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Object of a Speakers' Club   Notes for General Evaluators   Effective Evaluations   ASC Golden Rules for Evaluations   ASC Evaluations - Pitfalls and Traps   The Role of Chairman   Outline Guide for Making Speeches   How to introduce a Speaker - by Dennis Carlyle   The Role of Topics Master  

Object of a Speakers' Club

To help members improve their ability to communicate effectively.

To provide for members, instruction, educational materials and opportunities which give them skills and experience in the preparation and delivery of speeches.

To encourage members to read and listen analytically.

To increase members knowledge of rules of business procedures and skills in conducting meetings and participating in group discussions.

To develop the self-confidence of members.

To provide opportunities and encouragement for members to appear before audiences and to express their thoughts credibly.

Notes for General Evaluators

Before a meeting:

Do read section D3 of the Speakers' Guide.

Do revise requirements for programme assignments.

Do formulate your theme, i.e. plan your evening with a historical view and set your aim.

At the meeting:

Do assess the Chairmanship, proceedings, speakers' effort, evaluators' effort.

Do give recommendations for improvement.

Do give your honest overall impression.

Do not re-tell the evening's proceedings.

Do remember your word is the last one, so be worthy of it.

Outline Guide for Making Speeches

Preparing Your Speech

1.1 Public Speaking For Everyone

Preparing and delivering your first public speech can be a daunting affair. You may find it difficult deciding what you want to say, how to say it, or perhaps the thought of speaking before an audience scares you. It's true that some people are naturally talented at public speaking, but the good news is that with some helpful guidance, anyone can write and deliver a successful speech that will be remembered for all the right reasons.


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1.2 Solid Foundations

Your first instinct may be to sit down with a pen and paper and charge full steam ahead into the first line of your speech. Don't. You will save yourself a lot of time and effort, not to mention much frustrating re-writing, if you begin instead by devoting some time to careful planning of your speech. Through effective preparation, you will answer all the questions and doubts about your speech before they arise. The contents of your speech, and how you deliver it, are based on three important factors:

  • 1.2.1 The Occasion
  • 1.2.2 The Audience
  • 1.2.3 The Purpose of Your Speech

1.2.1 The Occasion

The nature of the occasion will obviously have a great bearing on your speech. The occasion will dictate not only the content of your speech, but also the duration, the tone, and the expectations of your audience. For example, humour may be inappropriate during a business presentation or a eulogy, while it may be welcome during a wedding speech, or a sports event. You should also be aware of your role and any observances that you should make during your speech (For example, a Best Man ought to close his speech with a toast to the Bride and Groom).

Be mindful of the occasion and your role in it.

1.2.2 The Audience

Whatever the occasion, your speech must always be targeted at your audience.

If you are familiar with your audience, for example if the occasion is a large family gathering, then your speech should acknowledge and build upon your existing intimacy with your audience. The use of names and personal details of members of your audience can help to engage your listeners.

If the speech is to an unfamiliar audience then an early goal of your speech must be to build a degree of trust with the listeners.

You must know who your audience are in order to best decide how to affect your message upon them.

1.2.3 The Purpose of Your Speech

By setting out a few clear goals before you start writing your speech, you will be better equipped to judge its progress and success of your speech prior to its public airing. A hilarious Best Man speech may have your audience rolling in the aisles, but if you fail to give tribute to the Bride and Groom you will have failed in your role.

By setting clear goals, you will be better positioned to judge the likely success of your speech.

Writing Your Speech

2.1 Structure

Most good writing, we are told over and over again, must have structure. A good speech is no exception. By providing your speech with a beginning, middle, and an end, you will have laid the foundations for a successful speech that fulfils all of your aspirations.

We will now cover each of these areas:

  • 2.2 The Opening
  • 2.3 The Middle
  • 2.4 The Closing

2.2 The Beginning

The first thirty seconds of your speech are probably the most important. In that period of time you must grab the attention of the audience, and engage their interest in what you have to say in your speech.

This can be achieved in several ways. For example you could raise a thought-provoking question, make an interesting or controversial statement, recite a relevant quotation or even recount a joke.

Once you have won the attention of the audience, your speech should move seamlessly to the middle of your speech.

