The Association of Speakers Clubs is committed to teaching the art of effective speaking through practice and evaluation. It does not employ professional lecturers or speakers but draws upon the experience of its membership (who have all suffered the fears and lack of confidence themselves) to help evaluate and encourage newer members. Within the atmosphere of friendly club gatherings the ASC offers a well proven approach to learning and improving effective speaking - both prepared and impromptu. We develop our members into better speakers, not just for formal events like dinners, but for any occasion where someone is called upon to say a few words. Club meetings are organised to guide the speaker through a series of logical set assignments. The Association of Speakers Club's manual provides guidance on each of ten basic assignments, as well as an advanced section, with helpful advice on chairmanship, impromptu speaking and evaluation.
We rely on our tried and trusted Speakers' Guide which is available to all ASC members. The ASC Speakers' Guide leads each member through a proven programme of achievement, starting with the ice-breaker assignment. Here the novice speaker is invited to speak on a subject of his/her own choice, most commonly themselves, their hobbies or interests, simply because they have expert knowledge of themselves and so long as they are clearly audible, this assignment should not be too taxing on the individual. The next assignment's title is the watchword for everyone who gives a speech: 'Mean What You Say'.
Here the speaker is asked to speak with feeling and passion about a subject close to their hearts. For example, if you have strong feelings about graffiti, overcrowded trains or poor customer service, here is the opportunity to speak convincingly on what exactly it is, that drives you crazy. We then go on to examine the structure of speeches, gestures and appropriate body language and the effective use of voice using the techniques of pace, pitch, pause and projection. By the time you have achieved your fifth assignment, you will be well on the way to becoming an accomplished speaker.
Each speech is evaluated by a more experienced member who gives views on the performance and advice for improvement. This is the keystone to success. Because there are no hidden agendas, positive peer feedback gives the developing speaker the confidence to improve. The advice is invaluable. It covers how to use body language in a positive manner, how to prepare notes, how to modulate the voice and how to hold an audience by good eye contact.
The Association of Speakers Clubs also organises competitions at Club, Area and District levels, culminating in the National Contests which occur at the end of April each year. There are eight distinct Districts in the organisation which spans England, Scotland and Wales. Each year the National Conference is hosted by a different District. Not only is the regular conference business of the ASC carried out alongside the prestigious competitions, but it is also a marvelous social occasion where new friends and old mingle to share the enjoyment of first class communication.
Please visit the Association of Speakers Club's web site at => http://www.the-asc.org.uk or Beckenham Speakers Club => http://www.beckenhamspeakers.org.uk for a flavour of what we do.