Start a Club

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Considering starting a  Speakers League club or workshop? You and your future members are in for a rewarding experience!

Public speaking is a skill that is best learned by doing, and the Speakers League format gives members a chance to develop and improve their skills at every meeting.
 
It's kind of thrilling to see kids, new to public speaking, rise and speak on a topic without preparation (we call these Impromptus), present prepared speeches, and present evaluations of their peers. They become engaged and involved with the success of the meeting, taking on the varied roles, e.g. tracking the times of the speakers, counting filler-words, such as, “um,” “like,” and “you know,” selecting and presenting poetry, or jokes, or counting votes. At every turn, members take responsibility and stretch their abilities, and are rewarded for their effort and progress.
 
We show you exactly how to make that happen.

Perhaps one of these describes you:

  • School
  • Teacher
  • After school program
  • Scout troop
  • Youth organization (e.g. Boys & Girls Club)
  • Tutoring center
  • Homeschooler
  • Church youth group
  • Entrepreneur
  • "College for Kids" program
  • GATE (gifted and talented) program
  • Library program
  • Summer academic camp
  • YMCA program
  • Corporate sponsored youth development program
Speakers League is a great fit for all of these types of organizations and individuals.
 
The first step to starting your club (or workshop) is to purchase a club "charter." A charter is an annually-renewable license to use our materials, to operate one club or multiple workshops.
 
 
To the right are some frequently asked questions (FAQs), but these are just a fraction of what's available when you request our illustrated 35-page PDF, "Getting Started" (Part 1 of our operations manual). Complete the form below and we will send you a link to view, download, and/or print it.
 

In "Getting Started" you will find everything laid out for you to plan, promote, and launch your club.



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  • FAQs: The Basics
  • What's in the Getting Started part of the manual, that I can download for free?

    It's actually 35 pages of illustrated material, more detailed than this web page, to show you how to plan, promote, and launch your club, including:

    • What is included with your charter
    • What is available for purchase
    • Why start a Speakers League club
    • What happens at a Speakers League club meeting
    • Your role as Chairperson
    • Starting up your club
    • Club start-up checklist
    • Where to hold meetings
    • Financial considerations & membership dues
    • How many members and how often to meet
    • Sample budget
    • Promoting the club
    • The first meeting and beyond
    • Room set up and name cards
    • Typical meeting timing and supplies
    • Scheduling roles
    • The Chairperson’s typical tasks
    • Chairperson’s FAQs

    Click here to request "Getting Started" today!

  • What's included in the rest of the operations manual? 

    The Operations Manual is actually comprised of 8 parts.

    • Part 1 - Getting Started
    • Part 2 - First Meeting and Beyond
    • Part 3 - Member Handbook Levels I-II
    • Part 4 - Member Handbook Levels III-IV
    • Part 5 - Forms, Etc.
    • Part 6 - Incorporating Club Officers
    • Part 7 - Workshop Manual
    • Part 8 - Workshop Participant Handbook

    Click here to see the complete Table of Contents.

     

  • Do I have to be a business to run a club?

    No. A group of families can just come together to start a club or do a workshop. It is even up to you whether you charge dues at all, to cover your expenses.

    On a side note, we do not assist with business start up. We merely license our materials for your use, subject to our terms and conditions.

  • What is a club charter, and what does it cost?

    For each Speakers League club you operate (and if you wish to conduct workshops), you must possess a valid Speakers League club charter. A charter is a $95 annually renewable license that gives you the right to use the Speakers League materials for one club, and/or to conduct any number of Speakers League workshops during the time you hold a charter.  You also agree to our terms and conditions.

    A Speakers League Club is defined as a single group of students that meets on a regular ongoing basis and conducts Speakers League structured meetings. Workshops are defined as short-term trainings (usually 6-16 sessions) at which a new group of students typically enrolls for each workshop series.

     

  • What is the difference between a club and a workshop?

    A Speakers League club is generally an ongoing group that meets regularly for a school year, or more.

    A Speakers League workshop is a short term group that meets for between six and sixteen sessions. The attendees generally participate in only one workshop.

    Workshops are a great option for introducing public speaking and meeting management skills to groups. Our workshop materials are perfect for as few as 6 sessions, and as many as 16. (After that, you would convert the group to a full Speakers League club to have access to more speech types.)

    Some charter holders use workshops to recruit for their ongoing clubs. Others just run workshops and never start an ongoing club. It’s up to you!

  • What if I just want to do workshops?

    That's fine. There's a lot of flexibility in holding workshops around the times of year that work best for you. Some teachers opt to conduct workshops during summer break. Some people do weekend or after-school workshops.

    An ongoing club is more of a commitment of time, but can also have flexibility. For example, many clubs take the summer off. Others convene somewhat sporadically when holidays come around. You can adjust your schedule for your and your members' particular needs.

  • Does my club have to meet every week?

    You determine your club's schedule. Some clubs meet weekly, some twice a month, some once a month. A membership level of 12-20 can thrive on once or twice a month. A larger membership can do well with weekly meetings. It's a matter of being able to fill your schedule and give everyone enough opportunities to do the roles and give prepared speeches.