2.3 The Body

The body of your speech will always be the largest part of your speech. At this point your audience will have been introduced to you and the subject of your speech (as set out in your opening) and will hopefully be ready to hear your arguments, your musings or on the subject of your speech.

The best way to set out the body of your speech is by formulating a series of points that you would like to raise. In the context of your speech, a "point" could be a statement about a product, a joke about the bridegroom or a fond memory of the subject of a eulogy.

The points should be organised so that related points follow one another so that each point builds upon the previous one. This will also give your speech a more logical progression, and make the job of the listener a far easier one.

Don't try to overwhelm your audience with countless points. It is better to have fewer points that you make well than to have too many points, none of which are made satisfactorily.

2.4 The Closing

Like you Opening, the Closing of your speech must contain some of your strongest material.

You should view the closing of your speech as an opportunity. It is an opportunity to:

  • Summarise the main points of your speech
  • Provide some further food for thought for your listeners
  • Leave your audience with positive memories of your speech
  • Choose the final thought/emotion (for example, with well wishes to the Bride and Groom, with fond memories of a departed friend, with admiration for winners and losers at an awards ceremony etc).

Delivering Your Speech

3.1 Scripts, Notes or Memory?

It's now time to prepare to deliver your speech. If you are nervous or inexperienced, you will probably want to choose to read your speech from a script or from notes.

3.1.1 Reading From a Script

Reading your entire speech from a script may give you confidence and ensure that nothing is forgotten or omitted, however it is the least desirable option for delivering your speech. You will find it more difficult to see your audience, and make it harder for them to get involved to you. When reading from a script it is extremely difficult to deliver your speech to your audience, rather than just read it aloud.

3.1.2 Using Notes

If you are not confident enough to recited your speech from memory, then the use of notes is a much more desirable option than using a complete script. Your notes should consist of the keywords or points of your speech - a skeleton of thoughts or words around which you can build your speech. You may refer to your notes occasionally to maintain the thread of your speech, while for the most part of you will be able to speak directly to the audience.

3.1.3 Reciting From Memory

You may prefer to recite from memory. However you should only do this if you are comfortable speaking publicly, and not prone to loss of concentration (or memory!). As with reading from a script, you should be careful not to lapse into a monotonous recitation of your speech.

3.2 Speech Delivery Tips

  • Make sure that your appearance is well presented
  • Speak clearly, and adjust your voice so that everyone can hear you. Don't shout for the sake of being loud
  • It is common to speak rapidly when nervous, try to take your time speaking
  • Effectively used, a pause in your speech can be used to emphasise a point, or to allow the audience to react to a fact, anecdote or joke
  • Make eye contact with your audience. This helps to build trust and a relationship between the speaker and the listeners
  • Do not fidget or make other nervous gestures with your hands. - Do not keep your hands in your pockets. Do use hand gestures effectively
  • Be yourself, allow your own personality to come across in your speech


The Role of Chairman

When you are Chairing any meeting your primary aim is to make people feel welcome and at ease. Careful preparation is the key to success.

You must let people know what is about to happen and you must be in control of all aspects of the meeting.

The etiquette of Chairing expects you to stand until the speaker acknowledges you.

Considerations:

Before the meeting:

Ensure the room is prepared.

Identify guests and ask their names.

Check programme participants are present.

Discuss programme changes.

Keep control of time.

Announce the start of the meeting - on time.

Open the meeting:

Welcome guests by their names.

Take apologies.

Announce any programme changes.

Name the time keeper.

Explain the light system.

Briefly explain the aims of the ASC.

Prepared speeches:

Give a short introduction.

Say who will speak, to what level and name the Speech Evaluator for the evening.

Introduce the first speaker - timing, title, lights at ....

Thank speaker and introduce the next until the end of the session.

Call on the Speech Evaluator.

Thank the speakers and the Speech Evaluator.

Announce the interval clearly stating the restart time.

Ask those present to recharge their glasses and then call on the President or Secretary for business matters during interval.

Topics Session:

Introduce Topics chair and say how long they have.

Hand over the meeting to them including the gavel.

The Topics chair explains: the aim of topics, how the lights work, who is evaluating.

After the last topic, the Topics chair hands back to the Chairman.

Organise vote including voting slips.

Introduce Topics Evaluator.

Thank Evaluator and announce winner of vote.

What else?

General Evaluation.

