The first half of the meeting on Thursday 8th January was devoted to debate, a vital aspect of speaking in public, the art to which the Club, by virtue of it s affiliation to the Association of Speakers Clubs is devoted.
The Cogers Debate established in 1755, was widely enjoyed in more modern times in the coffee houses of the city of London: tracing its history back to the famous dictum of the French philosopher Descartes-Cogito Ergo Sum, that good speaking is inspired by good thinking.
To speak with a sense of purpose is an assignment immediately following the new member’s initial maiden introductory speech; it was most gratifying for the Club to hear our most recently enlisted member, having established his membership that very evening, joining established club members in earnest debate.
The choice of subject matter from which to choose, as established in the long history of the “Cogers”, was offered by the “Opener “, from notes taken from recent articles in the national press: this vital role was expertly undertaken by Trevor Kenning, the Club President and Education Director. In a most entertaining speech, he drew attention to subject matter for debate ranging from terrorism to brown sauce, and from Manston to the eccentricities of our language.
Evaluation of the event was assigned to Ron Sheldrake, who adjudged that the finest contribution to the spirit of earnest dispute had been given by Deborah Percy and in keeping with a tradition dating back to Greek mythology, she was presented with the “Apple of Discord”.
Club Vice President, Garry Costain, then Chaired the regular Impromptu Speaking session, with a series of “topics’, which reflected the thought and preparation to his assignment, inviting responses from the assembled members, they having had no preparation of the subject matter, making for both an entertaining and challenging session.
The Club Topics Trophy, was awarded by popular vote to the most deserving impromptu speech. Trevor Kenning had given an ingenious interpretation of “miracles”, in a touching, tender story of a grandchild.
Evaluation, an appraisal of the role of the chairman, followed by individual performances, was given by Deborah Percy-her first time in this assignment-who in turn received complimentary opinion from Ben Harris in his overall comment on the meeting. Overall, this was a successful meeting in keeping with the standard which is a constant aim of the Club.