News from the District Meeting in Newport

Eight club members travelled to Wales on Sunday morning for the ASC South West District Meeting held at Newport’s Coldra Court Hotel. newport-group-photo-copy

Photo: Swindon members with Sheila (Melksham) and Laura (Somerset)

It was a pleasant opportunity to meet up with members from the Welsh clubs and other clubs in the South West area. District President Phil McCaffrey chaired the meeting which began with the business section in which Stephen Dance (Newport) delivered the Southern Wales Area Report and JohnM (Swindon SC) delivered the Cotswold & Wessex Area Report.

There followed the annual Topics Competition with some lively contributions from Swindon members WendyW and JohnR followed by a delicious lunch in the restaurant.  The afternoon commenced with an evaluation workshop chaired by Past President Lindsay Dutch with a target speech given by Rosalie Harrop from York SC. The Novel Competition was then held which included two riveting stories from  Steph (Swindon SC) and Tony (Swindon SC). This was followed by the raffle which was admirably run by Dorothy (Swindon SC).

Thanks to Ben (Swindon SC) for taking on the job of Competition Usher and to the District Secretary JohnC (Swindon SC) for handling the mounds of administrative tasks involved in making the event run smoothly.

Winner of 2016 Club Speech Competition

The winner of this year’s Club Speech Competition was JohnC who will go forward to the Area/District competitions next March. Well done also to Brian, Wendy and Steph for their excellent contributions in a close-run contest.


Photo: Club President Wendy presenting JohnC with the award.

Winner of 2016 Club Topics Competition

The winner of this year’s Club Topics Competition was Brian who will go forward to the Area/District competitions next month. Wendy was a close second with Sue as runner up in a contest of nine participants, all extremely well presented. topicscomp-winner-2016

Photo: Club President Wendy presenting Brian with the award.

Cut those quirks with a video shoot

Been asked to give a speech at an important occasion? If so, there’s a good chance that it will be recorded for posterity and your unwanted mannerisms will be lurking there ready to embarrass you whenever someone digs out the video.

So, why not rehearse it on video first, or join a speakers club where you’ll also receive constructive feedback and useful advice on how to improve your speaking skills. When a speech is recorded you can watch it from an audience’s perspective and maybe spot some quirks which the audience may not consider worth mentioning but which you would like to try to avoid.


So, if you’re happy to wave your arms about, to stare wide-eyed at the audience, sway from side-to-side or scratch your nose incessantly – that’s fine. But these things can be avoided by practicing in front of a small audience or a video camera and speakers clubs can be the ideal place to do that.

Then when the day dawns for you to stand up and demonstrate your speaking prowess at your important event you’ll be confident in the knowledge that you’re making your best effort and any resulting rapturous applause will be well earned. Raise your glass!



Citations on “The camera cannot lie”:

The earliest citation of the precise ‘camera cannot lie’ phrase is from The Evening News, Lincoln, Nebraska, November 1895, complete with an intimation of the early doubts about the literal truth of the phrase: “Photographers, especially amateur photographers, will tell you that the camera cannot lie. This only proves that photographers, especially amateur photographers, can, for the dry plate can fib as badly as the canvas on occasion.”

In his book In the South Seas, published in 1896, Robert Louis Stevenson wrote: “I doubt if these islanders are acquainted with any other mode of representation but photography; so that the picture of an event (on the old melodrama principle that ‘the camera cannot lie, Joseph,’) would appear strong proof of its occurrence.”


Less sugary

Topics training workshop

‘Topics’ sessions provide an opportunity to practice impromptu speaking.
They help develop and improve the ability to stand up and speak spontaneously in public without any previous preparation and to build one’s confidence when facing an audience or group of people.
These impromptu speaking skills can be learned and practiced during our meetings in a friendly, supportive environment.

Less sugary
  1. a matter dealt with in a text, discourse, or conversation; a subject.
    “her favourite topic of conversation is her partner”
    synonyms: subject, subject matter, theme, issue, matter, point, talking point, question, concern,argument, discussion, thesis, text, concept, field, area, keynote, leitmotif

    “he brought the conversation round to the topic of food and drink”
      that part of a sentence about which something is said, typically the first major constituent.

Our next meeting (Oct 6th) includes a ‘Topics’ training workshop followed by an opportunity for members of the (small) audience to stand up and try it if they wish to do so. Or to watch and encourage whilst others have a go in a cheerful, light-hearted atmosphere.