New public speakers get ready for 2017 talks

Twenty new Catholic Voices speakers who completed their CV Public Speaking Programme (PSP) training in London at the end of 2016 are now preparing to give presentations in parishes in Lent and Advent this year.  

The sixth national speakers’ training since the project began in 2010, this was the first to focus exclusively on public speaking rather than training for media interviews. 

Trainees took part in an intensive course over the space of a month, with one full day and three evening workshops led by PSP coordinator Brenden Thompson with help from the other CV coordinators. Several experienced CVs acted as facilitators, giving input and feedback. 

The sessions aimed to help speakers develop the skills necessary to prepare and deliver talks and answer questions in parishes, schools, university chaplaincies, and a variety of other venues.

The training introduced speakers to the history, mission and principles of Catholic Voices as well as the aims and objectives of the PSP. Among the topics covered was the art of reframing - a technique that allows a speaker to recognise the unconscious 'frames' of contemporary secularism and to step outside them – and ’ten principles of civil communication’. 

The trainees were also encouraged to jump straight in by giving a spontaneous 2-minute talk, with no preparation, on a subject they were given, to the rest of their small group, after which they received friendly feedback. 

They were then sent home with the task of preparing a 10-minute talk, on a Catholic subject of their choice, to deliver at one of the evening training sessions. The task meant they could present a subject of interest to them through a CV-style re-frame, while putting into practice their new public speaking skills. 

As well as presenting their prepared talks, some CVs were ‘put on the spot’ at the beginning of each evening session, with a fun, short ‘table topics’ task such as appearing in court on a criminal charge. 

Despite the intense schedule of presentations and talks both to and from the trainees, each session included time for socialising over food, and a reflective ‘God-slot’ input from Br Andrew Brookes OP.

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