CCA Previews ’20: Gavel Club

By Sia Xinyu (20A13A), Chairperson, Brendan Mark (20S03C), Vice-Chairperson, Mohamed Ishal Zikang (20S06U), Operations Head, and Travis Tan (20S06Q), Internal Events Head

Bang. The sound of the gavel against wood ricochets around the room.

Order in the… wait a second, we’re not a law club!

Welcome to Gavel, the place in RI where anyone can find their voice. Here in our club, we aim to nurture the spirit of public speaking in each of our members—kindling the sparks of eloquence in beginner speakers, or keeping the flame of fluency alight in those more experienced. We believe that public speaking can be a skill firmly grasped by everyone. For many, the feat of public speaking seems like one’s worst nightmare, and the idea of becoming a great speaker seems like a dream almost unreachable. But here at Gavel, we work on making this dream come true.

But why should we care about public speaking, one might ask? When would I ever need to concern myself with speaking up before an audience?

Many have had similar queries, and it is with conviction that we affirm you that public speaking, a talent possessed by so few, is a coveted and crucial skill in your life as a young adult. Is speech not the very medium of communication, after all? What else are interviews, conversations and presentations made up of? It isn’t hard to see that should you want to become a more confident, outgoing and persuasive person, public speaking is essential. And likewise, it is with conviction that we pledge to you that in our club, we are dedicated to helping everyone become a better speaker.

You will find that our speeches span a broad spectrum of topics (literally anything under the sun)—from the nebulous concepts of existentialism and mortality to the dubious quality of toilet paper in our school. Yet, with every speech comes a story, and with every story a message. In Gavel, we aspire to help you find that message within you, and to equip you with the skills to share it to the world. This is why we focus not just on nurturing the speaker, but also developing the person to become better versions of themselves.

A typical session in our club consists of a brief lesson on techniques of speaking, followed by speech games and impromptu speeches. We conclude our sessions with speech sharings from a few members on a topic of their choice, backed by encouraging feedback from the club members. Our club is modelled after the formal Toastmasters clubs, with a uniquely designed feedback role system to give practical, yet supportive suggestions for every speech. We aim for each session to be a safe space for members to share not only stories, but guidance and a mutual vision to become a more confident speaker.

A “sell-your-idea” presentation during Farewell ’19 (not your typical formal speech, but still extremely persuasive).

Outside of the medium of formal speeches, we are encouraged to explore different styles of vocal usage such as voice acting and emceeing. Some of the events we partake in outside of school include various oratorical competitions and learning journeys to external Toastmasters clubs in Singapore. More recently, we are proud to have hosted our very own Ad Libitum oratorical competition in late 2019.

So here’s the bit where we try to convince you to join our Gavel family. Our mantra is to work hard, but also play hard. Biweekly sessions may seem tiring for a clubs and societies CCA, but the company of our members always spice up these four hours every week. We are always there for each other throughout this two-year long speaking journey, always encouraging and pushing ourselves to step out of our comfort zones. Above all, we grow together as one CCA, and as one family.

The Gavel Family™ (2019).

Like the sound of sharing stories, inspiring others and bringing your public speaking skills to the next level? Do come down for our trials next year! We look out for potential Gaveliers not based on ability, but on willingness to learn, receptiveness to criticism and if you’re always up for a challenge. If this sounds like you, we are very much looking forward to meeting you and welcoming you into our family soon!

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