The People Reader

Our first ever special guest speaker for the President’s Dinner is Michelle Mills Porter.

Michelle has been a speaker since 2001. Having won several business awards and gaining Investors in People, she was initially booked to deliver advice on marketing and business development. She then went on to deliver training workshops and talks for business conferences. It was only a couple of years ago that she made the transition to Professional Speaker and started delivering her Keynote, “The Magnificence of Humanity.”

Michelle has been described as a master storyteller and her style is authentic. She can “Reduce an audience to tears of compassion, to tears of laughter with her natural humour, and to their feet with numerous standing ovations.” She is one of the “Most Recommended People” on LinkedIn, receiving Platinum status. Also a celebrated author and Behaviour profiler, Michelle is considered a pioneer in the areas of human communication.

Commanding respectable speaking fees, internationally, Michelle is going to share her most sought after keynote talk with us at the Presidents Dinner.


Edinburgh 2019

A step change in the history of ASC and our national conferences. Join us at the Edinburgh Marriott Hotel 111 Glasgow Road, Edinburgh, EH12 8NF from the 26th-28th April 2019. You can register (before 15th March 2019 for special ASC rate), look through the content of the conference weekend and find out more about your host city by going to the dedicated Edinburgh 2019 website.

We want this to be the conference that involves more people than ever before so we have all the clubs in Central District running parts of the conference, we have a Chief Steward supported by two deputies and we have created 3 new volunteer roles (including contest experience volunteers) over the course of the weekend. People from all over the ASC have already expressed a desire to be part of delivering this conference and you can too! Contact Central District President William Taylor, Chief Steward to signal your interest.

On the Friday night we will be entertained with speaking, songs, games and poems during an “Open Mic Night” hosted by Central District Vice President Eddie Taylor. If you want to release the performer inside then let us know!

Both of our Saturday seminars this year will be delivered by award winning international thought leaders. John Zimmer teaches public speaking in the Executive MBA programs at the University of Geneva, University of Lausanne and IESE in Barcelona and is a 9-time European Toastmasters Champion and TEDx Speaker. All of this experience has gone into creating the Rhetoric game and into his excellent blog – Manner of Speaking. Andy McKechnie is Junior Chamber International (JCI) World Public Speaking Champion 2006. A former member of the Scottish national freestyle ski team, national dance champion and World Fitness Experience presenter, Andy has coached over 120 Olympians, Paralympians and action adventurers, to go into schools to deliver motivational workshops. We are incredibly lucky to have access to such accomplished presenters.

On Sunday afternoon Past National President Gwyneth Millard will host a final celebration event for the lottery funded “Find Your Voice” project which has helped so many people from communities across Scotland. Featuring technique inputs from talented ASC members and speeches from people who have joined ASC clubs through “Find Your Voice” this will be a fantastic final showcase for the project.

Edinburgh 2019 will be a festival of public speaking learning and fun from start to finish with the “Speakers Marketplace”. All weekend every member can browse stalls, displays and interactive exhibits from Victoria College of Music, Scottish Poetry Library, English Speaking Union, Rhetoric Game and World Speech Day as well as access ASC materials, education, registration and the National Training Team… plus the tombola!!!

There is so much to do in Edinburgh and the conference website lists several attractions to visit while you are here. We have also arranged a nostalgic trip in a vintage double decker (courtesy of Eddie Taylor, District Vice President) across the new Queensferry Crossing that opened only in 2017. The tour will continue to Dunfermline and take in a short visit to the  recently opened Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries returning via the Forth Road Bridge that was opened in 1964 and is now reserved only for buses and taxis. This bridge affords wonderful views of the Forth Rail Bridge, a masterpiece of Victorian engineering. Sharron McColl will act as both conductor and guide on the afternoon trip and Mike Chapman, co-owner will be your driver. Seats are limited to the first 60 applicants so book now if you wish to travel: e-mail Eddie Taylor.

