How many people usually attend your meetings?

Usually it depends on who can make it, but typically there are around 15 attendees in each meeting

Will I have to give a speech on my first visit?

Giving a speech usually requires a bit of preparation, so on your first visit, you will likely listen to the other speeches being given, however you can take part of the impromptu speaking element if you would like to

Where is the venue?

We hire the Downing Hall in Knowle for our meetings. You can find it at

St John’s Close
B93 0LE

Is there parking?

Yes – there is free parking in the three car parks near the Tesco

What is the format of the evening?

A typical Club Evening evening consists of 3 speeches of about 5 mins, each aimed at a particular assignment from the ASC Speakers Guide, e.g. a speech delivered with special attention to gestures. 

Each speech is commented upon – we call it evaluated – by a more experienced member. The evaluation is positive and, as well as identifying the speaker’s strong points, will provide advice for improvement. Occasionally a speaker is advised to repeat the assignment, bearing in mind the evaluator’s advice.

We have a coffee break – about 15 mins – a time for meeting others and arranging various out of club speaking activities. Then follows a session giving everyone the chance to speak for 2 mins to a speech title that is “thrown” at them. We call this the topics session. The idea is to gain experience in coping with that unexpected call to speak, e.g. a vote of thanks.

The whole evening is handled by a Chairman for the Evening, providing wonderful experience in planning and handling meetings of any sort. For the topics session, the Chairman hands over to a Topics Chairman. Each topic taker, along with the Topics Chairman, is evaluated (you guessed it – by the Topics Evaluator). Finally we have a General Evaluator who assesses all the other Evaluators, the Chairman for the Evening, and anyone else who has not already been evaluated.

By the end of the evening, every person should have had the opportunity to speak. The weekly programmes are carefully scheduled by our Education Director to ensure that we each can progress at our own pace through the various assignments and that we each have the chance to be Chairman for the Evening, Topics Chairman, etc.

At most meetings one of us presents a 2 min tip to any subject we like, e.g. speech preparation, handling audience reaction, eye contact.

Who are the committee members?

The following are the committee members of Solihull Speakers Club

  • Alex Howarth (Club President)
  • Mary Smith
  • Bob Fernie
  • Peter Wilcox
  • James McGavin
  • Anna McWatters
  • Don Alcott