Why not come along and join us for a fun and rewarding evening that will help you build confidence and really help reduce those nerves when speaking in front of other people? If you’d like to take part in the evening you can, however if you prefer to sit and watch for your first few sessions then that is perfectly fine. Have a read below about what happens in a typical Sans Souci club meeting or join the next meeting.
Sans Souci Speakers Club (Solihull) is a member of the Association of Speakers Clubs (ASC) and our meetings follow the guidelines in the ASC Speakers Guide. A copy of this book is available for you to look at a meeting.
Sans Souci members learn that a good speech should contain emotion, it should contain humour, and most importantly, it should contain a message. We will show you how to plan a speech, how to lay it out in a logical manner with an introduction, a development and a conclusion and how to prepare a script that doesn’t sound like a school essay. We can show you how to deliver it in a relaxed style with a good voice and appropriate gestures. And how to do all this for different types of speeches – pre-prepared speeches, speeches with a few scratched notes, real impromptu speeches and when giving feedback and chairing a meeting.
So how does this all fit into a typical Sans Souci meeting?
Usually we will have a few prepared speeches. Most will be one of the ASC A1-A10 assignments which each concentrate on a particular aspect of speech making, guiding the novice speaker from “Making a Start” through aspects such as “Speech Construction” and “Use of Voice” to the A10 – “The Masterpiece”.
In a standard club meeting you will see speakers attempting an “A” assignment and using all the
techniques covered in their previous speeches. A similar test you may see is a “Prescription Speech” where the speaker is judged on their ability to sway an audience in one of the following four ways: to entertain; to persuade; to inform; or to pay a tribute. The judge here is an audience vote.
There are also many more advanced tasks, usually chosen by members who have reached their ASC A10 level. You may see one of these assignments being attempted – it might be a reading, speaking without notes or using visual aids. Look in the Speakers Guide at the “F” and “G” assignments and you will see a large range of ideas.
We are constantly evaluating each other and there are a number of reasons for this. Although Sans Souci aims to be a fun, social event open to people from all backgrounds, what our members share is the desire to become a better public speaker; so we provide challenges for speakers, both novice and experienced. Like other aspects of life, improvement happens from observing others, copying the good and avoiding the less good; practice and experience; and getting feedback from peers.
Each prepared speech is formally evaluated by another Sans Souci member. This not only tells the speaker what they have done well and what they could do better, it also highlights these things to the audience. We all learn from watching others speak as well as speaking ourselves. And preparing and delivering an evaluation is itself a learning experience. In fact it’s a higher level of learning than making a prepared speech. Sometimes you will hear evaluations from experienced evaluators
and sometimes from novice evaluations. So don’t just accept everything an evaluator says, and think about what they have missed out. Do you agree with them? It’s for these reasons that the evening ends with a General Evaluation (GE). This is being prepared during the meeting and is delivered by one of the more experienced Sans Souci members. They assess the whole evening, especially the earlier evaluators, and the GE also has the final say about the decision of the prepared speech evaluators – should the speaker try that “A” task again or are they ready to move on to the
next one? Why don’t you try to predict what the GE is going to say?
The GE also evaluates the chair. Chairing SS meetings is part of our learning. You may see an
experienced or a novice chair this evening. We learn such things as – how to introduce a guest, how to propose a vote of thanks, how to thank a speaker and make a link to the next speaker. The arts of
chairmanship are vital for any public speaker.
We all give impromptu speeches every day of our lives. People ask about your holiday, what you do for a living or how to get to the local supermarket and you deliver a short unprepared speech giving all the information they need in a relaxed, friendly and animated manner. But sometimes we have to give an impromptu speech in front of an audience and it can be difficult to know what to say or in what order to say it. Don’t worry, we’ll show you how to think on your feet and marshal your thoughts. You’ll never be lost for words again!
We practice impromptu speeches in the second half of a standard club evening and we call it “Topics”. And, of course, so that we all get the most from Topics – delivering a Topic, watching Topics and chairing the Topics session, these too are evaluated!
So that’s a standard Sans Souci Speakers Club meeting. You will see some formality – addressing the chair, timing of speeches; and some rules about being polite. A bit of structure helps the evening to be controlled and enables everyone to fulfil their role – its planned so that everyone present has a chance to speak during each meeting. Sometimes we have special meetings – examples are evenings based on debating, games or using visual aids; there are annual competitions for prepared speeches, evaluations and Topics. There are also team competitions when Sans Souci takes on local speakers clubs from around the West Midlands. By joining in and watching more experienced club members you’ll learn how to do all of the above and get lots and lots of practice.
At the regular meetings you’ll follow the ASC Speakers Guide introductory programme that involves progressing through the following levels:
1. Making a start
2. Speech construction
3. Mean what you say
4. Using gestures & body language
5. Using your voice effectively
6. Use of vocabulary & word pictures
7. Using notes & a microphone
8. Use of humour
9. Achieving audience rapport
10. Showpiece speech
The Club’s Education Director will schedule you into the programme of meetings throughout the year to progress your speech giving, evaluation and chairing skills. We also have four annual competitions within the club: a prepared speech competition, an evaluation competition, a topics competition and a poetry reading competition. We also put together teams to compete at interclub competitions throughout the year. It is up to you how involved in competing you wish to be.
So, why not come along and join us for a fun and rewarding evening that will help you build confidence and really help reduce those nervous when speaking in front of other people?
Many of our visitors often feel encouraged by the support of existing members that they decide to take part on their first evening.
To book your free sessions, simple fill out the online contact form here.