Meet the Members

We’re a friendly and welcoming group of people from all sorts of backgrounds and professions.

We all joined Berkhamsted Speakers Club for different reasons.

Have a read of some of members’ stories, and hopefully feel inspired enough to come along to one of our meetings as a guest.

I do get a buzz out of talking in front of people

“Almost a wrinkly and lots of grey hair but I do get a buzz out of talking in front of people. I would love to pass on some of my enthusiasm for life and talking.”

Patrick Burke

My confidence of public speaking has grown considerably over the last year

“I wasn’t aware of the Toastmasters organisation until I listened to an accomplished speaker explaining that’s she wouldn’t haven’t been able to stand up an utter her own name in front of an audience, until she joined her local Toastmasters club. I immediately googled Toastmasters and after visiting joined Berkhamsted speakers a fortnight later. My confidence of public speaking has grown considerably over the last year and with the supportive feedback received from fellow members I am continually developing my skills. There are a variety of roles each week that involve standing up and speaking so you don’t have to prepare a formal speech to gain experience. You learn as much from watching your fellow members (who quickly become friends) as you do from your own speaking. It’s engaging and fun.”

Kym Wilcox

I now regularly give presentations and speak at conferences

“Angus has been a member of Berkhamsted Speakers for a couple of years during which he has completed his Competent communicator and competent leadership awards. Angus runs a management consultancy and finds Toastmasters very effective in helping him develop his public speaking skills as he regularly gives presentations and speaks at conferences. Angus is currently VPEducation for the club.”

Angus Blackwood

My speeches are now more animated, more inspirational and more engaging 

“When I was first asked if I was interested in joining Toastmasters I instantly imagined formidable and pompous gentlemen in red tuxedos toasting the queen and her realms. But my vision was far from reality, the red coat is a red herring. My inaugural visit to Berkhamsted Speakers was to the “humorous speaking contest” – an evening of amusing and weird presentations on a wide variety of subjects. I enjoyed it, I was hooked and I immediately saw the benefits so joined the following week.I’ve been public speaking for many years, since I started work as a researcher, but Berkhamsted Speakers has really helped me hone my presentation skills. My speeches are now more animated, more inspirational and more engaging with the audience. Since joining the club I have been invited to present at many more (international) conferences, and so even pay me to speak.”

Nigel Oseland

My friends and family are amazed how quickly I have grown into a more confident person

“I have been a member of Berkhamsted Speakers Club for almost 2 years and my friends and family are amazed how quickly I have grown into a more confident person. The members of the club are so encouraging and positive in their manner, that the journey so far has been exhilarating. The club is a gathering of like-minded people each with their own reason for wanting to develop their skills. I have learnt how to face and overcome my fears and how to communicate in a way that empowers me. I have made new friends and had lots of fun too.”

Karen Hill

The attitude is about encouraging members to improve

“I joined Toastmasters in June 2011 and have not looked back since! As a guest, the thought of attending a speaking club seemed a daunting task. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised as the members are welcoming and supportive. The attitude there is about encouraging members to improve – not to compete or feel down trodden. It’s nice that the club has people from all ages with different speaking abilities. For me, it has been an intricate part of my business, allowing to me to improve my communication skills whether I’m talking to one or fifty colleagues. It has been useful in networking too.”

Craig Moss

Initially I spoke for a few seconds at a time to get used to the audience and my confidence grew over time

“I joined the club in 2011 having attended a couple of ‘guest evenings’. I was made to feel welcome from the outset and was encouraged by the fact that I could choose when to speak and for how long. Initially I spoke for a few seconds at a time to get used to the audience and my confidence grew over time. One of the longer serving members (Rex) gave me great advice by highlighting how it was possible to “just dip your toe in the water” or “jump in at the deep end” depending upon how you felt. Even though I now consider myself to be a competent speaker, I still get the benefit of having a more experienced mentor – this is a really positive aspect of the club’s helpful manner. I also now mentor new speakers and enjoy seeing how they progress. I consider the other members to be friends as well as speaking colleagues.”

Mike Hill

I can now converse confidently, and not internally panic, in senior management meetings

I’d toyed with the idea of joining Berkhamsted Speakers Club for about a year before I finally walked through their open doors. I’ve not looked back. From the nerves of gearing up to my first Ice Breaker speech, through to completing my 10th speech and being awarded my Competent Communicator award, my personal development has been amazing.

Work meetings that I previously spent weeks worrying about? They’re no longer an issue. I can now converse confidently, and not internally panic, in senior management meeting situations. This for me is an absolute game changer for both my career and myself personally.

Gareth Evans