Speakers League FAQs
Can I visit the club before I decide about joining?
Yes, we welcome, and encourage, visitors to the group to “check us out.” To arrange for a visit, call or text us at 214-972-8046, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If I visit, do I have to speak?
Guests are seated with the members, and are usually given the opportunity to answer an off-the-cuff question during the Impromptu segment of the meeting. Guests have the option to say, "I pass," if they would rather just observe the meeting. Guests do vote after the major segments of the meeting, so should pay attention to determine who did the best job during each segment (Impromptus, Prepared Speeches, and Evaluations).
What happens at a typical meeting?
Members help set up the meeting room. The meetings begin with a short business session where we acknowledge guests and run through any housekeeping items. Parents are welcome to stay and watch throughout.
The meeting is then turned over to the day’s MC (Master of Ceremonies) who is in charge of introducing segments of the meeting and key participants.
During the first segment of the meeting, called “Impromptus,” members and guests have the opportunity to think on their feet and talk on a topic, off-the-cuff, within a 2-minute time limit. Guests have the option to pass.
Following Impromptus the prepared speeches segment begins, during which the scheduled speakers make their presentations. Most of the speakers are giving specific types of speeches to complete requirements for level promotion.
During the final segment of the meeting, each speaker is evaluated by a fellow club member, following club guidelines for evaluation.
After each segment, club members (and guest students) cast votes for the winner of each segment -- Best Impromptu, Best Speaker, and Best Evaluator. At the end of the meeting, ribbons are awarded to the winners.
You can watch or skim a 23-minute "Typical Meeting" highlight video, as well as other videos, by clicking on this link.
If I join, how will I know how to be the MC, or the Wordmaster, or an Evaluator, etc?
When you join, you will receive a 45-page member handbook that, among other things, describes how to do each role at a meeting. Plus, you will have the opportunity to learn by observing at the meeting. If you have questions, you can always ask the Chairperson (the adult supervisor of the club), or one of the other members. You can also get a pretty good idea about how a meeting works by watching our "Typical Meeting" highlight video at this link.
How much homework/preparation time is involved?
Who teaches me how to write speeches?
Your member handbook has a section devoted to speech-writing. It gives you a worksheet to help you plan your first speech, called the "Getting to Know You" speech. There are suggestions for types of speeches to avoid, and a 5-step process we outline for how to write a great speech. You'll also learn by observing, doing, and being-evaluated. We endeavor to videotape all speeches. These are generally made available to the member on an unlisted page on YouTube. As part of "completing" the speech, you will view and complete a self-evaluation form. The Chairperson, members Level III-and-above, and current club officers, may also provide a written evaluation to you.
The speeches in Level I do emphasize the development of specific presentation skills. These include using gestures, vocal variety, visual aids, and organization. The member handbook gives specific tips and guidelines for these speech. During Levels I & II, parents may assist you as you craft your speeches.
Completing each Level in Speakers League (there are four), involves giving seven speeches and doing each role in the club at least once, during that Level. Some of the higher Levels (beyond Level I) have additional requirements. It usually takes 12-18 months per level, to advance, though members that tend to have speeches ready to go, and can substitute in case of a no-show, tend to advance more quickly.
I'm not ten, yet. Can I still join?
If you are ready for Speakers League, you may join even if you are younger than ten. Click here for our readiness guidelines.
I'll be turning 18 this year. Can I still join?
You may stay in Speakers League until you graduate high school, or turn 19, whichever is later.
How much does it cost to join?
There is a one-time, non-refundable, $75 registration/materials fee per child when you join a Speakers League club through this website. Dues, if paid annually, are $320. If you would prefer a month-to-month arrangement, you may opt to pay dues of $30 per month, year-round, until you withdraw from the club.
Why are monthly dues collected during the summer when the club doesn’t meet?
All of our dues are essentially annual. You can either pay $320 per year all at once, or $360 per year in $30/month increments. There are three reasons:
- We found that parents like the flexibility of a paying a smaller month-to-month figure.
- We found that stability in our membership and scheduling was enhanced by a year-round arrangement.
- We are able to keep our dues lower because there is less paperwork, staffing, and marketing involved in managing membership.
Is there a sibling discount?
Yes. Siblings receive a 10% discount on both registration and dues. Use the promo code “SIBLINGS” on your online order form. (Does not apply with other specials.)
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and PayPal for our monthly payment option. If paying annually you may use these same methods, or cash, or check.
What do my class costs cover?
Any registration fees, tuition, or dues cover such items as room rentals, equipment and supplies, ribbons, staffing, videotaping, database entry, website maintenance and security, member handbooks, forms, etc.
How often does the club meet?
Speakers League clubs meet twice per month between September and May, plus our annual conference on the second Saturday in June.
Should I wait to join in September?
There is no difference in experience joining in September or any other month. It is commonplace for new members to join year-round. Membership goes up and down. The best time to join is when there is an opening in the club.
Do I have to come to every meeting?
No. However, if you are scheduled for a role but unable to attend, it is customary to find a replacement.
How do we withdraw from the club?
You may withdraw your child from the club at any time by notifying the club Chairperson. Payments up to that point are non-refundable. Future scheduled payments are immediately halted.
Do you offer financial aid?
If you feel that you could not otherwise participate in Speakers League without some financial assistance, we do make special arrangements for families that request it. Many of our students receive assistance. We want everyone to be able to partake of this great program! We offer partial scholarships, and they are based solely on need, not merit. To request a scholarship, we ask that the parent submit a statement in writing, or verbally, describing the reason assistance is desired, and what amount is requested. Members/parents who receive scholarship assistance may be asked to contribute volunteer time, on occasion.
When we’re ready to join, what should we do?
The quickest way is through our online enrollment portal at this link. (If you are requesting financial aid, contact us at the email or phone number at the bottom of this page, and a different ordering method will be used.)
What happens after my child joins?
Once you have paid and completed our online member data form, an automated, short series of emails will start to come to you to help your child get ready for the club. A member handbook will be provided by mail or at the first meeting, and your child will be added to the club schedule which we will send a link to.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact email@example.com or 214-972-8046.