I met Richard Aves, founder member of club, at a wedding I was attending and at which he was MC in his ‘Red Coat’.
I thought ” I could do that!” We got talking and he invited me to come to the South Manchester Speakers Club. That was in Summer 2008 and I joined in Sept 2008 and have only missed one meeting in over 3 years.
I found the first few months “a bit stuffy” – I wasn’t used to the protocol or the fact the majority of members at that time were older than me (and I was no Spring chicken!).
It felt at first as though I was infiltrating a secret Gentlemen’s club! The programme for each meeting was very established and never changed – 3 speeches and a topics session. I wasn’t sure if I would stay the course.
I remember my first “topic” at the 2nd meeting–“How would you teach quantum physics to a group of professional footballers? ” Hardly a fair introduction , even for a teacher , but I managed to talk for the required 2 minutes!
In my first year I won the club’s speech competition with an 8 minute speech “Radio”, was placed 2nd in evaluation competition. and 3rd in topics (Spring 2009), so not a bad start !
I had never won a trophy for anything in my life and here I was with 3! 4 if you count best attendance! The following year I won Topics comp!
I delivered my “Radio” speech at the Area Competition in Oct.2009, a daunting experience, but I thought I performed quite well, but not well enough to impress the judges!
During the 2009-2010 season the club gained several new and younger and female members and the atmosphere seemed to change for the better, I began to enjoy the evenings rather than worry about what I might have to say.
The club is very good at giving everyone a chance to do different things – so I have been “Topics Presenter” on several occasions,”Evaluator” “Time Keeper” and”Chair” for a few meetings – all very valuable experiences and enjoyable – as well as giving the occasional speech and regular topic contributions.
I am now, after a fairly short apprenticeship, considered to be an important member of the club and have been chosen to be Vice President this year, with a view to being President next year.
The “stuffy” atmosphere has gone, everyone is relaxed at South Manchester Speakers Club nights, new ideas are tried and welcomed and the membership has increased.
I now look forward to meeting friendly faces at our fortnightly Wednesday meetings.