  • I'm not good at public speaking. Should I still start a club?

    This is a common question, so we made an entire section of our Operating Manual devoted to the first few meetings. We provide two pathways to launching your club.

    One pathway provides three step-by-step lesson plans that will give you and your members a gradual, fun, and stress free introduction to the roles at a club meeting, techniques for Impromptus, a plan for preparing their first speech, and a foundation in how to effectively (and constructively) evaluate another member’s speech.

    The other pathway is to start with a full meeting. To do this, you will provide handbooks to members at least two weeks prior to the first meeting, have members review the meeting highlight video and protocol video, and pre-assign meeting roles, including speeches.

  • How old should members be?

    You will probably have the best results with kids aged 10-and-up, though serious-minded younger ones can have success, as well. We’ve seen them as young as six!

  • FAQs: Membership Building
  • Do you handle finding members for my club?

    No. Membership-building is your responsibility, but our "Getting Started" section has lots of great promotional ideas to help you with this. You may also list your club on our Club Locator page.

    To be clear, we do not assist with business start up. We merely license our materials for your use, subject to our terms and conditions.

  • How much do club or workshop members have to pay to join?

    It is entirely up to you. The Speakers League company does not receive any part of the dues you collect.

    Some charter holders wish to offer a free club to members. Others see their charters as a business from which to earn an income.

    Whether you have a profit motive, or not, it is important to attach value to your club through some form of club dues.

    Most extracurricular activities cost parents $10 to $20 per hour per child. Depending on your location, clientele, and expenses, it is not unreasonable to charge between $10 and $25 per meeting per member. A modest dues structure might be $50 as a one-time-registration/materials fee and $30 per month for two meetings per month.

    There is more information on this topic in "Getting Started," our free download, available here.

  • FAQs: The Business end of things
  • What does it cost to run a club?

    The costs of running a club amount to these:

    • Speakers League Charter Fee (Annual $95 fee paid to Speakers League)
    • Room rental (plus possible liability insurance)
    • Timekeeper materials
    • Ribbons (woven or printed)
    • Printing and copying costs for member handbooks, forms, etc.
    • Chairperson/supervisor (if paying yourself or someone else)

    Typically, membership dues and materials fees offset these expenses.

    More information can be found by downloading (free) Part 1 of the manual, "Getting Started."

  • How many clubs may I operate?

    As long as you have a charter for each club, you may run as many clubs as you wish. You may operate as many workshops as you wish with a single, valid charter.

  • Can I turn this into a business?

    Running Speakers League clubs can be profitable. Be sure to download Part 1 of the Manual, "Getting Started," to see a sample budget for a single club. Then multiply those results by multiple clubs. The key is strong membership building and providing unquestionable value to your customers.

    On a side note, we do not assist with business start up. We merely license our materials for your use, subject to our terms and conditions.

  • Can I run a club as a non-profit?

    Of course! Helping children learn the skills of public speaking is a goal worth sharing. Many people want to help children, and if fundraising can help you offer this learning experience to more children, then this is a great approach. Non-profits often have greater (and less-expensive) access to room rentals, as well.

    On a side note, we do not assist with business start up. We merely license our materials for your use, subject to our terms and conditions.

  • Will I be granted an exclusive territory?
    We do not discuss territories until you have started and operated multiple clubs.

     

  • Why would I need liability insurance?

    Many locations you might wish to use for your meetings will require that you have liability insurance. If you or your organization already has such insurance, use that. If you do not have it, you may wish to contact your own insurance agent, or consider purchasing it from us. More details can be found on our liability insurance page.

  • Where do I find a meeting room to use?

    Consider trying these possibilities:

    Library
    Museum
    Corporate Meeting Room
    Fire/Police Station
    School Classroom
    YMCA
    Community Center
    Church
    Scout Center
    Senior Center

    Download "Getting Started" (Part 1 of the operating manual), at no charge, for more information on how to approach locations.

  • FAQs: Handbooks, supplies, etc.
  • Can I change the materials to reflect my company’s name?

    Most clubs include "Speakers League" in their name, such as "Norfolk Middle School Speakers League." However, that is not required. You might prefer "Norfolk Communications Club," or the like.

    Likewise, if you are a tutoring company, you might name your club "Kumon of Wichita Speakers League," or "Kumon Kommunicators."

    You may not remove the Speakers League logos and replace them with your club or organization's. For your club name and club logo, you may integrate the design with the Speakers League logo for your marketing and promotional materials.

    For more information, read Sections 26-31 on our Terms and Conditions page.

    If in doubt, contact us at info@speakersleague.com
    or call 310-528-7369.

  • Can I print the materials or do I have to buy manuals, etc.

    You may print out the materials as needed. Many charter holders choose to do this.

    You will receive an email about 15 minutes after you purchase your charter. It will contain your link and sign-in credentials for our "Chairpersons Membership Site" (CMS), where you can immediately download all of the parts of the manual.

