Meet Plymouth’s Public Speaking Club
Public speaking is one of those things that strikes terror into the hearts of the inexperienced. Glossophobia, or the fear of public speaking, is often referred to as the most dreaded of all phobias. Even more so than the fear of dying or even – get this – the fear of spiders. It may seem unlikely, until you’re the one sitting waiting for your turn to speak in front of a room full of expectant faces and that horrible sensation of icy fingers clutching at your stomach starts to affect you.
Fear of Public Speaking can Limit Your Options
Speaking anxiety can limit your career opportunities, reduce social options, and generally mess you up at important occasions such as weddings. If only there was a cure. Hang on, there is. Did you know that Plymouth has a thriving public speaking club? What’s more, it’s been here for years.
The Four Great Benefits of Learning How to Speak in Public
Many years ago, one of the first things my very first boss did for me was to introduce me to public speaking classes. In my first serious job after graduating, I was expected to present to groups of employees all over Devon and Cornwall. It was pretty nerve-wracking at first, but each time I practised my presentation got better. The events all went better than we hoped and I’d learned a new skill and earned some Brownie points at work. I’ve never regretted the time spent learning this skill, it’s been useful to me in a thousand different ways.
Here are the four greatest areas of your life that could benefit from learning how to speak in public.
- Business and Career. When you next need to present to your colleagues, ask your boss for a pay rise, or pitch to some new clients, wouldn’t it be nice if you appeared confident, organised and in control? Wouldn’t that inspire colleagues to work with you? Wouldn’t that make you seem like better promotion material? Maybe it might just encourage those new clients to trust your expertise enough to sign on the bottom line.
- Social Life. You may be wondering how learning some public speaking skills could help your social life. Well, consider this: next time you’re throwing a birthday party, baby shower, or wedding anniversary party think how good it would be to confidently welcome your guests, make a speech and remember to mention the right people. The first time I tried this, I got most of it right, but in entirely the wrong order. It got some laughs, but not in the way I’d intended.
- Personal Confidence. Learning to speak in front of a roomful of strangers can be incredibly good for raising your self-esteem. There’s nothing more mortifying than fumbling and mumbling your way through a speech, but if you get it right, you feel amazing. Picture yourself, delivering that wedding day speech; accepting applause from around the room. Once you’ve learned to conquer a room of strangers, talking to one person is child’s play. Asking someone out? Easy. Suggesting that you take the lead on that new project at work? No problem.
- Fun. Are you one of those people that hates to play party games like Charades or improv games? Public speaking skills can give you the confidence to make playing them fun instead of an ordeal. It’s not about changing introverts into extroverts; it’s more like learning that confident, self-assured people can have more fun in everything they do.
If only there was a fun way to learn public speaking right here in Plymouth. Hmm.
Meet Armada Speakers Plymouth’s Public Speaking Club
Luckily for us all, there is. Armada Speakers has been meeting in Plymouth since 2009. They meet every second Tuesday and are really welcoming to new faces.
Armada Speakers is part of the global Toastmasters International group which has been helping people learn the key life skill of public speaking since 1924. With over 292,000 members in over 122 countries, Toastmasters is acknowledged the world over as a great way to learn public speaking in a social context.
What makes Armada Speakers work so well is the friendly environment. It’s a social activity as much as anything else, so it is a good way to meet all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds. You could meet anyone from a fireman to a teacher to a psychiatrist. When I visited recently I was impressed by how much fun people were having. Plenty of smiles and laughter are always a good sign when you visit a new group of people. There was none of that sense of walking into a clique that doesn’t want any new faces.
The meeting had some structure, and agendas were helpfully provided so you knew exactly what was happening through the evening. There wasn’t any pressure to stand up and deliver a speech, but opportunities to speak were available. Members of Toastmasters gradually work through a set of workbooks at their own speed, that teach and stretch them to constantly improve. When you’re working on improving your public speaking it’s vital that you get feedback which is constructive without being discouraging. Armada Speakers have a great system for this. When a member makes a speech to the club, the audience completes a tiny feedback slip. The rule is that only constructive comments are allowed, so the speaker gets the kind of feedback that encourages and helps them improve.
If you want to learn a vital life skill that will help your business or career, will improve your social life, enhance your personal confidence and help you have more fun than a clown in a ball pool, I heartily recommend you visit Armada Speakers. Join them next time they meet and you could be on the way to improving your life and making a host of new friends too.
Get in Touch with Armada Speakers
Armada Speakers meet every other Tuesday from 7pm until 9pm at the Copthorne Hotel, Armada Way, Plymouth, PL1 1AR.
They are a very friendly club and welcome guests to every meeting. It’s free to attend for your first visits until you feel comfortable and ready to join.Visit the Armada Speakers website