Invite attendees to bring a friend, neighbour, colleague etc to the next meeting.

Close meeting and announce date of next meeting.

Extras:

When Chairing any meeting, you must be observant. This means knowing who wants to speak, in which order, keeping track of time.

Control is the key to an orderly meeting, don't let people speak out of turn, ramble or become irrelevant.

A good Chair will have listened carefully to all speakers and should be able to comment briefly on the outcome of the meeting.

Follow these rules and you should enjoy being Chair.

Outline Guide for Making Speeches

Preparing Your Speech

1.1 Public Speaking For Everyone

Preparing and delivering your first public speech can be a daunting affair. You may find it difficult deciding what you want to say, how to say it, or perhaps the thought of speaking before an audience scares you. It's true that some people are naturally talented at public speaking, but the good news is that with some helpful guidance, anyone can write and deliver a successful speech that will be remembered for all the right reasons.

1.2 Solid Foundations

Your first instinct may be to sit down with a pen and paper and charge full steam ahead into the first line of your speech. Don't. You will save yourself a lot of time and effort, not to mention much frustrating re-writing, if you begin instead by devoting some time to careful planning of your speech. Through effective preparation, you will answer all the questions and doubts about your speech before they arise. The contents of your speech, and how you deliver it, are based on three important factors:

  • 1.2.1 The Occasion
  • 1.2.2 The Audience
  • 1.2.3 The Purpose of Your Speech

1.2.1 The Occasion

The nature of the occasion will obviously have a great bearing on your speech. The occasion will dictate not only the content of your speech, but also the duration, the tone, and the expectations of your audience. For example, humour may be inappropriate during a business presentation or a eulogy, while it may be welcome during a wedding speech, or a sports event. You should also be aware of your role and any observances that you should make during your speech (For example, a Best Man ought to close his speech with a toast to the Bride and Groom).

Be mindful of the occasion and your role in it.

1.2.2 The Audience

Whatever the occasion, your speech must always be targeted at your audience.

If you are familiar with your audience, for example if the occasion is a large family gathering, then your speech should acknowledge and build upon your existing intimacy with your audience. The use of names and personal details of members of your audience can help to engage your listeners.

If the speech is to an unfamiliar audience then an early goal of your speech must be to build a degree of trust with the listeners.

You must know who your audience are in order to best decide how to affect your message upon them.

1.2.3 The Purpose of Your Speech

By setting out a few clear goals before you start writing your speech, you will be better equipped to judge its progress and success of your speech prior to its public airing. A hilarious Best Man speech may have your audience rolling in the aisles, but if you fail to give tribute to the Bride and Groom you will have failed in your role.

By setting clear goals, you will be better positioned to judge the likely success of your speech.

Writing Your Speech

2.1 Structure

Most good writing, we are told over and over again, must have structure. A good speech is no exception. By providing your speech with a beginning, middle, and an end, you will have laid the foundations for a successful speech that fulfils all of your aspirations.

We will now cover each of these areas:

  • 2.2 The Opening
  • 2.3 The Middle
  • 2.4 The Closing

2.2 The Beginning

The first thirty seconds of your speech are probably the most important. In that period of time you must grab the attention of the audience, and engage their interest in what you have to say in your speech.

This can be achieved in several ways. For example you could raise a thought-provoking question, make an interesting or controversial statement, recite a relevant quotation or even recount a joke.

Once you have won the attention of the audience, your speech should move seamlessly to the middle of your speech.

2.3 The Body

The body of your speech will always be the largest part of your speech. At this point your audience will have been introduced to you and the subject of your speech (as set out in your opening) and will hopefully be ready to hear your arguments, your musings or on the subject of your speech.

The best way to set out the body of your speech is by formulating a series of points that you would like to raise. In the context of your speech, a "point" could be a statement about a product, a joke about the bridegroom or a fond memory of the subject of a eulogy.

The points should be organised so that related points follow one another so that each point builds upon the previous one. This will also give your speech a more logical progression, and make the job of the listener a far easier one.

Don't try to overwhelm your audience with countless points. It is better to have fewer points that you make well than to have too many points, none of which are made satisfactorily.

2.4 The Closing

Like you Opening, the Closing of your speech must contain some of your strongest material.

