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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

September 6, 2007

"Spokesperson" Club

Filed under UCG-Holland

We used to call it "Spokesman" Club, but that would not be appropriate for our speaker’s club in the Netherlands.

Four to six times a year a small group Dutch speakers club of dedicated people meet in the Netherlands to practice their public speaking skills. The meeting are held in a central location in Maarn, a little east of Utrecht. The format is like the old "Spokesman Club" format, except that there are no minutes taken and no business session. There is a table topics session, and then the speaking session is conducted. Yesterday’s session began at 8 p.m. and featured three speakers (one of the scheduled speakers was unable to attend at the last minute). The meeting was entirely in Dutch, so I understood about 65 percent of what was said. If you are familiar with the old "Spokesman Club", you would noticed some similarities – but also some differences.

The speeches are about the same length as Marian at Dutch speakers club in the old "Spokesman Club" and each speaker is evaluated by an evaluator. The Dutch club also uses the evaluation forms that each person fills out for each speaker, so after the club the speaker has a brief written summary of everyone’s comments. One interesting difference is that the other members of the club are invited to comment after the main evaluator has made his comments. The evaluations given were in a friendly, encouraging "iron sharpens iron" spirit. The main difference in our Dutch speaker’s club is that women can be a part of the club. One of the speakers this evening was the lady member of the club, Marian, who gave a speech on whether or not to have a will. Marian also is assigned from time to time to be the main evaluator of one of the speakers, which means that she evaluates one of the men. That certainly would have been quite a novelty in the old "Spokesman Club" format. :-)

The club has proven to be a valuable opportunity to practice public speaking and promote leadership training for the church in the Netherlands.

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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