Stephen Poole – Joined 2016
After serving for 31 years in the Metropolitan Police where I had to address the courts and large groups of the general public, I thought I would be comfortable speaking in public. However, having agreed to a talk to a local WI Branch about my policing career, I realised that I was out of my comfort zone and am very conscious of my inadequacies as a speaker. Since we are always our own biggest critic, I was aware that my performance is far from polished and this makes me feel quite nervous leading up to the event.
After seeing an advert for West Kent Speakers’ Club in the Net magazine, I attended a couple of meetings and joined without hesitation.
Whilst I am still a relatively new member, I have already benefited hugely from belonging to such a friendly, supportive club. I have learnt so much about timing, structure, use of notes and delivery and have benefited from the encouragement and helpful, constructive advice from the evaluations. I recently gave my first talk on police history since joining the club, and felt far more confident during the delivery. I also received some very positive feedback.
My advice to anyone thinking of joining is to go for it. As well as learning about public speaking, there is a social aspect to it as well and I have also gained a whole new circle of wonderful friends. It is also excellent value for money. Shortly before joining I considered attending a 3-hour workshop in Maidstone for honing public speaking skills. This would have cost me £120. For approximately half that, I can have regular training and practice throughout the year and a good social life to boot.