Association of Speakers’ Clubs 2018 Speech Competition

At the end of April I was in York for the ASC’s 2018 Conference and National Competition Finals. 2018 ASC National Speech Competition

I’ve never attended before and was only there this year because, to my surprise and shock, I won my way through the Club, Area and District rounds of the speech competition. When I entered the Club competition last November, I didn’t anticipate that five months later I’d be representing the Midlands in competition against seven other contestants from all parts of the UK. My anxiety levels were sky high and further increased by having to use a clip-on microphone for the first time and face my biggest ever audience.

But what has this got to do with writing?
I needed a subject for my speech. It had to be something I could talk about enthusiastically, something most people would have an interest in and something I could structure logically into a speech.
So I ‘taught’ the audience how to write a romantic novel (how many people have you heard say – ‘I could/would like to write a novel?’).
I only had eight minutes to speak so it was a quick and dirty ‘lesson’ based on the following points:

  • Choosing a genre
  • Choosing a setting
  • Naming characters
  • Obstacle to the love affair
  • Event that brings the couple back together

To drive each point home I concocted a romantic ‘novel’ about Tony and Janet falling in love and having a date at the hotel where the conference was being held. I concluded by revealing the absolute peanuts that most authors get as financial reward and asked the audience the question, ‘Is it worth it?’

I didn’t win and wasn’t placed in the top three. I was up against some fantastic speakers. The winner was a sixteen-year-old girl who was extremely confident and gave an excellent performance, talking about the scourge of selfie-taking complete with props of a mobile phone and selfie stick. However, we all received a lovely paperweight as a souvenir of the occasion.

Later at the event, I was talking to a lady and she told me how members of her party had been having fun in the bar dreaming up their own spoof romance based on my speech. I was delighted to hear this – it meant people had listened to me and had absorbed and remembered what I’d said. And isn’t that what public speaking is all about?

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  1. #1 by lynnforthauthor on May 16, 2018 - 9:56 am

    Sounds scary and fun. And what an interesting topic for you to choose. It would have got my vote and, as you say, certainly got people interested.

  2. #3 by juliathorley on May 16, 2018 - 12:53 pm

    Congratulations, Sally. I think you’re very brave. It’s funny that I can stand up and teach without too many nerves, but call it a speech and I go to pieces. I wonder if it’s related to the gene or whatever it is that means I can manipulate numbers as long as there’s no pound-sign in front of them. Context is everything.

    • #4 by Sally Jenkins on May 17, 2018 - 9:25 am

      That’s an interesting comment, Julia. I don’t have teaching experience so if you asked me to run a workshop I’d be much more scared!

  3. #5 by Anne Harvey on May 16, 2018 - 1:30 pm

    Sorry you didn’t win but what a fantastic experience! Well done!

  4. #7 by Keith Havers on May 17, 2018 - 5:41 pm

    Well done on getting into the top three, Sally. That’s a brilliant achievement.

    • #8 by Sally Jenkins on May 17, 2018 - 7:56 pm

      No, Keith, I DIDN’T get in top 3! But I’ll still accept your ‘brilliant achievement’ comment! Thanks for stopping by to comment.

      • #9 by Keith Havers on May 17, 2018 - 8:10 pm

        Sorry, Sally. Misread that. You still got a good reaction to your speech though, so it’s still well done.

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