2016 meetings

2016 minutes of meetings


15th December 2016

Chris chaired the final meeting of the year, shepherding us through the evening in fine festive style.

The session started with three speeches, beginning with Ben who encouraged us all to take a trip along the South West coastal path followed by Prakash who gave us his insight into the intricacies of the mobile phone revolution. Carl then gave an enlightening account of the changes that have taken place since the introduction of the PACE Act. The speeches covered levels 3, 4 and 7 of the Speakers Guide and were all informative and well received.

Following the evaluations (given by JohnN & JohnM) Wendy took to the floor for the Christmas Presidents Revels session in which she chose the theme of BBC radio’s ‘Just a Minute’. The teams were split into Sheep & Penguins and involved a host of impromptu speaking against a backdrop of friendly heckles and barraging in a lively festive atmosphere. Wendy handed out Christmas sweets & chocolates at the end and received a well deserved round of applause for her energetic performance in keeping everyone under control.

Seasons greetings until we meet again in January 2017. [JMcG]

1st December 2016

Tonight’s meeting was chaired by JohnR and featured three Showpiece speeches.

JohnC started  by entertaining the audience with some  amusing observations about operas and the intricacies of the storylines.

He was evaluated by two guest evaluators who congratulated him on attaining the level of ‘Accomplished Speaker’ for which he will receive an ASC certificate. JohnM spoke about the comparisons between road journeys and journeys through life, quoting well-known people who had made this analogy then Wendy gave an absorbing insight into micro-biotics and how anti-bodies don’t actually kill bacteria. Her comparisons between stomach microbes and swarming humans seen from space was most intriguing.

Jin chaired the Topics session using a theme of time travel with Prakash speaking of his schooldays and orange candy, Allen reflecting on the pleasures of perfumes in ancient Egyptian and Dan stating that the best era in the football world is the present, with John Terry captaining Chelsea FC. SandraS mused how we could have managed without certain politicians then commented that in years to come we will probably want to go back to today. Myo closed the session with a talk about meditation.

The other evaluators for the evening were Chris, JohnN and JohnM and the meeting closed with the two guest evaluators being thanked for travelling to Swindon. Jin was awarded the Evaluator’s Cup for her efforts in preparing the Topics session. [JMcG]

18th November 2016

Tonight was the annual Club Speech Competition which was won by JohnC for a clever item questioning the ethics of stock exchange investors. It was a close finish in which we also heard Brian, Steph & Wendy speaking about caring for the body and mind with morning exercises and positive thinking plus an unusual anecdote about a Will and an exploding body when it all goes wrong.

Thanks to the judges – Dorothy, JohnR and Ben.

Jin then gave her A3 level assignment speech. She spoke about how talking to strangers can be enriching and illustrated this by sharing some personal experiences.

Wendy chaired the Topics session with a ‘club’ theme which involved drunken bell-ringing, bridge played with matchsticks, golf clubs with a surprise twist, a choir for non-singers and wine-tasting with straws while debating contentious subjects. We then heard about the hidden attractions of train-spotting and a preference for weeds over autumn leaves after which is was suggested that history lessons could be made more lively if they involved your own history. We were also told about the delights of ‘yogic flying’ to the accompaniment of Beatles songs and were given an insight into the addictive world of chess clubs.

Thanks to all the participants for making it another entertaining evening. [JMcG]

3rd November 2016

Tonight’s meeting was chaired by Carl and started with a speech by JohnR who challenged everyone’s taste-buds by explaining how cakes can be made from spit-bread and that this has been used in training courses to illustrate trust. Brian then spoke on the subject of interactive voice recognition systems (IVR) used by call centres. He explained that the use of IVRs with multiple language options during elections in Afghanistan had significantly reduced the amount of killings and maiming that had occurred in earlier elections.

Tony ran the Topics session using a story-relay theme with each participant continuing from where the previous speaker had left off. The contributions began with some interesting introductions then developed into a story about Wyatt Earp the cowboy chasing people out of a non-alcoholic bar and embarking on a range of adventures involving a caravan and a young man whom the next speaker wanted to adopt to protect him from some rampaging women. The story continued with the adopted man giving up his smartphone to become a footballer who was signed up by Chelsea before turning into superhero Volcanoeman and evacuating the town. Everyone returned 50 years later to build a pub and become farmers whereupon the hero awoke hallucinating after taking his wife’s HRT tablets and discovering that Wyatt Earp was really a film producer. The story ended when television detective Columbo arrived and didn’t understand the plot…. he was not the only one!

