Conquering fear of public speaking

TOASTING SUCCESS Spinnaker Speakers has become a Distinguished Club
TOASTING SUCCESS Spinnaker Speakers has become a Distinguished Club

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Karen Chapman, talks about the activities and achievements of Portsmouth-based Spinnaker Speakers

I joined Spinnaker Speakers to conquer my fear of public speaking, and to improve my general communication skills.

I have been a member since November 2014 and have noticed a vast improvement in both my confidence and skills. I have also had the opportunity to share my experience with others in order to encourage them to embark on a similar journey.

Spinnaker Speakers recently celebrated its former president Keith Oliver being awarded the Competent Communicator Gold award, which means that he has given at least 40 speeches.

At the other end of the spectrum, one of our newer members, Ellie Zheleva, gave her very first speech at the last session.

In July, members from the Portsmouth, Fareham, and Chichester clubs of Toastmasters International ran a public speaking workshop for members of the Royal Navy to encourage and develop attendees in their public speaking skills.

The workshop started with introductions from Toastmasters, and then attendees volunteered problems they have encountered with public speaking. Then, as a warm- up exercise, each attendee spoke for about 20 seconds on why they joined the Navy.

The top tips for public speaking were discussed, such as keeping to time, structuring and using pauses. Attendees were then asked to give a two-minute presentation on any subject of their choice.

At the end of the workshop, every attendee stood in front of all participants to give their presentation.

It was clear to me that the speaking skills of every individual had considerably developed in such a small amount of time, and it was extremely rewarding to hear each attendee speak about something that was meaningful to them.

The positive feedback from attendees showed me that this was a rewarding afternoon for everyone.

n Toastmasters International is an international educational non-profit organisation that aims to improve communication, public speaking and leadership skills.

Spinnaker Speakers meet twice a month (on the second and fourth Monday) at St Luke’s Church, Greetham Street, Portsmouth at 7.15pm.

These sessions provide a friendly forum to practise public speaking.

If you would like more information on Toastmasters or Spinnaker Speakers, I can be contacted at or you can visit our Facebook page at or visit