You should view the closing of your speech as an opportunity. It is an opportunity to:

  • Summarise the main points of your speech
  • Provide some further food for thought for your listeners
  • Leave your audience with positive memories of your speech
  • Choose the final thought/emotion (for example, with well wishes to the Bride and Groom, with fond memories of a departed friend, with admiration for winners and losers at an awards ceremony etc).

Delivering Your Speech

3.1 Scripts, Notes or Memory?

It's now time to prepare to deliver your speech. If you are nervous or inexperienced, you will probably want to choose to read your speech from a script or from notes.

3.1.1 Reading From a Script

Reading your entire speech from a script may give you confidence and ensure that nothing is forgotten or omitted, however it is the least desirable option for delivering your speech. You will find it more difficult to see your audience, and make it harder for them to get involved to you. When reading from a script it is extremely difficult to deliver your speech to your audience, rather than just read it aloud.

3.1.2 Using Notes

If you are not confident enough to recited your speech from memory, then the use of notes is a much more desirable option than using a complete script. Your notes should consist of the keywords or points of your speech - a skeleton of thoughts or words around which you can build your speech. You may refer to your notes occasionally to maintain the thread of your speech, while for the most part of you will be able to speak directly to the audience.

3.1.3 Reciting From Memory

You may prefer to recite from memory. However you should only do this if you are comfortable speaking publicly, and not prone to loss of concentration (or memory!). As with reading from a script, you should be careful not to lapse into a monotonous recitation of your speech.

3.2 Speech Delivery Tips

  • Make sure that your appearance is well presented
  • Speak clearly, and adjust your voice so that everyone can hear you. Don't shout for the sake of being loud
  • It is common to speak rapidly when nervous, try to take your time speaking
  • Effectively used, a pause in your speech can be used to emphasise a point, or to allow the audience to react to a fact, anecdote or joke
  • Make eye contact with your audience. This helps to build trust and a relationship between the speaker and the listeners
  • Do not fidget or make other nervous gestures with your hands. - Do not keep your hands in your pockets. Do use hand gestures effectively
  • Be yourself, allow your own personality to come across in your speech
How to introduce a Speaker - by Dennis Carlyle

INTRODUCTIONS

An Extract from "The Speaker"

By Dennis Carlyle

Of all the facets of public speaking, introductions are probably the most abused. This is because we fail to determine the object, the purpose and the desired result. How seldom do we hear an introduction which is really not much more than a partial biography, uninteresting, planless, stumbled through,- merely going through the motions? Who cares whether the speaker was born 1901 in Piddlehinton, that he went to grammar school, high school and university, that she married a class mate, has four children, a Polo, a bulldog, and moved to Dublin in 1961? So they are going to speak on "The future of our forests in Africa".

Exaggeration? Maybe. But not too far out. It recalls all the boring ritual of the average introduction.

What is our duty in introducing the speaker? Obviously, to increase the interest, attention and anticipation of the audience. It is only courtesy to the speaker to condition the audience to a pleased, happy anticipation and ensure attention.

What is a good introduction?

It consists of several things:

It is brief. With a few rare exceptions, a good introduction should not go over two or three minutes. Don't hog the limited time of the speaker.

There should always be an "introduction of the introduction." Perhaps this is only a single sentence of an attention-compelling nature. An introduction is a short speech and should follow the rules for good speech making. Some apropos side remarks or comments might further increase the mood and anticipation if it is lightly humorous and in good taste.

The body of the introduction should point up the importance of the timeliness of the subject to be discussed. This is to increase the interest of the "so what" members of the audience. A short statement about the speaker should follow, restricted as far as possible to their accomplishments, especially.

Up to this point, the title of the talk, the business or professional connection, or the title of the speaker and their name, have not been given. The conclusion of the introduction consists of these three:

title of speech

title of speaker

the speaker's name

in that order. The last words spoken are the name of the speaker.

All of this in three minutes? Yes. It takes some doing, but it is your duty. Try it and you will be surprised at the good reception it will get.

Rare indeed is the person who can give a good introduction if they are called upon only in the last few minutes before the speech. An introduction needs preparation, thought and ingenuity. The introducer needs to know the title of the speech, the slant the speaker will take, some pertinent facts about them, and the type of audience they will be addressing.