It was an imaginative and jovial Topics session which tested everyone’s impromptu speaking skills to the full. The evaluators were JohnM and JohnR who awarded Buki the Evaluator’s Cup for her entertaining contributions. [JMcG]

20th October 2016

Tonight’s meeting was chaired by Brian and included the annual ‘Topics’ competition where nine contestants competed for the Club Trophy and a place in the Area/District competitions. The contest was chaired by JohnC and required participants to talk about what they would like to change given the opportunity and prompted entertaining ideas ranging from baldness, deafness, the weather and the NHS to aspirations of changing gender or becoming a supreme ruler. The contest was a close run with Brian emerging as the winner.

We then heard 3 speeches starting with Ben who spoke about Swindon’s inroads into the electrification of the railway, a timely subject following Swindon station’s royal visit earlier today. Tony followed this with an intricate explanation of how gliders are launched and how thermal winds are an integral part of the process. The final speaker was William who gave an absorbing insight into the difficulties encountered by those who stammer and how they overcome it in everyday situations.

During the evaluation preps a bonus mini-topics session was held which produced some enlightening and entertaining discourse on fish & chips, black history and Halloween. The judges and evaluators were JohnC, Dorothy and JohnM and the Evaluators Cup was won jointly by Ade and her guests for their lively and enthusiastic contribution to an enjoyable evening. [JMcG]

6th October 2016

This evening concentrated on ‘Topics’ (impromptu speaking) and was chaired by JohnN during which he shared a selection of funny and unusual ‘clerihew’ rhymes involving Christopher Wren, Obama, George III and others.

Tonight’s opening speaker was JohnR who gave a very visual and intriguing speech about the intricacies of evacuating aircraft in emergency situations. As this was delivered from an airline pilot’s perspective we will no doubt remember it during any future flights and will relax in the knowledge of the safety measures that go on behind the scenes.

There followed a Topics Workshop presented by JohnM which was recorded and can be viewed on our videos page, who demonstrated how the practical skills learned during our Topics sessions can be useful in a range of everyday situations both socially and at work. This was followed by a summary on the importance of Chairing the Topics sessions and advice on the Topics Competition which takes place later this month.

Carl then chaired an amusing Topics session on the theme of garden sheds with innuendos of ‘Fifty Shades/Sheds of Grey’. Participants were asked to talk about various items found in their garden sheds and we were entertained with stories of dirty lawnmowers, bicycles clogging up the wrong shed and the discovery of a secret rack of wine bottles. Other items included a barbeque and box of nuts and bolts – abandoned in favour of calling in the builders – plus more worrying aspects involving an infestation of ants in the form of an ‘ant farm’ and how the discovery of a badminton set led to broken limbs following a fall from a tree. All great imaginative stories well appreciated by the audience and linked together with some comical quotes from Carl’s garden shed book.

The evaluators for the evening were Chris, Wendy and JohnC who presented JohnR with the evaluator’s cup. [JMcG]

15th September 2016

President Wendy opened the meeting with a flourish, sharing some amusing observations before welcoming our new VP Carl and appointing our new Club Secretary Tony. Sue gave the first speech, enlightening us all on the concept of ‘Death Cafes’ which are opening up around the country. Carl followed this with an amusing discourse about a preserving a crime scene which turned out to be a set-up involving preserves and a jammy detective. Brian then gave an absorbing talk about how a boy who grew up in a war torn African country has managed to overcome the traumas and rebuild his life.

After the break we had a light-hearted Topics session chaired by JohnM which required participants to describe what it must be like to spend a day as someone or something else. We shared the thoughts of a tree standing there in all weathers and some imaginative accounts of how cats, dogs, fishes and birds spend their days. There was an insight into the life of a fashion supermodel and the concerns of a singer who couldn’t sing plus a comical depiction of an elephant with weaving trunk which we will never forget.

The evaluators for the evening were Wendy, JohnC, Dorothy and JohnN who presented Sue with the evaluator’s cup. [JMcG]

1st September 2016

The first meeting of the season opened with JohnC updating us with club business before handing over to the chair. The first speaker was JohnR who gave us an insider’s perspective of the hectic activities that take place inside the cockpit of an aeroplane during take-off. This was followed by Livia giving a presentation on Life Coaching and how it includes skills relating to public speaking. Brian then gave a revealing account of the dangers of kapton cables which has caused fires when used in airlines.

JohnN chaired the Topics session using a storytelling theme which prompted some unusual stories of book-burning, dancing around bonfires and rain falling down like cats, frogs and raptors. There followed a tale about a camel in the desert and an amusing muse about the author Jane Austen’s view that a wealthy man must be in need of a wife.

Our new Vice President Carl gave the closing address in Wendy’s absence. [JMcG]