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Public Speaking Development Among Friends

The Aim of the ASC

The Association of Speakers Clubs (ASC) exists to help people become better speakers, better presenters and better leaders. ‘ASC’ is also an acronym for Achieve Speaking Confidence.

Origins

Since its formation in 1971, the ASC has grown into a national organisation of over 100 clubs throughout the United Kingdom.

Organisation

  • 8 Districts divided into Areas.
  • The General Council is the ruling body of the ASC. It consists of delegates from each ASC Club, Area and District. The General Council holds its AGM at the National Conference to discuss management and development.
  • The National Conference, held each year towards the end of April, is both business and social. The national finals of the Speech, Evaluation and Topics contests take place over that weekend.
  • The National Executive Committee (NEC) is the Association’s administrative body and consists of the National President, Secretary, Treasurer, Development Officer and Education Director together with other appointive officers along with each District President of each District. The NEC meets about 3 times annually.
  • Information from the NEC is passed on via Districts, Areas and Clubs to ensure well-informed, efficient and consistent administration.

Documentation

The Association has various publications to help members develop speaking skills. The most important of these is this Speakers Guide. The Guide is made available to every member when joining the Association and gives advice on how to improve one’s skills from the earliest stage through to advanced performance.

  • The first sections give general advice on how to prepare and deliver a speech.
  • Ten main assignments are detailed, each designed to improve a particular aspect of speaking.
  • The advanced section gives a further range of opportunities to hone one’s speaking skills.
  • Advice is also given on evaluation or the skill of providing helpful and constructive feedback.
  • Plus much more sound guidance.

Certificates of Achievement

  • Members are encouraged to work through the first ten assignments to the satisfaction of their Club Education Director. After successful completion of the first five assignments, an interim Certificate is awarded. A Certificate of Achievement is awarded after all ten have been completed.
  • Further certificates are aimed at more specific advanced skills.

Communication

  • Helpful publications are available to members from the Materials Officer.
  • Our national magazine, ‘The Speaker’ is published every Spring and Autumn and is free to all members. It contains Speakers Club news, views and details of events along with entertaining and instructive articles on effective speaking.
  • The website is the main online source of information for the general public and for members. It also contains electronic copies of many ASC documents which members may consult and download.

Nationwide From a Member

How to ace the awkward interview question, "what is your greatest weakness?"

One of our members, in her third year at Arbroath Speakers Club was searching for another job.  At one of her first interviews for over a decade, she had come unstuck at the dreaded interview question, "So, what do you see as your greatest weakness?".

After the interview, she had searched the internet for tips on answering this question.  The advice was to take something that had been negative in yourself and show how you turned it into a positive.  She knew she had the perfect example in the Speakers Club.  At her next interview, when the question came up, she was able to tell the panel how the thought of public speaking used to put the fear of dread into her and how she'd gone along to her local Speakers Club open evening and been a member ever since. She explained how her club had helped her tackle her nerves by giving her regular opportunities to stand up and speak in front of a large group - both with prepared speeches and impromptu speaking.  She then added that her confidence had grown so much that she had even volunteered to enter the district speech contest a few months previously and had made it through to the area level contest.

The member received immediate feedback on her answer as being 'very good indeed' and strongly believed her answer, as well as the confidence she had gained through speaking regularly at the club, contributed to her getting the job offer she desired.

A member of Nottingham Speakers Club writes

On my first visit I was a bit timid, but the advice and support I received from the other members immediately put me at ease. I soon found out one doesn’t have to be scared, as the Club is a haven for people helping each other, like a well knit family. 

Having to make a speech at a wedding

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