When you are the introducer, pay close attention to everything that happens prior to your part in the programme. Often events occur that throw into your lap a comment or bit of humour which, if grasped, establishes the easy liaison and happy anticipation which is priceless background for the speaker.

What about introducing more than one speaker at the same meeting?

If that is your task, pay close attention to what the first speaker says. Use your ingenuity, and as they finish, comment upon their speech. Pick out some statement or thought you can refer to, and in a logical or humorous way, connect their speech with the one which is to follow. Use such remarks as the "introduction to the introduction" for the next speaker.

In making an introduction it is your duty not to bore the audience. It is your duty to increase your audience attention and anticipation. Try it next time. Condition the audience as you introduce the speaker.

Effective Evaluations

First of all, why are evaluations so important to a speakers club?

The answer is very simple, because evaluations are designed to be helpful and supportive, and to that end, improve the delivery skills of the budding speaker.

The role of evaluator is key to a successful speakers club, because a speakers club where nobody improves is somewhat self-defeating. So, it is the role of the evaluator to highlight and praise all of the good elements of the speech, then identify areas for improvement, and give tips and advice on how those elements can be improved upon.

And this is the key.

So what is an evaluator looking for in a prepared speech?

First of all, has the speaker chosen a suitable subject? Secondly, has the speaker carefully prepared the speech? And finally, has the speaker effectively delivered his speech?

Let's take a closer look at those three items again.

First, did the subject provide the opportunity to demonstrate the assignment level? Were the speech and delivery tailored to suit the audience? Did the speech cover a logical objective? Was the speech designed to inform, amuse or convince the audience? That purpose should be established by the evaluator and comment made as to whether it was achieved or not.

Now let's look at preparation.

Careful preparation reveals itself in the notes and structure of the speech. So the evaluator must ask himself, were the notes clearly written, easily handled and unobtrusive in use? The speech should be clearly developed, with a structure that enhances the contents. How well chosen were the words used by the speaker? How descriptive were the word pictures? Were there any amusing anecdotes that were in tune with the tenor of the speech?

So, preparation is key to an effective speech.

Thorough preparation should come across in the delivery of the speech. The word should is key here, because no matter how good the preparation, the speech will stand or fall on its delivery. How did the words run? Did they prove difficult to say? Were the sentences long and rambling? The evaluator is looking for word usage with maximum impact, so long as you are conveying your intended message.

On the delivery side of the speech, what is the evaluator looking for?

Firstly, audibility. Could everybody hear the speaker? Did the lady on the back row miss half the speech?

Secondly, enunciation.

Were the words clear? Were word endings clear or clipped? There is nothing wrong with a regional accent, unless it is so pronounced as to affect enunciation and comprehension. An evaluator must never criticise a physical speech defect.

Let's move on to modulation.

How well did the speaker modulate his voice? Were the speed and pace of delivery appropriate? The speaker must be encouraged to put variety into his voice. Use a few loud and soft passages, try to raise and reduce the tempo. Encourage the speaker to use the pause for effect, for emphasis, to take a deep breath or to allow for audience reaction.

Eye Contact.

Did the speaker look at the audience? The effect of eye contact is to make members of the audience feel that they are being individually addressed. The speaker must vary eye contact depending on the size of his audience. But they must make everybody feel they are personally involved. Never stare at a single member of the audience. Don't look at the ceiling or the floor. And don't keep your eyes glued to your notes. If you want the audience to like you and to listen to you, then good eye contact is essential.

What about gestures?

Not all speeches lend themselves to gestures, so don't try to force unwanted or unnecessary gestures into the speech. But you must always be on the lookout for appropriate gestures because if you miss out on the opportunities, it will detract from your speech. If the evaluator highlights the lack of gestures, he must explain where and when that opportunity was lost. Remember that gestures include facial expressions as well as body movement.

Moving on, we have stance and mannerisms.

Was the speaker's stance confident, poised, relaxed, alert? Does he have any distracting mannerisms like playing with his spectacles, jingling coins in his pocket, or continually stepping forwards and backwards like a cat on a hot tin roof? It's highly likely that the speaker knows nothing of these mannerisms. And once these points are highlighted, they often cease to do it.

Now, let's look at the use of notes.

There are no 'right' or 'wrong' uses of notes. Each speaker must find what suits them best. But if they put a barrier between themselves and their audience, then the evaluator must raise that point, and offer some suggestions on how to overcome the problem.

