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Past President Interview: Mike Silverman (1992-93) on how to lead with success

November 22, 2012

Mike Silverman winning the 2010 International Speech Contest at London Corinthians

Q: During your time as President did anything memorable take place during meetings or otherwise?

A: I served one and half terms as President because Graham Barber was posted to the Middle East half way through his term. We were still located at the London Corinthian Sailing Club (hence our name) during my term. One evening the venue had double booked our usual room and, at the last moment we were asked to use an adjoining room about half the size. As luck would have it and for no particular reason – it wasn’t a contest night – 3 times the normal number of people attended. There we were crammed into a tiny room and it was just the night I had decided we would have an ‘impromptu backwards meeting’. That means people picked roles out of a hat as they entered the room – we started with the general evaluation, then the evaluations of the speeches, then the speeches, then after the break, the topics evaluation, then the topics – you can guess the rest. Total and complete chaos and one of the best nights we ever had.

Q: Will you describe the best speech you heard during your Presidency? What made it so good?

A:I’d say it had to be Phillip Khan Panni’s District International Speech Contest winning speech given at the District Conference in Dublin in November 1992. Phillip was not a Corinthian but 12 Corinthians had come with me to Ireland for the Conference weekend. This was more English than had had ever been to a District Conference in Ireland from all of England. His speech was called “Bloodied but Unbowed” and it took him to the World Championships. His delivery was perfect, his message inspirational and we felt like he was our man

Q: What made you decide to become President? How did it come about?

A:I had met Graham Barber in New Zealand (where I joined TM) in 1989 and when I arrived back in the UK in August 1990, I looked him up and joined Corinthians immediately becoming a Charter Member. I was ‘involved’ from the outset and think I was the first VP Marketing. The following year I became VPE and then, as I said earlier, found myself as President when Graham went overseas – so, it was an accident!

Q: What have you taken away with you from your time as President? Did you achieve your goals?

A:That it’s wonderful to have the chance to lead a club that, even then, was full of high achievers, great personalities, superb speakers and with such a fun-loving yet professional culture. In my ’full’ year, we were Top Club in the District. There was a points system at the time, much as there still is for Districts now. That system was later dropped but I still feel proud of what we achieved for a Club that was under 3 years old. I went on from President to be Area Governor (Area Governor of the Year); Division Governor (Division Governor of the Year and the District Governor’s Citation); was voted onto the District Executive serving for 3 years before becoming the District 71 Governor in 1997, when I led the District to Number 7 in the world – still the highest ranking achieved by an ‘English’ District Governor. At the end of my term I also received a Citation from the International President of TI. I like to think all of this resulted from what I learned as President of London Corinthians, still the best Club I have ever belonged to (I have been a member of 6 TM clubs).

Q: Is there any advice you would give to future Presidents with the benefit of hindsight?

A:Do not feel you need to be ‘qualified’ to be the President of the Club – as with all things in TM, treat it as a learning experience and you will gain some hugely valuable life lessons that will stay with you always.


Working or living in the LondonVictoria area? Want to know more about becoming a better public speaker? Visit London Corinthians on the 2nd, 4th and 5th Thursdays @ 7.30pm.Find out more about us on our website: . Like us on Facebook:  Follow us on Twitter:

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