Ron Sheldrake chaired the meeting on March 22nd, at which the first half was devoted to a “workshop” illustrating aspects of public speaking deemed vital . With no professional instruction, club members of experience and long standing offered their advice on humour and rapport respectively.
Doug Weale, with examples of how the introduction of humour into a speech can be used as a persuasive factor, as well as being entertaining: among his samples, he cited the law courts, in which, having made the jury laugh, at the expense of an unsure witness, a Counsel had used humour as a vital factor in the acquittal of a client- and in a cause celebre-ensured a conviction. Trevor Kenning, a speaker of immense experience, brought home to the audience the value of establishing rapport, in speaking to an audience: an abstract, but essential quality. Audience participation produced the one word which seemed to define rapport- engagement. It was recalled that a former club member, of distinction, had famously said of rapport; “I am unable to define it but I recognise it when I see it”. Frances Pointer, Director of Education, a student of psychology, then gave a lecture on the subject of addiction-to sugar: which proved to be profound and absorbing, illustrating the wide variety of subject matter which arises in a club meeting.
Margaret Jones then took the Chair for the customary impromptu speaking session: famous quotations were offered to the audience for their comment , prompting a diversity of responses. In the true style of “Topics”, John Poole being awarded the Trophy for best response. Having been absent on a course in furtherance of his career, Andrew Thomson made a welcome return, in the assignment of general evaluator,with favourable comment on the value of the meeting, both as entertainment,and educational: sharing the opinion of all present.