Club hosts annual evaluation contest for speakers

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Another busy evening at the Strathmore Speakers’ Club last week included two prepared speeches, the annual evaluation contest, and a lively topics session.

The speech and contest chairman was David Affleck of Kirriemuir, and Helen Fleming of Forfar was timekeeper for the evening.

First up was Pamela Howat of Coupar Angus with an ‘audience rapport’ speech about New Year resolutions. Based on the ancient customs of the Babylonians and Romans to appease their gods, resolutions are nowadays mostly based on self improvement of some sort – and only about eight per cent of them are kept for any length of time. Her evaluator, Graham Carr of Alyth, awarded a pass for a speech full of good things.

Second to speak was newest member Andrew Thomson of Forfar making his first speech in the club. He introduced himself to the members through a series of anecdotes which included his personal experiences in a bush camp in Australia and taking part in the Great North Run for charity.

In awarding a pass, his evaluator, Bill Walker of Blairgowrie, congratulated Andrew for an excellent first effort in which he unhesitatingly showed the ‘flip-side’ to each situation.

Alex Rae of Kirriemuir made the speech for the evaluation contest. This was his ‘life-changing experience’ as a young man training as a mental health nurse, where he soon discovered the difficulties and dangers involved in dealing with the patients. The six contestants were then taken to another room and given eight minutes to prepare their notes.

They were brought back one at a time to deliver their evaluation of Alex’s speech, and judges Jim Gibb and Bill Walker of Blairgowrie then retired to find a winner.

The topics chairman, David Binnie of Broughty Ferry, invited six members to speak for three minutes each at short notice on pictures of famous Scottish people and landmarks.

Muriel Smith engineered the Forth Bridge; Andrew Brewster speculated about Mary Queen of Scots; Graham Carr scaled the Wallace Monument; Iain Orr persisted with Bruce and the spider; Bob Stewart ran rings round the Spean Bridge Commando Memorial and Eric Summers lauded Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropy.

Chief judge Jim Gibb then gave a short appraisal of the contest evaluations and announced the winner as Iain Orr, with Jim Smith in second place. Iain will now go forward to represent the club at the North Tay Area heats of the contest at Arbroath in February.

General evaluator Helen Gordon-Wilson of Blairgowrie said it had been a highly successful evening, thoroughly well organised and conducted throughout.

Anyone who would like more information about learning to speak in public in the friendly atmosphere of a speakers’ club should contact Jim Smith on 01575 574435 or Jim Gibb on 01250 875262.