    We do offer, for your convenience, the option to purchase printed items and other supplies. These can be found in the shop tab.

  • FAQs: Academic/curriculum related
  • Does the curriculum line up with Common Core standards?

    As it happens, yes. Within the English Language Arts standards for "Speaking and Listening," our program meets all of the standards in the categories of "Comprehension and Collaboration," as well as "Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas," across all grades.

    Click here for more details on the Common Core standards met by Speakers League.

     

  • What kinds of speeches do the members give?

    There are four Levels within the Speakers League program. To complete Level I, members must do each Club role at least once, and give the seven speeches outlined below.

    1. Getting to Know You (4 – 6 minutes) The goal of the Getting to Know You speech is to share information about yourself so the audience gets to know you better. The primary skills emphasis for this speech is eye-contact.

    2. Gestures (5 – 7 minutes) The goal of the Gestures speech is to use body language to help you communicate your message. The goal of the Vocal Variety speech is to use power, pitch, pace, and pauses to add meaning and interest to your message.

    3. Vocal Variety (5 – 7 minutes) The member should use volume, pitch, rate, and quality as well as appropriate pauses to reflect and add meaning and interest to his/her message. The member’s voice should reflect the thoughts he/she is presenting.

    4. Visual Aids (5 – 7 minutes) The goal of the Visual Aids speech is to use visual aids to help the audience members under-stand and remember what they hear. Popular visual aids include computer-based visuals, overhead transparencies, flip charts, whiteboards, and props used for demonstration.

    5. Organizing (5 – 7 minutes) The goal of the Organizing speech is to organize the presentation into a logical order or format that is clear to the audience. (The speaker should provide his/her MLA formatted outline to the Chairperson and Evaluator before the speech.)

    6. Speaker’s Choice (5 – 7 minutes) The goal of the Speaker’s Choice speech is to demonstrate overall speaking skills. The topic is chosen by the speaker.

    7. Speaking with Knowledge (7 minutes +/- 30 seconds) The goal of the Knowledge speech is to research an issue or topic and present a speech about it. The speaker should clearly demonstrate a competence in the skills covered across all Level I speeches. (The speaker should provide his/her MLA formatted outline to the Chairperson and Evaluator before the speech.) To be eligible for Level advancement, the timing of this speech must fall within the specified time frame of 7-minutes plus-or-minus 30-seconds.

    A signaling system is used to keep speakers aware of their time.

The Role of the Club Chairperson

Level AdvancementWe refer to the adult supervisor of the club as the "Chairperson." Though ensuring the meetings are run efficiently and professionally always rests with you, the ultimate goal for the Chairperson is to have as little input on the meeting as possible, with the members running it from beginning to end with only light supervision from you. 

At the beginning, and until club officers are elected (generally, a few months into the club) you will manage the opening and closing of the meeting. 

The approach to the very first meeting depends on the readiness of your membership before day one.

Speakers League Impromptu MasterYour first meeting and beyond

Ideally, before the first meeting, members will have had a chance, at home, to view our meeting highlight video (speakersleague.com/video) and to have reviewed their member handbook for information about their pre-scheduled role at the first meeting. However, if there has not been sufficient time for pre-scheduling, and such, our “First Meeting and Beyond” materials (Part 2 of the manual) offers an alternative – three step-by-step lesson plans to give you and your members a gradual, fun, and stress free introduction to the roles at a club meeting, techniques for Impromptus, a plan for preparing the first speech, and a foundation in how to effectively (and constructively) evaluate another member’s speech.

Speakers League growthWithin a few months, if not sooner, you can add in the roles of Club Officers who will take over the opening and closing of the meeting, among other things.

After that, the Chairperson’s chief responsibility is to maintain proper meeting etiquette. The goal is for members to elevate their behavior to that of a business meeting, balancing enjoyment with seriousness. You will want to review the video or meeting handbook section on etiquette with your members. Reminders during meetings are sometimes necessary.

Many club chairpersons choose to complete speech evaluations (form available), and some even videotape and upload the speeches for members to self-evaluate. 

 

Louis, Tina, Richie, CaitlinWe provide complete phone and email support, and your Operations Manual is a step-by-step guide for you. Whether you are a School Program, Youth Club, Tutoring Center, or homeschooling co-op, we provide all the tools and support to plan, promote, launch, and maintain your Speakers League Club.

Speakers League - as young as six

“Confident”  “Articulate” “Poised”  “Perceptive”

These are words that have been used to describe students as young as six that have been trained through Speakers League.

With Speakers League, you can take any group of students, elementary aged through College, and provide the perfect club environment for them to become confident and skilled public speakers.

 

 

SL Start up checklist

It’s all been figured out for you, every step of the way —
 a complete system for developing skilled young speakers!
Let us hand you these simple steps to creating confidence.
The first step is to . . .

 Click here to begin

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All I can say is WOW!  The Speakers League is amazing!  I was so impressed with every aspect -- the kids, the speeches, the way the meetings are organized, the whole thing is totally superb.  Bravo!!

Erica Stearns