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Fuel Not Fear: Seeing Failure Differently

Fuel Not Fear: Seeing Failure Differently
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Harriet Cummings

Novelist, script writer and member at Spa Speakers
Harriet is a debut novelist with a background in history of art and gender studies. As a script writer, she’s had work performed at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as well as independent venues around London. While studying at Faber Academy, Harriet threw herself into her first novel and hasn’t looked back since. We are very lucky to have her as our Vice President of Education.
Harriet Cummings
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Latest posts by Harriet Cummings (see all)

My name is Harriet Cummings and I am a failure. I’ve failed at many things throughout my life so far – from my grade 7 piano exam, to learning French and baking cheese soufflette. But why am I telling you…

Marina O’Callaghan, DTM and founder member of Spa Speakers shares her story

Marina O’Callaghan, DTM and founder member of Spa Speakers shares her story

Marina O'Callaghan

Founder member and DTM at Spa Speakers
Marina has had a truly distinguished career with Toastmasters. Since joining Oxford Speakers Club in late 2000, she has been a VPM, a Club President and Area Governor, helped launch two clubs (Spa Speakers and Bicester Achievers Club), and has earned the highest award at Toastmasters, the fabled Distinguished Toastmaster Award (DTM). Marina is currently taking a break due to health reasons, though still mentors 2 very lucky Toastmasters.
Marina O'Callaghan

Latest posts by Marina O'Callaghan (see all)

Dear Spa Speakers, Marina O’Callaghan was an instrumental figure in founding Spa Speakers and kindly shared her account of how our favourite club got off the ground back in 2004. Thank you Marina, we continue to benefit from the great…

An introduction to the peculiar customs of Toastmasters clubs

An introduction to the peculiar customs of Toastmasters clubs

Sally Lewis

Former club president at Spa Speakers
It was with grim reluctance a couple of years ago that I crossed the threshold into my first Spa Speakers meeting. Feeling much more comfortable in an audience than under a spotlight, my preference would have definitely been for there not to be a need to join a public speaking club. However, my best endeavours to secure a job that didn't require me to make myself understood through the spoken word had proved unsuccessful, so in the interests of professional survival I came along to Spa Speakers. Once I got over the initial perplexity of the Toastmaster meeting etiquette (clapping, handshakes and the opening address), I could see that it would be my best chance at having a 'safe environment' to practice speaking skills, develop confidence and learn from some very talented members.

I still don't quite know how I've ended up as the 2014/15 Club President, it certainly hasn't been borne out of a newfound love of hearing my own voice. However, it is something of which I'm so proud. I like to think we have a really friendly group of diversely interesting members which in itself seems to attract more of the same from new guests, most of whom choose to become members. So whilst I still struggle to see past the irony that I - an employee who still makes heartfelt efforts to avoid giving presentations at work - can call myself President of a public speaking club, there's a lot of pride in the fact that for this year I'm heading up such a great group of people.

So a little about myself: I've worked in various analytical roles in the energy industry for nearly 10 years and am currently working in electricity regulation. Outside work, if I'm not at a Spa Speakers meeting I can sometimes be found on a spinning bike at the gym or on a (not particularly long) run, sweating it out whilst probably mulling over what might be a good topic for my next speech. For me it's all about calories-in/calories-out and these activities are definitely a means to an end ... which for me is wanting to minimise the guilt I feel when indulging in my top pastime: eating vast quantities of Maltesers. I'm also a great procrastinator and love to peruse news sites when I'm meant to be doing more productive activities.
Sally Lewis

Latest posts by Sally Lewis (see all)

It’s been quite a while since taking my first tentative steps across the threshold of Helen Ley into the illustrious public speaking world of Toastmasters. But I have to say, despite the time that has elapsed since then, I have…

Martyn Tilson – The Story of Spa Speakers

Martyn Tilson – The Story of Spa Speakers

Martyn Tilson

Founder at Spa Speakers
Martyn Tilson has always lived in the county. Trained as an accountant he ran his own business in the 80's. After 12 years in employment and health & safety, he has spent the last 10 years managing a narrowboat marina near Southam. He has been both an Area and Division Governor before achieving his Distinguished Toastmaster Award in 2009. He is still active in voluntary work, concentrating on being chair of trustees for PRCF (prcf.org.uk).Martyn has a large family including 12 grandchildren(!)
Martyn Tilson

Latest posts by Martyn Tilson (see all)

Dear Members We have a very very special article for you. Founder of Spa Speakers Martyn Tilson has been kind enough to write an account of how he set up our club back 2004. We owe Martyn a big thank…

How do I deliver a good speech evaluation?

