Sunday 30 October 2016

Women, Leadership and Entrepreneurship; the Speakers Clubs Website and Dinner

What has a national training day at the Association of Speakers Clubs and the Speakers Club President's Dinner got to do with saving the rainforest?

One of the workshops
1. If I learn from it and become more efficient I can achieve more for the Rainforest Fund
2. If you learn from my notes below, especially the tips here, perhaps the same can apply in your efforts in wildlife conservation.

The meeting was held at Samlesbury Hotel, Preston, which was a brilliant location. Near the intersection of the A59 and the M6.

1. The 1st training workshop, by Bernie Morgan of Thanet Speakers Club was "Women into Leadership and Entrepreneurship " 

2. The 2nd workshop was on the Association of Speakers Clubs new website

Suggestions were given on how to improve it. and a plea made to keep individual speakers clubs up to date.

1. Pictures

Bernie (centre) leads the workshop, and has invited one of the participants (right) to speak
At the beginning she had asked everyone to sit at the front.
Well done!!
This makes a good picture having no empty chairs at the front!

Above two pictures: Bernie, the workshop leader (centre) invites participants out (after small group discussion)  to tell us some of their leadership needs and experience.

Neil, the President, thanks Bernie for her workshop

Jackie Mafi and Nigel Thorne announce the launch of the new website:
There is then feedback. One person rightly says she does not like to see empty chairs in a picture.
I assure you, there were lots more people further back.
 The President's Dinner

The lady with her hand raised later helped collect the raffle money. At the beginning of the dinner the lights were  bright enough to take good photos, but below, when the lights were lowered it was harder.

A table just starting on the sticky toffee pudding phase of the meal


Prizes and speeches then followed after the meal.

2. Women into Leadership and Entrepreneurship

At speakers clubs we practice doing evaluations. Here are points I like about the way Bernie's workshop was presented:
  1. Bernie asked people to sit in the front rows.
  2. She had us working in paired discussion almost right at the beginning. This was excellent for breaking the ice and filled in time whilst late comers arrived
  3. More small group discussion, and asking several people to come out and share their experience, worked well.
  4. Bernie wrote down points that people raised during these discussions and talks on a flip chart. Then in her talk she elaborated on these points.
  5. She told some of her personal experience. This made it interesting, gave examples to refer to of points whe was talking about and showed she had expereince to give the talk.
  6. She had good eye contact, posture, smiling face, and thing we learn about in Speakers Club; and she had good knowledge of her subject - So it was an excellent workshop
Points I gained from the workshop:

1. Have a vision and be able to communicate it. Create a vision of what you want to do; and where you want to go.

2. Have to believe in yourself and stand your ground. Be Bloody minded.

3. Get a support group. If one does not exist set it up.  Being a leader can be a lonely position. You can't necessarily discuss your problems with your subordinates or your boss - It is often better to find someone from out side of your job.  We found that one lady had actually done this. (formed a group of leaders with a similar position to her)

4. Dealing with criticism: (sometimes rephrase this as dealing with feedback). Sift through it. People are just angry and venting their spleen. Work out what is valid and what needs dealing with.think "What is the nugget".

5. Ask Questions. Be curious.

6. Tell someone about your idea. People want to help.

7. Don't make assumptions.

8. Time management - suggestions from floor etc: Get up earlier; Do it immediately. set Priorities. It is deeply frustrating the the other person can't make a decision.

9. Be flexible. in the charity sector people are much more willing to be flexible. They thus learn a lot. Bernie said she used to put her hand up and say "Yes I'll do that" so learnt more and became more employable.

10. Negotiation is about timing - think of what the drivers are for the other person.
Write down: who makes the decision?
Who influences him?

11. She asked "What barriers are stopping you taking on the role of being a leader.
i) . One president of a local speakers club said "It is difficult to get other people to commit to doing things. they are volunteers. In a pad job with paid employees it is different".
Ans: Sit down and speak to the person, and tell them why. 
Even when not giving some a contract or sacking a person:
tell them your vision
Tell them your thought process
and then why giving them a contract/ continuing their job does not fit in with this. At least they will understand. And feel better about understanding

12 Another difficutly: ii) lack of self motivation, and difficulty in making decisions.
Suggestions varied from reading "One Minute Manager" to Prioritising, to writing down the problem then leaving it on oneside whilst you do something completely different for a while.
Read a book by Pink "We're all salesmen now"

13. You as an individual - what is your brand?
Leaflets and website have to convey your brand.

... This leads us into the second session. which I may eventually transfer to a new webpost

3. The ASC new website

Jackie Mafi and Nigel Thorne introduced the new website.

