Having completed a long and successful career in policing in 2014, I wanted to set myself some new personal challenges whilst working as an International trainer with my own company. I did look at some voluntary work initially but as there were so many choices, I didn’t know which one to choose and I also knew that I couldn’t commit fully to this due to my sporadic availability undertaking training delivery commitments.
One late winter evening just before Christmas in 2016, I found an advert in our local ‘what’s on’ magazine and it mentioned Newbury Speakers and particularly, the focus on improving your public speaking capability and joining a group of like-minded people.
This was exactly what I needed. On a cold and wet early December evening I drove the short journey to Newbury Rugby Football Club’s ground and found the meeting room. Having pre-announced my intended attendance by email to the information email address supplied, I was warmly welcomed by what can only be described as a very friendly welcoming committee.
The evening was split into two parts with the second part being multiple two minute table topic speaking slots, one of which I volunteered to undertake. Although I was a fairly confident police audience speaker, I found this to be a bit of a nervous experience and quite challenging but enjoyable in a funny sort of way.
I was hooked. I liked the people, the concept and the fact that I could pursue a ten-speech journey with the Competent Communicator manual and have a mentor to help me on my way. Having joined up that evening, I then had to go home and digest my public speaker’s journey.
Initially I was a bit bold and thought that I could do the ten speeches within a 12 month period but alas, this was not to be as I hadn’t taken into consideration the fact that I did a lot of training delivery abroad and that this would take me out of the country for up to 4 weeks at a time.
The ten speeches were crafted in such a way that as I progressed, the challenge of the speech type made me do more work and more practising in order to achieve the objectives set. Receiving feedback on a one to one basis and from the group, really did help to shape my future speech deliveries.
I have picked up lots of hints and tips on breathing, voice projection, voice tone, use of verbal language and for me, most importantly, use of body language including my hands. I found the latter point the most difficult to achieve as I wasn’t used to using my hands and started the first few speeches with them clasped together as if they’d been superglued!
Over the 4 years, I have successfully completed my Competent Communicator and Competent Leader journeys and I am now near the end of my first Pathway (Dynamic Leadership) journey. I can honestly say that it’s been a challenging but very enjoyable experience and I’m really looking forward to the next chapter and hope that others can come and join me too.
Rob Hoblin CC CL
Member of Newbury Speakers