How do I deliver a good speech evaluation?

Trish Bennett

Founder member and former President at Spa Speakers
I made my icebreaker speech in April 2004. Some of the committee roles I have had include Secretary, Vice President of Membership and Mentor Manager. I was elected President in 2010. I have also taken part in many speech contests, table topics and evaluation. Taking part in contests is very challenging, not least to know you have faced your deepest fears! Founder of Toastmasters International Ralph Smedley said "we work together to bring out the best in each of us, and then apply our skills to help others". That sums up for me the ethos of the club.
Trish Bennett

Many thanks to Spa Speakers founder member Trish Bennett, who has written this expert summary on how to evaluate a speech. Trish is a pro at providing feedback that leaves the speaker encouraged and uplifted whilst also offering valuable pointers towards…

Why keeping your commitment to doing a speech is so important

Why keeping your commitment to doing a speech is so important
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Spa Speakers

Spa Speakers is a lively public speaking club based in Leamington Spa. Our mission is to help people like you become more confident communicators and leaders, no matter what your current level and experience.

The best way to find out if it’s for you is to try it! Visit us as a guest, totally free, with no obligation to join, and see if we have something to offer you.
Spa Speakers
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One of best things about being part of Spa Speakers is that you get the chance to deliver speeches of on any topic you choose at regular meetings. You can share your passion with a captive crowd; practice delivering a…

How does Pathways affect the Distinguished Club Award?

How does Pathways affect the Distinguished Club Award?
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Spa Speakers

Spa Speakers is a lively public speaking club based in Leamington Spa. Our mission is to help people like you become more confident communicators and leaders, no matter what your current level and experience.

The best way to find out if it’s for you is to try it! Visit us as a guest, totally free, with no obligation to join, and see if we have something to offer you.
Spa Speakers
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Like all Toastmasters clubs, Spa Speakers aims to be the best public speaking and leadership club it can be. Each year, we aspire to achieving the hallowed President’s Distinguished Award, and as a club have been very successful in doing…

10 Tips for controlling your public speaking nerves

10 Tips for controlling your public speaking nerves
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Spa Speakers

Spa Speakers is a lively public speaking club based in Leamington Spa. Our mission is to help people like you become more confident communicators and leaders, no matter what your current level and experience.

The best way to find out if it’s for you is to try it! Visit us as a guest, totally free, with no obligation to join, and see if we have something to offer you.
Spa Speakers
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Dear Spa Speakers, Feeling some nervousness before giving a speech is natural and even beneficial, but too much nervousness can be detrimental. Here are some proven tips on how to control your butterflies and give better presentations: Did you find…

Expand your comfort zone and speak at another club!

Expand your comfort zone and speak at another club!
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Spa Speakers

Spa Speakers is a lively public speaking club based in Leamington Spa. Our mission is to help people like you become more confident communicators and leaders, no matter what your current level and experience.

The best way to find out if it’s for you is to try it! Visit us as a guest, totally free, with no obligation to join, and see if we have something to offer you.
Spa Speakers
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Expanding your comfort zone is a key part of the Toastmasters experience. When we first join Spa Speakers, presenting to our members can be pretty intimidating. What’s great however is that by regularly giving speeches and doing meeting roles we…

Choosing the right words when evaluating

Choosing the right words when evaluating
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Spa Speakers

Spa Speakers is a lively public speaking club based in Leamington Spa. Our mission is to help people like you become more confident communicators and leaders, no matter what your current level and experience.

The best way to find out if it’s for you is to try it! Visit us as a guest, totally free, with no obligation to join, and see if we have something to offer you.
Spa Speakers
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To evaluate a speech well is a challenging endeavour. First, you’ve got to carefully listen to the content and observe the performance of the speech, looking out for strengths as well as opportunities for improvement. Second, you’ve got to prioritise…