Last week I made two ‘performances’. Firstly, I made my first prepared speech at Sutton Coldfield Speakers’ Club and then, as a shortlisted contender in the Winnie the Pooh Laureate Competition, I read my children’s short story out loud on the telephone for final judging.
Speakers’ Club. Prepared speeches are usually between six and eight minutes long and the subject matter should suit the theme of the evening – the exception being first speeches when the advice is to talk about something you know well. So I veered off the evening’s topic of ‘Love & Romance’ and talked about my hobby of church bell-ringing instead (exciting stuff I hear you say!).
I spoke for 7 minutes 40 seconds (everything is timed with a stopwatch) and the speech was then evaluated by another club member. This is a bit like giving feedback at a writers’ group when work is read aloud. My evaluator was very kind and full of praise but also had some useful advice – I’d positioned myself to one side of the lectern and that meant that half the audience couldn’t see me properly and also the majority of my eye contact was down one side of the room. So some good advice to take away.
My next speech is in around six weeks and the evening has the theme of ‘Springtime’. At the moment I haven’t a clue what to talk about – all that comes to mind is cute lambs, chicks and rabbits. Anyone got any ideas?
Winnie the Pooh. I dialled into the conference call at the appointed time, only to find a lovely Scottish lady in full flow. I sat very quietly whilst she finished a wonderful story about Pooh visiting a park in Glasgow, complete with different voices for all the characters.
Then it was my turn to read my story, ‘Winnie the Pooh and the Birmingham Iron Man’ – needless to say I didn’t do any special voices. The judges made some polite comments and said they’d let me know.
So now, like an actress after an audition – I’m waiting to hear from them …