There was a lot of feedback about the site, some of which I hope Nigel will find helpful.

It gave them opportunity to explain to us the reasons for aspects of the website.

He showed us the excellent pages of testimonials, and some of the videos of speakers.

He recommended the site (For a usability site, the sentences do have rather a lot of long words per sentence.  I'll try and read it another day.)

One good feature about the website which I learned is that you can flick quickly through the pages of the website by hitting the forward (or backward) arrow on your keyboard. Try it.

It was a helpful session - especially for Nigel  and Jackie to get ideas across to participants.
 - now it is up to us to pass on the news to other members of the clubs.

Jackie and Nigel announce the launch of the new website:

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Tips on debating

Afraid of taking part in a debate? Don't know what the procedure is? Worried you won't be able to think of replies, and give a summary?

That was me last week. 

But now after the workshop at Skipton at Craven Speakers Club on Mon 24 October, led by Anne Todd of Halifax and Huddersfield Speakers Club, I feel really enthusiastic. 

Second speaker proposing the motion at our evening

I can see that
  1. there is a pattern, rules and procedures - 
  2. that if you stick to these rules /guidelines it can be fun, 
  3. just like a game of hockey or monopoly or scrabble is fun.
And the audience is spellbound

There is not space to present the whole workshop. 
But here are three tips:

1. There is standard terminology, and a standard format

The chairman should say something like:
"The motion before the House tonight is 'This House  .....  '
"Speaking for the Proposition we have ........ and ....,,..... "           

"The Opposition tonight is provided by  ........  and   ............. "
(The chairman was given a script to help him say traditional sentences)
So two people speak for the motion, two people speak against the motion, there is time for points from the floor, then one person from each side gives a summary of points.

2. Make your points very clearly separated.

When you make your points in favour of a motion, make them very few and very clear as separate points (even number them). This admittedly makes it easier for the opposition to refute each of the points. But that is far better than the opposition saying "Well the proposal is a muddle, they have no case". And it makes it much easier for the Judge of the competition to see what is happening.

3. Don't add extra information and ideas in the summary

If you give the summary for your side, you can only include points made by the speakers and by the floor. You are not allowed to add extra ideas and information.

The Workshop:

1. Warm up exercise and listening:

At the beginning of the evening Anne had us sitting in tables of four. Our table was given the pair: past and present. Another table had summer and winter;  and so on. Two of the four then had to speak for 1 minute each in favour of the idea (past) and two had to oppose it (present).  The topics were easy, but it really taught us to listen hard to what the previous speaker was saying so we could refute the ideas.

2. Interval: 

Coffee, chat, strawberries and biscuits: meeting new people in the group, and visitors from other clubs.

3. Full debate:

Then we were shown how to run a (shortened) full debate. The chairman was given a standard text to use. We were given the mark scheme that the judges would use, and were asked to fill it in for one person - This was really helpful in seeing what judges are looking for. Our debate was "This house believes that mobile phones are killing communication."  

If you get opportunity to attend a debating workshop led by Anne Todd I recommend it.

Find out if you local speakers club is holding a debate

Chocolate prizes are given to all the debaters.

Below: Three of the debaters speak in turn

Saturday 15 October 2016

Saving Wildlife - Coffee Morning 1 November

All welcome at the Coffee Morning on 1 November 2016 at 
St John's Church, Settle, BD24 9JH  10am-midday

A display of some of the cards available

Earth has lost ½ its wildlife 
in 40 yrs

More specifically:  ‘in less than two human generations, population sizes of vertebrate species have dropped by half’ The Living Planet Report 2014-WWF

What can we do in Settle about this?

Saving Wildlife

Cards and Cake
10am  to 12
Tue 1 Nov

Coffee Morning
at St John’s Methodist Church
Settle, supporting the charities:-  

World Land Trust, Cool Earth
and the A Rocha Ghana project