Alex Howarth – October 2016
I joined Solihull Speakers Club in November 2015. In my job as a Business Development Manager for BMW Group I have to do a lot of presenting, selling and talking in front of audiences, big and small.
I’d been looking for methods of self development so was after new things to learn and also help with my career progression. Whilst researching into what was available I came across Solihull Speakers Club. I joined after my first meeting and have enjoyed every meeting since.
I’d never had any formal speaking training, just one sales training course in a previous job.
I was made to feel very welcome and it was clear that there were people of all abilities and definitely people who I could learn from.
What I liked about the club was that the feedback that I was given was always positive. Even if there was room for improvement, my confidence was never knocked by negative feedback. That’s not what the club is about! The other thing that I like is the structured, formal nature of the meetings. This means that you will always come away from a club meeting a little more knowledgeable than you were before.
The beauty of Speakers Club is that you can talk about whatever subject you like (other than the forbidden ones of sex, religion and politics.) So I’ve delivered speeches on coffee shops, walking the dog and going to the barbers, to name just a few.
So how has the club ACTUALLY helped me? Well, I am always telling my boss about the club and the latest speech I’m working on – it’s become that important to me. Most companies take an interest in the development of their staff so I was asked to give an example of one of my speeches in a sales meeting. My colleagues really enjoyed it, including the Director who was present at the meeting. Just a few months later, he asked me to represent the company at a group conference. I was naturally a little nervous but excited and agreed to do it.
Speaking at the conference in front of 200 colleagues meant that some of the top Directors were listening to me speak and hopefully I made enough of an impact to be considered for other things like projects that come up in the future. You need to put yourself in the position to be noticed!
I have also represented Solihull Speakers Club in competitions against other clubs which in itself generates a massive confidence boost especially when we won the Solihull Trophy in 2016, the first time we have won it since 2011.
I would definitely recommend the club to anyone looking to improve their confidence, speaking ability or looking to develop themselves professionally. People will often say in interviews that they like to learn or push themselves. But do they really? If you can tell a potential employer that you go to a speakers club to learn new skills or practise speaking in front of an audience I guarantee it will set you apart from the rest of the crowd!
See you at the next meeting!