of.
      I’ve heard you speak many times and have always been amazed by your energy and enthusiasm.
      So what’s next?
      Area President, District President or are you going all the way… National President. LOL
      See you next Wednesday.