This 2013/14 season, we’re making TWO enhancements to the TOPICS sessions at Camden Speakers Club…
If you’ve not been to the club before, let me explain: ‘topics‘ are impromptu speaking sessions, meaning the chair gives you something to speak about without any notice, and you try your best to talk off the cuff on that subject, usually for two minutes, as coherently as you can manage!
In so doing, you build confidence and the ability to think on your feet. Topics are always challenging, but practiced topics speakers can reach an unbelievable level of polish, so much so that you wouldn’t realise they were speaking off the cuff.
As well as developing vital skills, topics allow everyone who attends the meeting to speak on the night. They are therefore of great importance, and we want to try two things this year to add another dimension to them…
Change #1: Each main topics session themed with a given skill or technique – for those who want to…
For beginning speakers, just getting on stage and DOING a topic is challenge enough, and that’s OK!
But I’d also like to keep it interesting for our more experienced speakers, and raise awareness of key speaking skills and techniques for everybody, by theming each club evening with the following skills or techniques:
- 17 Sep – Lists of three
- 1 Oct – Pauses
- 15 Oct – Alliteration
- 5 Nov – Repetition
- 19 Nov – Pacing
- 3 Dec – Gestures
- 17 Dec – Contrasts
- 7 Jan – Rhetorical questions
- 21 Jan – Imagery
- 4 Feb – Volume
- 18 Feb – Facial expressions
- 4 Mar – Props
- 18 Mar – Slow it down
- 1 Apr – Eye contact
- 15 Apr – Smiling
- 6 May – Humour
- 20 May – Diction
- 3 Jun – Anecdotes
- 17 Jun – Open with a bang
- 1 Jul – Ham it up
- 15 Jul – End with a bang
- Note: there are no themes for topics when we meet on the fifth Tuesday of the month
If you can demonstrate the night’s skill or technique in your topic, you deserve some extra goodwill from your peers when we come to vote on the (not too serious!) topic of the night!
Change #2: Always doing an extra one minute topics session in the second half of the evening.
One minute topics are quickfire, fun and upbeat, and having them in the second half means everyone gets at least TWO chances to speak a night.
By following the ‘either/or’ format, this shouldn’t create much extra work for the chair either.
‘Tea or coffee?’, ‘early bird or night owl?’, ‘summer or winter?’-style topics can be dreamt up very quickly but still provide scope for a challenge, no matter what your speaking experience.
I hope you’ll enjoy topics – and speakers club in general – even more now with these little enhancements.