Church: Speech Club Introductory Articles


How to Use This Manual

As soon as you receive this manual, read all the material up to and including Lesson One. Become familiar with the content before you receive your first assignment. Bring this manual with you to every meeting, having it available at all times and referring to it often.

Take speeches in order

Each lesson is complete within itself. Yet it is fit into an overall scheme, a master plan, and each should be taken in order. This is one reason they are called lessons and not merely speech numbers. The lessons cannot be learned and conquered in one effort. This is not a “How to Be an Eloquent Speaker in 10 Easy Lessons” manual – it is a handbook to be referred to and used many times to help you develop your personality.

Lessons are building blocks

Ask God to help you perform your part so you can be more helpful to others.

Each lesson is designed as a building block to fit into a whole. After you complete Lesson Two: “Have Purpose,” every speech you give after that should have purpose. After you complete Lesson Three: “Be Crystal Clear,” every speech should be crystal clear.

If one of these main factors of speech-making is ever lacking in your presentation, go back and repeat the lesson you need to learn. Going back is not a retreat. It is only to strengthen your foundation.

Review your speeches occasionally, to see if you meet the goals in the “purpose” section of each lesson. Use and review your evaluation sheets. If a weakness shows up consistently, redo the lesson that will help correct it.

Use manual before preparing

When the time arrives for you to give a speech, be there and be ready. Be familiar with the purpose given in the manual for your speech. Don’t just glance over the manual at the last minute before you give the speech. Don’t even begin to prepare until you have read what is required. When you have prepared, read the lesson again and see if your speech will be what is required.

You will discover many excuses for postponing your first few speeches. Drop excuses such as: “I can’t find time to prepare; I can’t think of any subject; I can’t decide what to say; my mother-in-law is visiting me the evening of the meeting.” Give your speech when it is assigned barring only major catastrophes!

The club is not just a collection of individual members  – it depends on the interactions of the members. If you are participating, you not only cheat yourself of an opportunity to learn, but you hurt others who might learn from you and from the smooth and efficient running of the club. There are 12 or more parts assigned for each meeting. If one of the cylinders of an engine does not perform when its turn comes, the entire engine and its efficiency is affected.

Be speech-conscious

All the principles and many of the exercises and suggestions in this manual can be applied and used every day. Voice exercises, English and vocabulary, how to think logically – you can use these things every waking hour.

Above all, approach this endeavor prayerfully. Pray for help. Pray about each speaking and evaluating assignment you have. Pray about the meetings ahead of time, and ask God to help you perform your part so as to be the most help to all the others. Pray for others in the club, so that they might grow and you can learn more from them.

May God guide your every effort in this club.

Club Goals and Purposes

The club is open to members of the church – and others, at the director’s discretion.

Develop whole personality

These clubs are designed to contribute to the development of the whole person, because as the saying goes, what you are speaks louder than what you say. Good speakers need to grow not only in external details – dress, posture, facial expressions, gestures, and voice – but also in internal qualities such as genuine concern for other people.

Development of sincerity, friendliness, enthusiasm and humor is encouraged by specific speech opportunities and helpful criticisms. The qualities of poise, wisdom and quick thinking on one’s feet are stimulated.

The development of Christian character based on the qualities of love, wisdom, sincerity and humility is an important goal. Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). Since, in the end, you say what you are, this presents a challenge to all club members to become a better instrument in God’s hands.

Some famous speakers are vain and selfish, but it is possible to be an effective communicator and motivator while also being humble. Inner character is far more important than technical skills, but it is possible to have both. To do this, you will need self-discipline to prepare spiritually, research, organize, and deliver.

The many opportunities for actively and outwardly showing love and a spirit of service in all phases of the club’s program is a continuing stimulus to become more like Christ – and to live according to his basic precept: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

Christian fellowship

A additional purpose for Speech Club is to provide opportunities for Christian fellowship and recreation. The club meetings, along with occasional club outings, provide such opportunities. Special evenings, which can be held two or three times a year, are enjoyable and uplifting for the club members and their spouses or guests.

The development of Christian character is a foremost goal of our club.

Whether in the regular meetings or in special programs, Speech Clubs provide members with a wonderful opportunity for zestful, stimulating, Christian recreation and fun.

In summary

The club program serves to develop the whole personality and provides opportunities for Christian fellowship and recreation with other Christians. In these ways, the club contributes to the overall growth of the members and to the development of the whole person.

Constitution and Bylaws

Club name

The full name of a club will include the name of the local church, followed by the words Speech Club.

Purpose

The purpose of the club is to provide training in effective organization of thoughts and ability to put them across in plain, understandable speech.

Membership

Speech Club teaches organization of right thoughts and ability to put them across in plain speech.

Any member of the church is eligible to apply for membership. At the pastor’s discretion individuals who are attending services also may become members. Application for membership should be made to the pastor or the club’s director.

