Cheltenham Speakers is a branch of Toastmasters International, an organisation that helps people develop their public speaking and leadership skills. The Cheltenham club is a mixture of people from all ages, backgrounds, and ability; whilst some come to improve their presentation skills for work, others enjoy it as a retirement hobby. Members practice speaking off-the-cuff and prepare speeches to deliver to their fellow Toastmasters. They also take turns as the timekeeper, meeting chair, and compete against clubs in Gloucester, Worcester, and Malvern.
The club learns to adapt, whatever the situation, and my colleague Jennie and I have been members for several years. They quickly put in place the adaptions I would need, such as making sure that I am facing the audience when I speak. They also tell me about the timing lights as I am not able to see them. We have welcomed a team of Rugby players and worked with schools and universities to help them realise the power of public speaking.
Unsurprisingly, Cheltenham Speakers has coped well with the recent pandemic, moving their Tuesday meetings from the Exmouth Arms to an online platform. On 15 September, they will be holding their humorous speech contest, which promises to be a good laugh. To find out more about how to get involved, check out their profile here.