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Welcome to 2021

Thank you to everyone who joined us on Tuesday for our first meeting of the year. We had guests and members from the US, India, Bermuda, Istanbul, and, of course, all over London. One silver lining to Covid-19 and moving our meetings online is the freedom to visit exotic clubs and host exciting guests from all over the world.

As the UK enters a second national lockdown, confining us to our homes for the foreseeable, I thought this an apt time to consider why we come to a publicspeaking club every week, when so little of our life is actually public.

Many of us joined London Victorians when we met in the Grange Wellington Hotel, after work on a Tuesday, with the hope of squashing our fears of speaking in front of a room full of strangers, by practicing in front of a room full of strangers.

Now, after almost a year of practicing in front of a screen full of strangers, I can say with certainty, that we are no longer public speaking club. We are a communications club.

We will teach you, teach each other, how to be better communicators.

In the new world that means fixing your lighting, using the four walls of Zoom as a tiny stage, adding depth to your voice so you don’t bore your colleagues to death, mastering pause, PowerPoints, and podcasts. It may not be the stage we’re used to, but that does not mean we cannot master it.

In the new world, being a better communicator means using what you have to shine brighter at work, when you cannot rely on your social skills, direct eye contact, or the gravitas that you had when you entered a room. The confidence you learn from practicing every week will shine through the screen.

My advice to anyone who wants to be a better communicator is simple.

  1. Turn up every week. Make it a routine. Because all great skills are acquired through disciplined practice.
  2. Try it out. An impromptu speech, a 2-minute timekeepers report, a debate, a joke, a 7-minute presentation, a speech competition. Because I guarantee you will learn something new every time.
  3. Take it in. Listen to the feedback, the good and the not so good. Because feedback in the real world is scarce, yet vital.

I know better than to make any predictions for the year, but should you follow these steps, I promise you will become a better communicator in every aspect of your life. Even if it’s not as public as you intended.

Thank you for choosing to start 2021 here with us at London Victorians. I look forward to a challenging and exciting year ahead.

Lucy Rosa, President