New members are admitted by the director on the basis of available openings. Members must attend regularly and demonstrate effort to improve their speaking skills in accordance with the goals of the club. Misconduct is always grounds for dismissal from the club.

Size limitations

Clubs may not have more than 30 members. When a club has grown to this maximum and more people want to join, the club should be divided into two clubs. If it is impossible to divide the club, a waiting list must be maintained.

Leaves of absence or honorary inactive membership are not allowed. Those who wish to drop out of a club for an extended period of time must be dropped completely, and at the time they wish to re-enter, they must make a new application for admission.

Guests

Guests are almost always welcome.

  1. They add an extra challenge to the members, who have an opportunity to speak before a larger and varied audience.
  2. Potential club members have a chance to look over proceedings and become acquainted with club activities.
  3. More people have a chance to enjoy fellowship with members of the church who are actively improving themselves.

Members who wish to invite guests should obtain permission from the director, president or vice president, who will notify the sergeant-at-arms if additional facilities are needed. When a group is invited to attend, the president should decide, with the director’s approval, who should be invited and when.

Membership dues

Membership dues are assessed in accordance with the needs of the individual club. The amount assessed should be arrived at by the club during the business session and must meet the approval of the director. This amount should include the cost of equipment, materials, hall rental and other expenses.

Special assessments may be levied for designated purposes according to the general desire of the club and with approval of the director.

Club officers

The director, who is often the local pastor, directs the club program. He or she leads the club just as the pastor leads the local church.

Club officers are appointed by the director and are replaced at his discretion. New officers are appointed once each year, but the director may choose to reappoint anyone to the same office two or more years in a row.

Much of the success of the organization depends on the officers, but they also personally benefit if they fulfill their assignments diligently. Officers in the club should count their duties as a vital part of their training. They should familiarize themselves with their duties in addition to the general outline of meetings (see “Meetings”).

When a person accepts the responsibility of an office, it is that person’s duty to serve faithfully. Anyone who seeks such an office for honor, prestige, or for selfish purpose, is unworthy of it. The good officer serves the members in the club, and while serving, the officer also gains priceless benefits.

Duties of president

The good officer serves the members in the club, and while serving, also gains priceless benefits.

The president, as the club’s leader, must enthusiastically carry out educational and program plans and cause all decisions to be put into practice. He or she must set an example of energy, tact, resourcefulness, inspiration, love, joy and wisdom in every action and relationship. If the president does not have these, it will be difficult for the club to have them.

The president presides at all meetings of the club except when the president or director calls the vice president or some other member to the chair. If the need does not otherwise arise, the president should arrange for the vice president to gain experience by occasionally asking the vice-president to the chair.

The president should start all meetings on time and carry them through on schedule.

The president accepts responsibilities as leader of the club and prepares by studying the purposes and goals, being acquainted with the business to be handled and conducting all meetings and affairs of the organization in a businesslike manner with attention to time limits.

Duties of vice president

The vice president assists the president in every possible way, presiding when necessary.

Duties of secretary

The secretary is responsible for making an accurate record of each club meeting on a minutes-report form. After reading the minutes report at the next meeting, and making any revisions if necessary, the secretary gives the original to the director.

The secretary is also responsible for making club assignments and taking attendance at each meeting. The secretary should make the director aware of any members who attend irregularly.

Duties of treasurer

The treasurer is responsible for handling club financial matters – collecting dues and maintaining accurate records of club expenses. The treasurer should be able to give a treasury report at any meeting.

Duties of sergeant-at-arms

This officer is responsible for seeing that the club room is ready for the meetings before the arrival of the members. Tables and chairs should be properly arranged, and equipment such as the speaker’s stand, timing light, gavel and awards should be ready for use. The sergeant-at-arms looks after ventilation and the comfort of members during the meeting. This officer is the club’s official greeter, and should therefore be on hand to welcome all visitors. The club room should be set up before visitors arrive.

The sergeant-at-arms is also responsible for maintaining a supply of materials.

Meetings

Meetings may be held weekly, every other week or once a month. Meetings should be conducted according to the following outline:

  1. Vocal exercises
  2. Reading of the minutes
  3. Business
  4. Tabletopics
  5. Evaluation by director
  6. Recess and refreshments
  7. Five six-minute speeches with a two-minute evaluation after each
  8. Evaluation by director
  9. Presentation of awards
  10. Director’s lecture, often on speech technique

Special meetings may be held two or three times a year, for special occasions or guests. These meetings may be dinner meetings or regular non-dinner meetings, and the format of the meetings may be altered at the discretion of the director.

Awards

At each meeting, awards for the “Most Effective Speech,” the “Most Improved Speaker” and the “Most Helpful Evaluation” may be presented. This is done to point out the importance of doing one’s best. No other awards or penalties are used.

Equipment and supplies

The denomination does not supply materials for Speech Clubs.

Certificates of Merit

Upon completion of the 12 speech lessons, a Certificate of Merit may be issued.