So, an evaluation is like a sandwich. The top layer is one of praise for the speaker, his preparation and his courage to stand up and deliver a speech to a group of strangers. Highlight all of the strong aspects of his speech. The filling of the sandwich is to give feedback on what can be improved, with regards to subject, preparation and delivery. If the speech requires a major overhaul, do not raise every individual problem. But concentrate on the main areas of audibility, eye contact and modulation. Highlight the main points and gives tips and ideas on how these points can be overcome.

Finally, praise the speaker again. Thank him for preparing and delivering his speech and let him know if he has passed the assignment.

Always try to end on a high note.

'Ulrika, that was a great speech, please come back again soon and give us your level 6 on word pictures.'

A good evaluation should not exceed 4 minutes.

Never comment on the contents of a speech. To get involved in a subjective argument could totally undermine your evaluation.

Evaluating a speech is a serious business. The speaker is looking to you for help and advice on how to improve their public speaking skills. Never be frivolous or patronising, and you must never use an evaluation to score points over the speaker. It would be counter productive to your role as evaluator and damage the image of the club.

Good luck with your evaluations and always remember just how significant the role of evaluator is. You are the catalyst for improvement in the budding speaker, your advice can help the speaker fulfil his speaking ambitions.

For more details on evaluations, please reference section D1 of the ASC Speakers' Guide which contains more helpful advice on the do's and don't of successful evaluations.

ASC Golden Rules for Evaluations

Do familiarise yourself with the speaker's assignment including the evaluation briefing notes.

Do read the speaker's previous evaluations.

Do encourage and help the speaker to improve.

Do deal with the key points only.

Do make your purpose clear.

Do be positive and sympathetic.

Do be selective with time and advice.

Do illustrate your advice with examples.

Do be honest, fair and objective.

Do remember that the evaluation is also a speech.

ASC Evaluations - Pitfalls and Traps

Do not re-tell the speech.

Do not comment on the content of the speech.

Do not engage in a subjective argument.

Do not be personal, abrasive or sarcastic.

Do not try to score points at the speaker's expense.

Do not criticise or comment without justification or full explanation.

Do not ignore, but do not labour, trivial points.

Do not fawn or flatter.

Do not indulge in gratuitous comments.

Do not be afraid to speak your mind.

The Role of Topics Master

There is quite a skill in being a Topics master.

For additional notes on what type of themed session is required, refer to the ASC Speakers' Manual.

First of all identify two topics evaluators and ask them to do odds and evens.

Preferably, ask them to sit next to each other so there's no confusion as to who's evaluating whom.

Check that the lightkeeper is briefed as to the expected duration of each topic. 3 minutes or 2 minutes depending on the size of the turnout.

The Topics master should have a good idea of who is an experienced speaker and who is not. (If in doubt, consult the evening's Chairman).

Clearly explain the purpose and benefits of the topics session.

It's important that the Topics master knows the names of those people present.

Members and guests like to be invited to speak by name and not as the the chap in the bright green jumper.

Fortunately we have name badges and sticky labels for guests, but it's important at the break to get people's names and find out if they want to give a topic. It's quite devastating if you ask a succession of people to do a topic and they all refuse.

The Topics master should observe closely who has spoken in the first half of the programme.

This is important, for example, where there is a big turnout of members and guests. It's reasonable to expect that those who gave a speech in the first half or who have given evaluations will not mind not giving a topic to ensure that those who have not been active in the first half get the opportunity to speak. (Sorry about the double negative).

It's vitally important that those people who want to participate get the opportunity.

Start the session by inviting a few experienced speakers who have not yet contributed. This sets the standard and gives confidence to the guests as they now know what to expect.

Follow this up with some less experienced people but check with them at the break that they are prepared to speak.

If there's a large turnout, ask the participants to talk for 2 minutes, with green light at 1min, amber light at 1.5 mins and red at 2mins.

Keep a track on time, the last participant must start before 9.45pm. This gives ample time for evaluations (usually by 2 topics evaluators) and the General Evaluation.

It's good practice to comment briefly on the previous speaker's topic, or raise a point on something you found interesting or informative. This helps with fluid continuity, hopefully building a link between that last speaker and the next.