When you spend 48 hours with a bunch of enthusiastic, positive and encouraging JCI folk, coming home and back to reality can bring a bit of the come-down blues about. To counter act this, I read through my notes and looked through my pictures and my goodness, last weekend’s Public Speaking Academy really didn’t miss anything out!
In Birmingham’s excellent BPP venue, JCI UK’s Personal Development Director, Sarah Beckwith, and Past JCI UK President, Solveig Malvik, arranged an array of activities and training sessions that challenged us, pushed us outside of our comfort zones and, by the end of it, even made us like Public Speaking… a little bit! We were tasked with writing a 4-6 minute speech over the weekend which we were to deliver on the Sunday and which nicely gave context to everything we learned.
Saturday kicked off by covering the basics of putting together a good speech; compelling openings, various structures and tips on how to write a killer ending. We also looked at different language devices and did a spot of debating to really ignite the fire – easily done when debating footballers’ salaries!
Before we knew it, we were eating lunch ahead of what was to be one of my highlights of the weekend: a 3 hour workshop with Cathleen MacCarron, a professional voice, text and accent coach. Over the course of the afternoon we made strange faces and even stranger noises all in the name of voice control and projection! OK, it was slightly more technical than that and it really was amazing to see the difference in our vocal delivery after learning the techniques that Cathleen shared.
Saturday night gave us chance to let our hair down and indulge in too much delicious Indian food before being back to the BPP bright and early on Sunday morning for the second leg of the Academy. We had a brilliant session on Stage Charisma from Solveig followed by a nail-biting Extempore session delivered by Sarah. We were all challenged to speak for 2 minutes on a subject we had no previous warning of, which I actually found great fun and very liberating to not be tied to a script!
Then, after 30 minutes of intensive checking and re-writing, it was time to deliver the speeches the entire weekend had centred around. And wow, how awesome it was to sit there and listen to everyone’s interpretation of (in some cases the same) certain topics and how they used everything we’d learned to produce the best speech they could. It felt so good to be in an environment where everyone genuinely wanted each other to succeed and give a compelling and engaging speech. And everyone did!
So, if you’ve made it this far down the blog you’ll have hopefully picked up on how much this weekend was enjoyed and how much we all took from it (I’ll take liberty in speaking for everyone!) Whether you’re a proficient public speaker or a novice, there is always something new to learn to improve on your public speaking skills and this weekend certainly delivered on that!
Categorised in: Charity
This post was written by Ashleigh Gray