Get the Most Out of the Club Program

Each part of the club program is valuable in helping you improve your personality, leadership and speech skills. Stay awake. Be on your toes. Make every second count during every meeting.

Conversation

Ability to carry on interesting, positive conversation is part of a good personality. You should use the few minutes you have before and after club meetings and during the break to develop conversational skills.

If you are awkward at starting and contributing to a conversation, make a special effort to overcome. Ask questions that encourage others to talk. You may also cultivate a habit of always having something worthwhile to say. Replenish your fund of knowledge by keeping your eyes and ears open for important subjects helpful to others.

You can also improve conversational skills with your family at home, on your job and before and after church services.

Business

The club’s business session helps develop qualities of leadership. Be aware of the problems and the needs around you. Don’t leave it to someone else to come up with all the ideas. If you are active in this part of the program, even if many of your ideas are not adopted, you are learning and gaining experience.

Short topics

An effective speaker can express ideas briefly and convincingly. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). You will be called on to express your ideas on a given subject to help develop this skill. This will give you experience in collecting your thoughts and presenting your ideas logically and effectively, overcoming feelings of embarrassment or awkwardness.

The short topics session also prods you to keep informed on subjects such as news, speech techniques and Bible questions.

Speeches and evaluations

The value you receive from this portion of the program doubles and redoubles as you gain experience. You not only learn to speak by speaking, but in evaluating others’ speeches you gain an unexpected bonus. Improvement is encouraging, and your skill begins to snowball.

Don’t limit yourself. You can grow only as you put forth effort. Be diligent. Step out in confidence.

Here is how it works: In concentrating on other people’s speeches, you not only give them ideas on how to improve, but you learn how to improve yourself. As you learn the essentials of a good speech you put it to double practice – to improve your speaking and to help your neighbor.

This concentration on what improves a speech encourages rapid growth. In showing the other person how to overcome a weakness, you discover that you can overcome your own. Progress is often surprisingly fast.

Other invaluable knowledge and experience is gained from speech content, speech preparation, analyzing materials to separate good from bad, considering how to best reach your audience and practicing ways to help others and receive help from others gracefully and with appreciation.

Other opportunities

People learn by doing. Learning opportunities are many and varied. Bible knowledge is put to work. Dress, etiquette, patience and self-control are practiced. Club officers learn skill in leadership and government. All learn how helpful it is to get to know one another and how we can help others.

Don’t limit yourself. As a club member, you can grow only as you put forth effort. Be alert. Be diligent. You cannot afford to shrink back. Instead you should step out in confidence, trusting God to help you develop a more effective personality and find success in your personal growth.

Standard Programs

The following program is standard for regular meetings. It should be adapted according to the starting time of each club. The time limit for meetings is two hours and 10 minutes.

6:00   Meeting begins. The director brings the club to order and calls on someone for the opening prayer. (One minute)
6:01   Vocal exercises. The director, or someone assigned by the secretary, leads the club in a short vocal exercise session. The director then introduces the president. (Two minutes)
6:03   Minutes. The president, after opening remarks, introduces the secretary for the reading of the minutes. (Two minutes)
6:05   Business. The president begins the business session, handling old business first and then new business. (Ten minutes)
6:15   Tabletopics. The president introduces the topicsmaster for the evening. (Twenty minutes)
6:35  Evaluation. The topicsmaster introduces the director for the evaluation of the business session and tabletopics. (Ten minutes)
6:45  Recess. The director dismisses the club for a 10-minute recess. Refreshments may be available.
6:55  Speeches and evaluations. The president introduces the toastmaster for the speaking session. (Fifty minutes)
7:45  Tallying impression slips. The president calls for the impression slips to be passed to the timer and asks the secretary to read the assignments for the next meeting. The president then introduces the director for the final evaluation. (One minute)
7:46  Evaluation. The director evaluates the speaking session. (Ten minutes)
7:56  Awards. The director calls for the previous trophy winners to present the awards for the evening. (Four minutes)
8:00  Lecture. Club directors give instruction on speech techniques or other topics to help the members.
8:10  Meeting ends. The director dismisses the club.

Special meetings

At several times during the year, Clubs may hold special meetings. The director will appoint five speakers for these meetings, and after the opening prayer, the meetings may begin with the speeches, followed by an evaluation of each by the director. After a 10-minute recess, the director may give a lecture for the benefit of club members and guests.

Guest nights

Two or three nights can be scheduled during the year in which all club members are encouraged to bring guests, such as dates, spouses, teenagers, widows, etc. The format for these meetings will be set by the director. There is usually no business session.

Certificates of Merit

The last meeting of each club year should be a special occasion. It may be a Guest Night, a combined club meeting, or the entire congregation may be invited as guests at a dinner meeting. Certificates of Merit can be awarded to members who have completed the entire speech program.

If practical, officers for the coming year will be announced at this time. Clubs often recess for three months, usually the summer.

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