THE thought of public speaking used to fill Martin Groom with dread.
It was after the managing director of web hosting company Redstation was asked to say a few words at the Gosport business awards and his mind went blank that he decided to take action.
And so the 38-year-old came to the Solent Speakers, which is celebrating 10 years of confidence-building for aspiring public speakers.
Since starting it’s held 250 meetings and heard around 2,000 speeches.
Mr Groom, who joined last February said: ‘I was so nervous that I thought: “I’ve got to take the bull by the horns”.
‘Since joining, It has not only got me over my worries, but it is full of like-minded people, who are supportive and friendly.
‘It’s made me realise how unconfident I was, but this has really helped draw me out.’
The Fareham-based club has helped around 400 people from all walks of life.
Club president Tim Rampton said: ‘We’re proud of our members’ achievements in becoming ever more skilled public speakers and leaders.
‘Our success formula is simple – we provide a self-paced curriculum of learning projects, we have a no-risk environment, we give constructive peer feedback and we applaud success. We also have plenty of laughs in the process.’
In its 10 years, the club has won the top award from Toastmasters International five times and has helped 15 local and national charities, such as Canine Partners, The Elizabeth Foundation and the Rainbow Centre.
It has also helped start new clubs in Portsmouth and Southsea.
The club welcomes new members. To find out more, contact Robin Chawner by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit solent-speakers.org.uk
Meetings are held on alternate Tuesdays at the Lysses House Hotel, in High Street, Fareham.