This is a time of genuine change and improvement in the ASC and Edinburgh 2019 promises to be a significant part of our ongoing conversation. We look forward to welcoming you to a conference you cannot afford to miss!

The times they are…

Change can happen during a shock or after a tumultuous event. It can happen when the latest crisis becomes a tipping point. Sometimes it happens when we can see the road ahead and we make a conscious decision to alter course. I won’t pretend to know what stage the ASC is at right now but I do know that it’s time for change.

In a way we are incredibly lucky. We have some really talented and hard working people in the ASC ready to give their time and ability for their fellow members and yet so often they don’t get the chance. There is certainly no shortage of available opportunities as our bulky model requires a third of our membership to be committee volunteers. The problem is that our layers of management, clunky administration, obscure voting system, bizarre boundaries and poor communication prevents us from supporting the one resource we have – the potential of our members.

This year the NEC put together a working group to look at boundaries that quickly broadened into a set of proposals for a significant reorganisation of the ASC. The proposals address leadership, governance, structure and member involvement and will go out to every single club member. The consultation on the proposals will run from September to December 2018 allowing everyone in the ASC to offer their thoughts on its future via a feedback survey. A report will be produced on the results of the consultation and shared via direct mailing in February 2019 with monthly updates on the ongoing “conversation” shared via the ASC Facebook group.

What is being trialled here is an exercise in discussion based decision making as opposed to the one day process driven model we employ now (the national AGM). If the proposals get strong support they will be implemented. If they are rejected wholesale they will not go forward. If certain things are supported and others aren’t then the way forward will probably be a mixture of further consultation, taking some decisions to the AGM at Edinburgh 2019 or further work by NEC. I say probably because you are not being presented with a fait accompli. How we proceed as an association will depend on the thoughts of the membership. Equally no person and no club has a veto here. The vast majority of content in the proposals is within the gift of the NEC to decide (according to our current rules) but if things are going to change then it’s important that the membership own the change. The next step is for you to fulfil your leadership role in offering your considered thoughts on the way forward.

We need you. We need your opinions, your alternatives, your concerns and your support. There is a chance that only people completely resistant to change and hyper enthusiasts will take part leaving the NEC with the difficult task of taking the temperature of the members through direct and online conversations. The consultation will work much better and deliver the best decisions if we get a large number of members taking part. If you don’t like what’s being put up then say why and give an alternative. If you do like it then please offer your positive support through the survey.

If you have ever been involved in a conversation about where the ASC is going, what the future holds and how you would like to see the association develop and change… then this is the time for you to make your voice heard.

Online and on point!

Michelle has done it again! Our wonderful web editor has been working hard on making the new ASC website the best advert for the public and the most useful resource for members it can possibly be. Several education updates are now available to everyone:

  • ASC Development Pathway – This reworked resource shows the various ways you can engage with the association to gain new skills, abilities and confidence in communication, leadership, development, event management and critical thinking.
  • Certificate Testimonials – What does it mean to people when they achieve certificates and what do they do with the learning? Four members talk about their experiences and successes.
  • NEC Roles – If you want to know what the Leadership Team do and what each role is about then look no further! Five bullet points on each of the positions gives a useful flavour of the work involved.
  • The Public Speaking Cheat Sheet! – 1 page resource than can be given to new or potential members during meetings or at recruitment events. Find it in the members section under “Resources – Club Night“.

These additions supplement an already packed education section of the website that includes games, flowcharts, advice, competition forms and all the information on the National Training Team. There is more on the way next year including video tutorials, online learning resources, new awards and role testimonials.

So keep an eye on the website and remember that there are always people in ASC working incredibly hard behind the scenes that don’t always receive the recognition of praise they deserve. Thank you Michelle!


Certificate achievers through all the levels from clubs across the UK

York 2018 Seminars

We have a dynamic and stimulating set of seminars set to be delivered at the York Conference in April 2018. They will focus on two themes – Opportunity and Improvement. The subject matter ranges from traditional to innovative and the delivery styles will range from open discussion to polished performance. These learning events are too good to miss and as each seminar will be run twice you can attend them all!

