After all the success of our conference last week, it’s a great pleasure to add to the feel-good factor with news of August’s winner of Club of the Month. Spearheaded by the force to be reckoned with, Nerys Jones, Cardiff Mixed is a phenomenal club with much to be proud of.
Cue Cardiff Mixed
Cardiff Mixed Speakers Club was originally Cardiff Ladies Speakers Club. The word “mixed” was included in the revised title to denote mixed gender but it also relates to race, religion, politics, purpose and sense of humour. Their stated aim is that members learn to enjoy speaking in public. They combine learning with fun, helping each other build confidence, while meeting interesting people from different backgrounds, hearing what they have to say and exchanging points of view, always retaining grown-up manners and not causing offence. When the lockdown measures were introduced, they decided to continue meeting at the same time and dates but on Zoom.
Surviving and thriving during lockdown
We caught up with Nerys who explained more about their lockdown experience,
“Zoom was new to most of us and, although some members didn’t have the equipment or didn’t want to meet that way, most of us persevered and we learnt together. There can be no doubt that the new skills will be useful because the way business operates has changed since the pandemic. Platforms such as Zoom and teams have now been recognised as very efficient ways to hold meetings and conduct business. At the beginning of the lockdown, we decided that speeches and evaluations on Zoom should be shorter with a little less emphasis on formality and more emphasis on the fun aspects. In order to keep our standard and numbers up, we also invited people from other clubs.
One of the first items on our meeting agenda is usually “Word of the Meeting”. A word is set and its meaning or meanings are explained, together with any interesting facts about it. The challenge is for speakers to make relevant use of the word as many times as they can during the evening. The person who sets it keeps count and reports back at the end of the meeting.
Then we get everybody involved by having a round robin, in which everybody gets to speak for up to a minute. These are run by the Chair, who may base it on a theme or select a word or words from the last sentence spoken. Levels Meetings are the name we give to evenings in which members are invited to tackle the next level in the ASC Guide. These are always properly evaluated to ensure worthy passes. If not up to standard, we offer advice and guidance on how to improve for a retake.
We try to alternate Levels Meetings with competition and theme nights. Competitions may be for Speech, Evaluation, Topics, Novel, True or False, or One Title. Theme Nights may be for such things as Show and Tell, Poetry or Debates. If possible, we organise relevant education slots in the preceding meetings. We also try to fit in a Quotation of the Meeting and mini-quiz. The quotation should be something with a valuable message or historical interest that Speakers may be able to refer to in the future. The mini-quiz is set by a quizmaster, who has made notes during the evening. The quizmaster asks about 10 to 15 questions about what has been said. The result is a fun test of who was listening.
While speeches, evaluations and topics are the main essentials of any speakers club, we firmly believe in the fun aspects. It’s good to get everybody involved and rotate tasks. We must be doing something right because we have increased our membership and had considerable success in the Area and District competitions.”
And well done to Nerys
Of course, what Nerys didn’t mention was the amazing work that she did during lockdown supporting other clubs, as she became a regular face and participant at club meetings up and down the country. So, a massive well done to Cardiff Mixed Speakers Club and to Nerys as well. If you’re in Cardiff and would like to improve your public speaking, you can find out more here: email@example.com.