Champion Team Speaking – Kent Speakers

This seminar will be hosted by the winners of the inaugural ASC Team Speaking Contest held at the Kegworth Hotel in Derby in October 2017. They will take you through the process of team speaking, highlight its unique qualities and deliver their competition winning performance.

Tip Top Topics – Stephen Dance and Olwen Heenan

With a mixture of clever comedy and expert advice Stephen Dance (Multiple National Contest medallist) and Olwen Heenan of Cardiff Mixed SC will delve into the world of impromptu speaking outlining their perspectives on what topic taking is all about and providing tricks, tips and strategies for learning and improvement.

Become Better Leaders – Verity Eunson-Hickey and Tony Scott

There are a vast array of opportunities for leadership development provided through the ASC Learning Pathway. Tony Scott (National VP nominee) will describe how you can develop yourself through taking on roles in our organisation and Verity (Gatwick Chief Steward) will provide an expert account of her experience in delivering the Gatwick 2017 ASC National Conference.


West Riding




Champion Team Speaking

Become Better Leaders Break


Become Better Leaders


Tip Top Topics

2:15pm Break Tip Top Topics

Champion Team Speaking


Seminar Leaders.jpgThis is an exciting line up of facilitators including experienced coaches, national officers, competition winners and young leaders. See you at York!

Top: Kent Speakers Team
Bottom: Tony Scott, Verity Eunson-Hickey and Stephen Dance

You Got Game?

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

This quote from George Bernard Shaw is one of my all time favourites. On the ASC website you can now access 10 public speaking games and activities designed to explore the oratorical process. They cover a range of topics, are suitable for new and experienced members and the instructions are clear yet flexible. They provide a fun and fresh approach to learning about public speaking as demonstrated by members of Edinburgh SC below playing “Speaking Statues”.

Speaking statues.jpg

The playful approach to learning and development is often viewed with suspicion. Games are equated with frivolity tarnishing there link to learning. The process of play requires just as much effort as other forms of development but also increases motivation, encourages creativity and teaches resilience. These are all qualities valuable to speakers and they can be nurtured using processes that are enjoyable to take part in. This is especially true when the people we are playing with are supportive, imaginative and friendly. These are qualities that members of ASC clubs hold in abundance.

So get playing! It’s your brain’s favourite way to learn and a great way to showcase the developing skills, confidence and abilities of your members. Whenever I am asked how to reach an audience I always talk about the vitality, sincerity and enthusiasm of the speaker. These three things are enhanced better through play than anything else:

“We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing.” – Charles Schaefer, Father of Play Therapy

Meeting Flow

Two flowchart tools have been added to the website (Members area in the menu under Resources and then Governance) – “Motions and Amendments” and “Procedural Motions“. These tools are meant to be simple, user friendly maps for understanding how motions proceed through a formal meeting. They don’t have the detailed explanations found in Citrine and they don’t have all the answers to questions around meeting procedure and they aren’t supposed to.

Have you ever seen the real map of London Underground? It is mind boggling in its scale and complexity and there are some quirky details that the “Standard Tube Map” just cannot replicate. The wiggly lines around Arsenal, Heathrow being miles away and the circle of lines that surround Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common (not the Circle line which incidentally is not a circle by any measure). So if this map is more accurate and reflects reality to a greater extent then why do we bother with the standard one?

London Connections Map-1.jpg

We use the “Standard Tube Map” because it simplifies the process to the point where we can effectively interact with it. As commuters we don’t need the detail, complexity or quirks. We need to know our start point, our finish point and the lines we need to follow in order to successfully and efficiently complete our journey. This is the thinking behind the flowcharts. There creation was prompted by this years AGM where some members appeared to be alienated from the decision making process whenever things like amendments or procedural motions were raised. The goal of these simple, brief and visual tools is to make learning about and understanding meeting procedure more accessible and palatable for all members of the ASC.

They are not a replacement for the “ABC of Chairmanship” so Citrine fans… calm down!